In Filipino society, a person’s social status is usually associated with his profession or occupation. Education is highly valued in Filipino culture, as in most Asian countries, because it is considered a passport to advancing one’s status in society. Specifically, getting a college degree in medicine, law, engineering, and other fields that would put a title to one’s name is quite precious for most Filipino families. In fact, the parents’ overwhelming joy is aptly expressed in several Tagalog expressions when all their children are able to finish college, such as “Nakaraos din” (Finally, they were able to finish), “May doktor na ako” (I finally have a doctor), or “May abugado na ako” (I finally have a lawyer). No matter the financial hardships, Filipinos are ready and willing to make personal sacrifices in order to get their children through college.
Professionals like teachers, educators, doctors, engineers, and to some extent lawyers are highly respected in the Philippines. On the other hand, persons that occupy an elective or political position, such as mayors, governors, congressmen, senators, and even presidents, are often perceived as less respectful because of the common perception that politicians are generally corrupt. This is based on patron-client relationships that characterize the nature of Filipino politics. Often, elective positions are seen by Filipinos as the means for some individuals, clans, or families to advance their economic interests rather than the common good of the nation. This doesn’t mean, however, that there are no sincere politicians in the country who are able to put the interest of the country above their self-interest.