Title: Life with Ease (Nakakaluwag): A Hermeneutic-Phenomenological Study Towards A Pedagogy for Sustainable Living
No. of Pages: 344
Researcher: Antonio Levy S. Ingles, Jr.
Adviser: Dr. Erlinda Natulla
School: Asian Social Institute
Subject Area: Applied Cosmic Anthropology
Degree Conferred: Doctor of Philosophy
This study aims, first, to investigate through hermeneutic phenomenological inquiry on how Filipino value nakakaluwag: (a) provides conditions conducive to live sustainably in view of holistic relationality and (b) furnishes common pedagogical ground where top-down and bottom-up approaches to sustainable living reach synthesis; second, to introduce the Filipino value nakakaluwag in view of holistic relationality as a pedagogically-oriented frame for a sustainable living; and, third, propose sustainability initiatives towards justice, peace and integrity of creation in view of the above frame.
This study involves fourteen (14) Co-Researchers (Co-Rs) who were purposely selected with the intention to uncover the nakakaluwag lived-experience that are embedded in their shared-beliefs, and embodied in their shared-practices. They are the multi-sectoral representatives of the tertiary educational community of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) who comprised of the following: two (2) school administrators, two (2) teachers, two (2) regular staff, two (2) tuition-paying students, two (2) non-paying students, four (4) agency/concessionaire hired employees. The methods of data collection used for this study were the following: (1) Reflective Journal Entries (RJE), (2) Narrative Experience Accounts (NEA) and (3) Face-to-face Interview Exchanges (FIE). These methods were chosen because the writer found them as appropriate with the thematic analysis processes which entailed co-construction of the data with the Co-Rs engaging in a hermeneutic circle of understanding. The Co-Rs went through three (3) different stages, namely, (1) First Interpretive-Descriptive Phase: Reflective Journal Entries (1st IDP: RJE), (2) Second Interpretive-Descriptive Phase: Narrative Experience Accounts (2nd IDP: NEA) and (3) Third Interpretive-Descriptive Phase: Face-to-Face Interview Exchanges (3rd IDP: FIE).
The writer preferred a hermeneutic phenomenological approach as a suitable research methodology for this qualitative study that sought to understand the Filipino value nakakaluwag that are embedded in the shared-beliefs and embodied in the shared-practices of the fourteen (14) purposely selected Co-Rs. Laverty (2003) distinguishes the difference of phenomenological from hermeneutic phenomenological approach with the following words:
a hermeneutical approach asks the researcher to engage in a process of self-reflection to quite a different end than that of phenomenology. Specifically, the biases and assumptions of the researcher are not bracketed or set aside, but rather are embedded and essential to interpretive process. The researcher is called, on an ongoing basis, to give considerable thought to their own experience and to explicitly claim the ways in which their position or experience relates to the issues being researched. The final document may include the personal assumptions of the researcher and the philosophical bases from which interpretation has occurred (Allen; Cotterill & Letherby as cited in Laverty, 2003, p. 17).
Holistic Relationality is the broad Interpretive-Descriptive framework that had taken a second look at the Filipino value nakakaluwag at its locus and context (horizonal). This is a framework which comprised the conceptual rationale and basis of this study to integrate the varied and related perspectives into a cohesive approach. The Holistic Relationality’s perspective or the principles of the fourfold essential relations: God, oneself, fellow-human beings and creation had evolved and fused into a framework that interpreted-described the phenomenon of the lived-experience of nakakaluwag by combining and applying the modified version of Aronson’s (1994) five (5) steps of thematic analysis: Step 1 Collecting all the data, Step 2 Identifying patterns of experiences, Step 3 Cataloguing related patterns into sub-themes and themes, Step 4 Obtaining feedback from the informants and Step 5 Telling the whole story. These five (5) steps were applied into the phenomenon of the lived-experience of nakakaluwag through the written reflections (RJE), transcribed narrations (NEA) and transcribed conversations (FIE) of the fourteen (14) Co-Rs.
