In localities here, the profession ‘maka-Diyos‘ is plastered or written in key areas (e.g. public schools). The literal English translation of the term is ‘being for God’. In it’s expansive meaning, godliness.

Merriam-Webster defines godliness as

the quality or state of being spiritually pure or virtuous.

But what does godliness actually mean in Philippine localities? On observation, godliness is understood by locals in general as going by the rituals of honoring God. The common practice of praying aloud before the start of public activities such as meetings for instance (although in the presence of other faiths, praying in the Catholic faith is not exactly a just act.)

There is a big difference between praying and prayerful, the latter closer to the meaning of maka-Diyos. Being a prayerful person means praying for a good government and when the opportunity comes, participate in barangay meetings in order to contribute to good government.


I recall locals’ misinterpretation of the term ‘storm surge’, the official warning sent out a few days before Haiyan. The resulting scale of disaster consequently triggered debate in the media whether or not to use a more relevant term. Similarly, if what locals meant to say was they’re a praying lot, the correct term is ‘mapag-dasal‘.

How does one become maka-Diyos or virtuous?

Yale Professor Tamara Gendler, in her lecture, Virtue and Habit, reiterates the Aristotelian insight on the concept:

We learn a craft by producing the same product that we must produce when we’ve learned it. We become builders by building, harpists by playing the harp, in the same way we become just by doing just actions, temperate by doing temperate actions, brave by doing brave actions.

In short, “we become virtuous by acting as if we are virtuous”. Thus to break the habit of peeing in public places, one must start the habit of not peeing in public places. When localities advertise they’re maka-Diyos, then they must show themselves virtuous.


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