Bernardo M. Villegas
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Tambuli Awards

           Secretary of Tourism Ramon Jimenez said it all. In his keynote address last June 14, 2012 at the Sixth Tambuli Awards at the University of Asia and the Pacific, he said that Filipino values, the very values that make us confident enough to announce to the rest of the world that "it is more fun in the Philippines," come from our religious faith and our faith in one another.  Through this double faith, we influence one another in a positive way.  Furthermore, our values come from our belonging to a family and our knowing what matters most in life.  He congratulated the organizers of the Tambuli Awards for Marketing Effectiveness for their efforts to preserve what is good in us, motivating us to strive to be even better.

          The leading marketing and advertising companies who attended the affair were all in agreement that marketing effectiveness or attaining higher sales volumes can always be compatible with promoting sound societal values such as good citizenship, concern for the underprivileged, the stability of marriage, the proper upbringing of children, hard work and perseverance.  For example, some of the winners of gold awards were Coca-Cola, Nestle, Monde Nissin, and Alaska Milk Corporation.  Coca-Cola focused on the happiness that OFWs derive from being part of a united family, despite their temporary absence when they are working abroad.  Nestle highlighted the importance of total and lasting commitment of spouses to one another and to their family.  Monde Nissin,  which manufactures and markets the famous Lucky Me noodles, fostered chastity before marriage,  the virtue captured by  the saying "True love waits."  Alaska Milk Corporation, whose Chief Marketing Officer (CM0), Belen Fernando, was awarded the CMO of the Year, centers its communication on celebrating the happy family.

          The entries to the Tambuli Awards are no longer limited to the Philippines.  There were other Asian countries represented in this yearly contest.  In fact, the highest award (the Platinum) went to a marketing campaign in India by Kraft Food.  Not surprisingly, the product concerned was a biscuit brand (Oreo) that was tied up with family bonding and happiness.  At least in some Asian countries, the value of family solidarity and cohesiveness is also the subject of marketing and advertising messages that are addressed to mass markets.  The happiness of many Asians is also directly correlated with the stability of family ties and the loyalty of spouses to one another.  We, Filipinos, cannot claim a monopoly to having fun.  It is also fun in India, fun in Indonesia, fun in Malaysia, etc.  If it is "more fun" in the Philippines, it is because there is more stability of marriages in our country and more unity among the members of each family.

          I have no doubt that the absence of a divorce law contributes significantly to the preservation of marriage as an "inviolable institution" as our Constitution mandates.  This absence can be directly attributed to our Catholic faith, thus bearing testimony to what Secretary Jimenez stated that our values stem partly from our faith.  He also said that our values are reinforced by our faith in one another, the smooth interpersonal relations that characterize the Malay race.  In my extensive travel all over Asia, I have noted that the countries that have a predominantly Malay population have populations that are generally cheerful and optimistic.  This bright outlook towards life is what we share with our fellow Malays in other Southeast Asian countries.  This positive cultural trait has been enhanced by our Christian faith.  As an amateur anthropologist, I maintain that this combination of the Malay culture and Christianity in the Filipinos make them among the happiest creatures on earth.  No wonder, it is "more fun in the Philippines."

          In future Tambuli awards, I would like to see the following values incorporated into marketing campaigns:  the dignity of manual work such as that of the carpenter, the plumber or the mechanic; the importance of motivating the youth to remain in the farming and fishing sectors;  the avoidance by parents of quarreling in front of their children to prevent psychological traumas; the happiness derived from having many brothers and sisters in families that can afford large family sizes; the dignity of the profession of teaching; the effort of a husband to be faithful to his wife, despite strong temptations in the environment; the humility to accept being corrected; the ability to listen to contrary opinions.  I am glad that, in addition to family values, there are already a good number of societal messages incorporated into marketing messages that refer to respect for the environment, obeying traffic rules, prudence in providing for the future, preferential option for the poor, and the value of investing in education.  Those who are interested in submitting entries for the next round of Tambuli Awards for 2013 may go to the website    For comments, my email address is


e;t� �at�J �p6 ne'>          What Akerlof's data unwittingly revealed is that the widespread use of contraceptives from the 1960s to the 1980s did not reduce the number of abortions, contrary to the arguments of those favoring the RH Bill that they want to distribute contraceptives especially to the poor and to young girls in order to reduce the number of illegal abortions.  As Akerlof's data show very clearly the number of abortions to unmarried women grew from roughly 100,000 a year in the late 1960s to  more than 1.2 million a year in the early 1980s.  This is incontrovertible evidence that contraceptives do not reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.  On the contrary, considering human behavior, the widespread availability of contraceptives encourages more promiscuity and instant gratification so that the number of unwanted pregnancies actually rise, which then lead to a larger number of abortions.  I do not buy the argument that this will not happen in the Philippines because "we are different from the Americans."   Human nature (for Christians fallen human nature) is the same everywhere.  Change the cultural environment and make contraceptives freely available, especially to the adolescents with raging hormones, and the inevitable result is a copulation explosion, as has happened in other countries. No, Dr. Akerlof, Filipinos are no different from Americans.  If subjected to the same morally corrupt environment (which we Christians call structures of sin) their libidos will act in a similar fashion.  So thanks, for coining the phrase "reproductive technology shock."  We will reject the RH Bill because we want to avoid in the first place being "shocked."  For comments, my email is