Why Filipinos Shouldn’t Get Used to the Culture of “Pangungutang”

Words by Meldrick Tin

Admit it or not, I’m pretty sure that you’ve had an utang from somebody at least once in your life. You know, that time when you really had to borrow money from a friend to buy that snack from the canteen because you didn’t have baon or left yours at home. Or that time you had to loan cash to get that dream phone you really needed—or you know, thought you needed.

For whatever reason it is, no matter how big the amount or how small, you’ve done it; we all have.

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Without a doubt, pangungutang is a culture already ingrained to us Filipinos that we may often think that doing this repeatedly is perfectly okay. Yes, it is okay—to an extent. Like out of actual, dire need, for example. But if you’re just being extravagant, thinking you have all the money in the world while splurging all your cash on material things or worse—betting, gambling, or other similar things and then you’ll ask for an utang—then seriously, forget it.

Now, where do we draw the line between when it is okay to borrow money and when it is not?

Well, if you’re really low on cash and what you need is an actual emergency or a necessity, then of course it’s alright if you’d borrow money from a family member, relative, or a close friend—just make sure to actually pay them back! And if you know that you’re gonna be late with your payment and not meet the deadline, just be sure to tell them in advance. Don’t wait for them to go to you and ask for updates about your pending utang. Please, let’s all have a little decency and the responsibility to pay back our debts on time, or be the one yourself to reach out to the one you borrowed from if you can’t.

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On the other hand, if you feel like you need to borrow money just to fill a material need then maybe that’s not the best idea. Especially if it becomes a habit.

After all, if you just want to do that to flex and show off a new material possession, do you really want that unnecessary utang hanging above your head? Remember, utang will just complicate your life even more—and your new diamond ring can’t do nothing ’bout that.


Bottomline is, you shouldn’t get used to the culture of pangungutang. Not only does this promote irresponsibility with our money, it, more often that not, also leads to us abusing the one we borrowed money from. We have the tendency to keep delaying and delaying them until our utangs pile up on top of another… and the list of just goes on and on and on. It’s a never ending cycle.


While you’re still not yet drowning in utang, please start cutting down on your unnecessary expenses. Let’s not spend on the things we don’t need, and only buy the things we can actually afford to buy. Let’s not make money a more difficult issue that it already is.

What do you think about pangungutang?

Share it with us in the comments section below!