Ten aspects of national pride | Inquirer Opinion
Social Climate

Ten aspects of national pride

A people’s sense of national pride is measurable in general, as well as specific, aspects.  In the Philippines, the most general survey question used by Social Weather Stations is “Gaano ninyo ipinagmamalaki ang pagiging Pilipino—talagang ipinagmamalaki, medyo ipinagmamalaki, medyo hindi ipinagmamalaki, o talagang hindi ipinagmamalaki?” (How proud are you to be a Filipino—very proud, somewhat proud, somewhat not proud, or not at all proud?)  It has a symmetric four-point scale, with the upper two points for the proud, and the lower two points for the not-proud.

There is a great deal of general national pride.  The latest SWS survey of adults on national pride was in December 2013.  It found 84 percent very proud, versus 12 percent somewhat proud, 2 percent somewhat not proud, and 2 percent not at all proud, to be Filipinos.  Thus 84 + 12 = 96 percent are generally proud to be Filipinos.  In April 1993, when SWS first ran this item, only a bare majority of 53 percent felt very proud; adding 36 percent somewhat proud, a total 89 percent were generally proud.


The next time around, in April 1996, the very proud were 76 percent, and the total generally proud were 95 percent.  In 28 more surveys from 2000 to 2013, the very proud percentage ranged between 68 (November 2001 and March 2002) and 87 (July 2001, June 2010, and December 2011), and the total generally proud percentage ranged between 87 and 97.

The numbers on specific aspects of national pride are healthy.  Last week, I reported 46 percent of Filipinos as very proud, and 39 percent as somewhat proud, or total 85 percent proud, of our history in particular.  These numbers are from the SWS survey for the 2003 round of the International Social Survey Program (www.issp.org).  They may be compared to the average of 36 percent very proud and 44 percent somewhat proud, or total 80 percent proud, of their history among the ISSP peoples.


History is one of 10 aspects of national pride included in the ISSP module on national identity.  (The list is not meant to be comprehensive; for instance, it excludes pride in spirituality and in family love.  It was drafted by a committee that included the Philippines, and approved by the ISSP plenary vote.)  The table below shows that, among the 10 aspects, our history and our achievements in sports have consistently been the top two sources of Filipino national pride, based on SWS surveys of 1995, 2003 and 2014.

Aspects of National Pride        1995 2003          2014

Percent Very + Somewhat Proud

Achievements in sports      81   85 (81) 87

History        84   85 (80)  86

Achievements in arts

and literature    75   80 (79)  85


Scientific and technological achievements   60   67 (77)  74

Economic achievements      53   48 (53)  71

The armed forces       55   58 (56)  69

The way democracy works     53   55 (54)  65

Fair and equal treatment

of all groups    52   53 (46)  65

The social security system     54   46 (46)  61

Political influence in the world      40   37 (47)  52

Note: in parentheses are the 2003 averages for ISSP countries as a whole.

The table lists the aspects in order of national pride, according to the newest SWS survey, done in February 2014 (it is actually the “2013” module of ISSP, but a slight delay in fielding is acceptable).  The ranks of the first four aspects have been steady.   Pride in Philippine achievements in arts and literature and in our scientific and technological achievements has grown, but these are still in third and fourth places.

The first change in rank is that pride in our economic achievements is now in fifth place, ahead of pride in our armed forces. Our pride in the fair and equal treatment of all groups now matches our pride in the way democracy works.  As before, the trailers in rank are our pride in the social security system, and our political influence in the world.

Absolute national pride clearly progressed during 1995-2014.  For me, the most remarkable finding of the surveys is that, for every single one of the 10 aspects, the proportion of Filipinos feeling proud of it is greater now, in 2014, than it was in both 2003 and 1995.

There were three aspects on which Filipino pride fell during 1995-2003, but they all recovered during 2003-2014.  Pride in our economic achievements fell by 5 points in the first interval, but it rose by 23 points in the second interval.  Pride in our social security fell by 8 at first, but then rose by 15.  Pride in our political influence in the world fell by 3 at first, but then rose by 15, to reach a majority for the first time.

Has Filipino pride also risen in relative terms? For seven of the ten aspects, the table shows that the percentage of proud Filipinos in 2003 equaled or exceeded the ISSP average as a whole (found in parentheses) in that year.  The three exceptions were its science and technology, economy and political influence in the world.

With respect to the economy and political influence, the 2014 levels of Filipino pride already exceed the 2003 ISSP averages.  Unless there has also been broad progress in national pride in other countries, it may be that, when the 2013/2014 ISSP data become available, science and technology will be the remaining aspect for which Filipinos will not be as proud as other nationalities.

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