By thematically reflecting upon these, seven (7) proverbial themes arose that eventually addressed and answered the research questions of this study on the (1) significance of nakakaluwag lived-experiences with (1.1) God, (1.2) self, (1.3) fellow-human being, and (1.4) creation; (2) the pedagogical implications for sustainable living and (3) the ethical-pedagogical common ground or middle-in approach.
The writer’s hermeneutical insight is guided by Gadamer’s notion on the relationality character of the text as (1) belonging to a tradition, (2) having meaning in itself, (3) having an author, (4) having an original audience, (5) having an interpreter, (6) its interpreter having a historical situation, (7) and having the total historical situation that encloses all.
Taylor & Bogdan (as cited in Aronson, 1994) clearly defined these themes as units derived from patterns such as conversation topics, vocabulary, recurring activities, meanings, feelings, or folk sayings and proverbs (par. 7). Notwithstanding the fact that, on the one hand, Reyes (2002) says that Filipino Proverbs or [Ang mga]“Salawikain are sayings that are steeped in traditional Filipino culture and wisdom, [and] are forceful expressions cloaked in poetry which can be used to emphasize a point. On the other hand, del Rosario (2007) claims that like most proverbs around the world, [Ang mga]“Salawikain” impart a lesson which express a general attitude towards life and the laws that govern life and also express general truths and observations about life and human nature” (par. 1). He even enumerated what [Ang mga]“Salawikain are, namely: (1) part of one’s cultural heritage which should not be forgotten; (2) they are good sources of information about traditions, beliefs, and customs; (3) they serve as guide to living, advice on social relations and encouragement in facing life’s trials and realities; and finally (4) the main purpose of proverbs is to teach a lesson in life (del Rosario, 2007, par. 2). Both Reyes (2002) and del Rosario (2007) agreed that [Ang mga] “Salawikain [are] our Filipino cultural heritage giving us a glimpse of Filipino traditions, beliefs, and customs, which until today provide us guides in living and in facing life’s challenges (de Leon, 2007).
Among these patterns that conspicuously emerge, the writer has unintentionally identified Salawikain as the appropriate meaningful pattern that pieced together the forty four (44) sub-themes that arose among fourteen (14) Co-Rs, which are then enclosed by the seven (7) proverbial themes: Theme 1 “Ang buhay ay parang gulong, minsang nasa ibabaw, minsang nasa ilalim addressed the (1.2) self;“Theme 2 “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa addressed (1.1) God;” Theme 3 “Kung gusto may paraan, kung ayaw may dahlia” and Theme 4 “Kung may isinuksok, may madudukot” addressed the (3) the middle-in approach; Theme 5 “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay di makakarating sa paroroonan” addressed the (1.3) fellow-human being; Theme 6 “Kung walang tiyaga, walang nilaga” addressed the (1.4) creation; and lastly, Theme 7 “Hanggang maiksi ang kumot, matutong mamaluktot” addressed the (2) the pedagogy for sustainable living.
There is a demand upon us to be a person of God, for others and for creation and there is a call to sacrifice on their behalf, to put aside selfishness and be committed for the cause of what will truly bring more ease in their lives (nakakaluwag) because in the final analysis and reflection: “anumang nakapag-uugnay sa Diyos, sa kapwa, sa sarili at sa kalikasan ay nakakapagpaluwag” (relationships with God, others, oneself and nature make for a life of ease.) In other words, “anumang nakapag-uugnay ay nakakapagpaluwag” (relationships make for a life of ease).
This study does not claim it has covered everything nor exhausts all the facets with respect to the topic under consideration. The writer sees it fit to posit recommendations in general:
1. For future and further study: The writer recommends to read the text on nakakaluwag phenomenon again and again now that we are back at the dawn of renewal so that we will see that phenomenon of nakakaluwag in many ways as a child sees it, then our understanding will be enriched, and we will discover new aspects of the text that we never saw nor thought of before. While everything is making sense and the interpretation-description has stopped from what we have previously seen so far, this whole undertaking has provided the initial glimpse of a clearer image and a better picture of the phenomenon of nakakaluwag, where in the first place, we really do not have to seek too far as we will find them just right here.
