Federation of World Peace and Love

Little Big Respect

Frenelie Ann L. Ong

Philippine Social Security System, Manila Economic and Cultural Office




Probably when you hear or see the word “Respect” you’ll think and ask “What is respect? What is the significance of this word to my life and to the world?”

As this word defines, it pertains to courteous expression of esteem or being regarded with honor; an attitude or behavior towards deference/admiration; willingness to show consideration and appreciation; 

It is simple yet a very important word that we must inculcate in our lives.  The responsibility underlying to this word is immense. It is one of the fundamental keys that we must give importance in order to make our lives meaningful.

We must not take this for granted. In a religious point of view, for Christians specifically, like some of us, we consider this as one of the important teachings of the Lord especially to us the youth. In such case as we the children must respect and honor our parents for this is the first commandment to us with a promise of having a successful and blessed life. They are the reason why we are here in this world.  For without them we don’t exist. We should respect our mother for she is the light of the family. And give respect to our father and follow his advice. No parents would let their children be harmed.

Considering other people’s feeling is one way of showing respect. Like in an instance, telling your point of view to a certain situation in a diplomatic and polite manner allowing for mutual respect to take in.

The Philippines, being a dominantly Catholic country, there are traditions that had been adopted by the Filipinos. A distinct tradition in every Filipino family is to give respect to the elders. “Pagmamano” is a Filipino gesture often done by young people to the elders as a sign of respect. This is done by gently striking the elder’s right hand to the young’s forehead. Usually, especially in the provinces, the elder will say “Kaawaan ka ng Diyos(May God have mercy on you). In highly urbanized areas like in Manila, elders usually say “Bless you” or “God Bless You.”

Aside from this, you can hear in the Philippines saying “po” and “opo.” These are the words that Filipinos are using to show their respect when talking to elders and/or to someone that they respect. They usually punctuate or end a usual sentence in a conversation. Sometimes, “opo” is equivalent to “yes” when answering questions from an elder or a respected person. Although in some provinces particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao regions, this tradition is rarely been using. This is due to a bit of difference in customs and traditions caused by the geographical condition of the Philippines.

Respect is something that is given to a person who is due for and it is not in a manner of asking for it. If you want to be respected by others you must respect yourself first. For how can you respect other people if you don’t know how to value, dignify and give respect to your ownself? Respect is not asked for, it is something earned through good deeds towards others.

Like a man who knows how to say “sorry” and accept his “mistakes” earn respect for he knows how to be humble. For he has the courage to reflect and value himself. What a person sees in himself is what other people see in him.

I remember a story about a father (named Kiko) and a son (named Danny). They were in a buy and sell business. One Monday morning, a man came in their store looking for a water aluminum container that he needed. He then saw it and asked Kiko how much it was. Then Kiko said “1,000 pesos for this container.” The man really liked it and told Kiko that he would get it the day after tomorrow for he didn’t have enough money with him. Kiko agreed and they had a mutual agreement. Kiko didn’t take any deposit or anything just to be sure the man would return and really get it.

On the next day, another man came in their store looking for the same thing. He then saw in one corner the container that the 1st man requested to reserve it for him yesterday and instantly liked it too. He then asked Kiko “How much is it?” Kiko replied “1000 pesos for this container. But this had already been reserved and would be picked up tomorrow.” The second man offered him 3 times bigger than the usual price. Kiko then said to him “Sorry, I can’t accept it.” Danny, the son, asked his father why he didn’t want to accept the offer, which in fact was triply higher than the amount the first man would pay. His father answered him “Son, I already gave my word to the man who came yesterday. A word of honor is very important that a person must take care of. A person who doesn’t value it is not respecting and valuing his own self. It is your face value and saving grace.”

The second man understood the reason of Kiko and didn’t insist on buying it anymore. Danny, the son then learned that money can’t buy respect. Just to let you know, the father in the story happened to be my grandfather and the son happened to be my father.

As my final word, I would like to appeal to everyone. Let respect begin from us and allow ourselves to influence every human being to change to be a better person, and our environment, to be a better world.

May the wisdom you’ve heard/read will set in your heart.