Tagalog (kaginhawahan), Ikokano (gin-awa), Kapampangan (masalese), Naga Bikol and Sorsogon (kasangyangan), Sebwano and Surigawnon, ayahay, Waray (maupay).

Well-being is measured by material things, achieved with help from the spirit world and by social interaction within the community, and guided or maintained by nature or the environment.

Well-being is described as ease or the feeling of lightness one experienced when everything aspired for is in order or easily attainable.

Tagalog kaginhawahan or the state of being maginhawa ‘prosperous, peaceful, comfortable, and free from want or problems’ is connected with a plethora of words that mean “to breathe”, which is plausible because one description of well-being in Tagalog is “nakakahinga ng maluwag” (able to breathe loosely/easily).

  • Hiligaynon, Romblomanon, Sorsoganon: maginhawa
  • Sebwano: moginhawa
  • Aklanon, Waray: guminhawa
  • Kapampangan: mangisnawa
  • Sambal: manginanawa

The Tagalog word ginhawa was borrowed from any of the aforementioned languages, most probably Sebwano or Hiligaynon.

Tagalog: kasaganahan (prosperity)

  • Tausug, Badjaw: kasangyangan (peacefulness, order)
  • Naga Bikol, Sorsogon: kasanggayahan (prosperity, free from preasure/problems)


Tagalog: maalwan (light/easy feeling)

  • Hiligaynon: maalwan (absence of want, easy life, one has everything he or shee needs and does not have to depend on others)

Having to depend on others and therefore helpless and without rights is how some informants wished to discuss well-being.

Tagalog: mahirap (difficult, poor)

  • Sambal, Pangasinan: mairap

Tagalog: mapanglaw (sad)

  • Ilokano: napanglaw (poor)

Tagalog: nagmumutaut (sulking, impatient)

  • Ilokano: agmimiraut (helpless, no rights, very poor)
  • Sebwano: alaut (poor)

Some Filipino ethnolinguistic groups do not have an exact word for well-being, but have asprirations that measure it.

  • Palawano: enough food, don’t have to sell possessions or steal
  • Yakan: have a dayahan or much land, big house, many laborers or helpers; could eat three meals a day
  • Subanen: kalanghapan (has everything), dayhop (very wealthy), dun an (well to do), gaus (not only rich but also powerful)
  • Finishing tertiary education

Most EGs expressed well-being and contentment according to possessing material goods and food.

Because Filipinos are historically animistic, they believe that a good relationship with spirits ensure well-being.

Well-being is also maintained through active interaction within the community.

It is impossible to feel Ginhawa without feeling stretched first.

Ginhawa seems to occur through various means:

  • Healthy mind
  • Health body (good sleep, nutrition, and exercise)
  • Healthy relationships
  • Material needs provided
  • Autonomy

For resilience building, there has to be many ways to feel ginhawa, not just one.


Paz, C. (2008). Ginhawa: Well-being as expressed in Philippine Languages. In Ginhawa, Kapalaran, Dalamhati: Essays on Well-being, Opportunity/Destiny, and Anguish (pp. 3–12). The University of the Philippines Press.