The Relationship Between “Libangan” and “Libingan”

One of the hallmark characteristics of Filipinos that I keep mentioning in this blog is the desire to always be on a high and to have some form of libangan or distraction.

Filipinos are not masaya unless there is pagkain, pelikula, internet, pakikisama, social media, salu-salo or any other form of distraction.

Many Filipinos, whom I know and interact with, seem to have an underlying feeling of restlessness that constantly pushes them to look for occasions to get some form of stimulation and libangan.

Where does the need for constant libangan ultimately stem from?

There is an interesting quote from Blaise Pascal: Blaise Pascal said that most of our problems stem from lack of the ability to sit alone and quietly in an empty room. We fear the silence of existence and boredom and we must fill it with some distraction.

Rarely can Filipinos (at least the ones I have regular dealings with….many Filipino fellow-bloggers of mine are actually quite different) sit still in silence and bask in being.

This is, I guess, an attempt to run away from the fact that being, at its fundamental level and stripped of all the noise of doing and activity, is hollow.

Human beings, generally speaking, cannot stand silence and stillness.

The reason is probably the fact that the void of silence and stillness calls to mind that libingan is what awaits us. People who cannot stand katahimikan are probably trying to run away from the reality of libingan.

The Philippines is one of those cultures where this fear of katahimikan and the need to fill every single hour with some libangan (many Filipinos listen to music or use their gadgets even while they are working) is particularly strong.

And the giant karatula that can be seen everywhere in the Philippines encourage Filipinos to buy, consume and have plenty of libangan.

The reality is that running away from libingan with too much libangan often leads to early libingan as many Filipinos ruin their health with too much pagkain or alak.

The fact that in Tagalog only a vowel separates the concept of libangan from that of libingan shows that these two things are actually closely related.

Running away from the reality of libingan gets Filipinos to stuff their lives with sobrang libangan and this often leads to libingan….more food for thought bilang pampatunaw….

26 thoughts on “The Relationship Between “Libangan” and “Libingan”

  1. Agree! There’s value in katahimikan, where “one’s inner voices become audible”… I’m also a fan of solitary reading / listening on Spotify, hehe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I basically live in the Philippines…my byenan lives with us and my wife’s brother used to live with us… basically nandito halos kalahating barangay. When you interact with Pinoys 24/7 eventually you gain some “unawa”…


  2. The title made me laugh! I agree that some Filipinos prefer this loud, constantly distracted, environment. But I find that it is a common thing in Asia. It is quite interesting. Here at the tiny house, the neighbors outside the property used to play really loud music. We had trouble at the start. But we talked to them and they were nice enough to keep it down. Thank heavens!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for dropping a comment. Much appreciated. Yes, indeed, Filipinos are respectful people and they won’t make noise at the expense of other people’s right to rest. Same thing here in Italy with our Pinoy neighbors


      1. They really like their loud music, but when we say something, they tone it down, which is fair enough for us. How is the coronavirus there at your community? I hope you are all safe and healthy.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That sounds dangerous. Hopefully not prematurely. Ideally people should be respectful of the pandemic despite restrictions. The role of the government in guiding the public is critical at this point.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I get what you’re saying, and I agree…
    Thou it would be worth noting that “libangan” means recreation, not a distraction. And sometimes libangan means to rest or take a break from the tedious and difficult life some Filipinos have to face. I will admit that there are some Filipinos who are not wise about how to spend their spare time. But to some who are barely making it, a break could reinvigorate their spirits. I’m wondering if maybe the term you are looking for is “bisyo”?
    Anyways, great post! I love it when foreigners take the time to learn our language! Cheers! 🍸

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Entertainment is a form of distraction. Obviously it is necessary and I definitely crave it and need it.
        What my post was about is ang labis at hindi timbang na libangan na karaniwan sa mga Pilipino.
        Madalas binabati ko ang mga Pilipino sa mga istasyon ng metro at hindi nila ako pinapansin (kahit nagsasalita ako sa Tagalog) dahil nakapokus sila sa gadyet nila….
        Pero, syempre naman, kailangan nating lahat ng katamtamang libangan


  4. My husband must be part Philipino (actually he is Hungarian). He has to have the television on all of the time but he will be on the computer playing a game and scrolling through social media on this phone at the same time. He stops when he works and when he sleeps (sometimes).

    Liked by 1 person

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