2. For the conduct of gathering data: The writer recommends to give leeway in the conduct of entering into the Co-Rs’ lived experiences and to be flexible with due consideration as to when will they make themselves available because their schedule varies due to the nature of their activities (e.g., their work or studies). While it is highly recommended not to rush things, it is still best to have a set deadline in mind within manageable goals, so that the writer makes sure that the required data are all collected and nothing or less would be missed or lost. In this case, the 1st set of data was collected for a two month period from July 28 to September 28, 2010. The 2nd set was collected from the last week of July, 2010 until the last week of September, 2010. The 3rd set was collected between the 2nd week of August, 2010 until the 1st week of October, 2010. Transcribing and translating all the audio-recorded data which were done for a two month period from August, 2010 until October 2010. All the data were collected, transcribed and translated for a three month period.
3. For future and further exploration of Filipino Proverbs (Mga Salawikain): The writer recommends for this recent undertaking on the phenomenon of nakakaluwag, to appreciate Filipino Proverbs (Mga Salawikain and be grateful for their natural key articulation or re-articulation of any given lived experiences. The writer also recommends to replicate their usage by interpreting-describing another set of lived experiences through other Filipino Proverbs because these sayings are steeped in our traditional Filipino culture and wisdom (Reyes, 2002) and they impart life’s lessons which express a general attitude towards and truths about our life itself (del Rosario, 2007).
4. For the application of the Filipino ethical-pedagogy principle: The writer recommends to introduce “Anumang nakapag-uugnay ay nakakapagpaluwag” as a new proverb born out of the Seven (7) Proverbial Themes (Filipino Proverbs or Mga Salawikain) neither as a replacement of the proverbs previously mentioned nor a substitute for other Filipino proverbs, but as a precursor of a truly Filipino applied ethical-pedagogy in view of Holistic Relationality and at the same time as an integration principle that serves as a common ground for sustainable living. This study does not propose a system or a program for sustainable living, but it proposes itself as an ethical-pedagogy principle that any system or any program be it on sustainable development, ecology, economics, politics and sociology, ought to be rooted.
5. For the legal justification of the Filipino ethical-pedagogy principle: The writer recommends to recognize and acknowledge that the Holistic Relationality or the fourfold relationships as embraced and practiced by the following independent authors who are coming from very different backgrounds and orientations: Fuellenbach, 1998; Nagahama, 2006; Hornedo, 2009 & Ramirez, 2009, including the writer himself, Ingles, 2009 that all of them though working separately have one thing in common: they are united with one motto based on the Republic Act No. 8491, Sec. 25 (1998): “MAKA-DIYOS, MAKA-TAO, MAKAKALIKASAN AT MAKABANSA.”
6. For more Filipino ethical-pedagogy bridges: The writer recommends establishing or creating ethical-pedagogical bridges in concrete action or any similar to which, where they serve as venues for purposes of values re-orientation or formation program for sustainable living based on the principle of “Anumang nakapag-uugnay ay nakakapagpaluwag.” Responding to this call, the writer has initially established ARALPINOY.ORG INC. (August 11, 2010.), a non-stock, non-profit organization basically as a tangible and living proof of his sincere effort to make a reality this ethical-pedagogical bridge as a middle-in action.
7. For the more translations in local languages and international languages of Nakakaluwag (Life with ease): The writer recommends to speak more and to translate more in various local languages and even in different languages spoken in the world the concept Nakakaluwag (Life with ease). The writer has managed to translate the term Nakakaluwag from Tagalog to Cebuano, Ilocano/Ilokano, Hiligaynon/Ilonggo, Pampangan/Kapampangan, Northern Bicol, Pangasinan, Maguindanao, Tausug, Maranao, Kinaray-a and Southern Bicol. Translations were done, and all these were made possible through personal communications using Facebook, an online social networking site where people can exchange digital messages http://www.facebook.com/facebook. This time, the writer looks into the translation of Nakakaluwag in different languages spoken in the world.
 This statement borrowed its concept from: “Life creates conditions conducive to life,” the exact words of wisdom of Janine M. Benyus, a sustainability-minded innovator, Cofounder, Biomimicry Guild and Author, “Biomimicry, Innovation Inspired By Nature.” Source: http://michaelprager.com/node/504