It was a quick exchange during Eat Bulaga’s ‘Bawal Judgmental’ segment that social media users caught and turned into a viral. The segment showed the noontime show mainstay co-host Maine Mendoza interviewing a participant, a 25-year-old mom of five kids who gave a message to her son to study hard in order to lift their family out of poverty.
“Sana mag-aral kang mabuti dahil alam kong ikaw ang makakaahon sa amin sa kahirapan, said the mom. “Ikaw yung pursigido para gumanda ang buhay natin. Tsaka bata ka pa, kahit bata ka pa may pangarap ka na talaga.
Maine calmly replied to the show’s guest using her the same words the mom told her son, “Tsaka ang bata mo pa, Incess, kayong mag-asawa. May pagkakataon pa para palakihin o pagandahin ang inyong buhay.”
But it was the next sentence that struck a chord with social media users. “Tsaka bata pa si Ace. Huwag nating ipasa sa kanya yung responsibilidad. Marami ka pang magagawa, kayo ni Mister.
The Sandwich Generation
Various video clips with different captions replayed the quick exchange Maine had with Eat Bulaga’s guest. One was a TikTok video captioned, “Yung 7 years old ka palang pero ang laki na ng responsibilities na nag aabang sayo.”
Social media users praised Maine for calling out the mindset, but also for doing so without being offensive.
“I’m so glad the hosts called her out. It’s time we break that toxic culture,” wrote one netizen.
“Lagi nalang ‘ikaw ang mag-aahon samin sa kahirapan,” wrote another.
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One female social media user said, “LOUDER! End the cycle of Sandwich Generation.”
“Ginawa ba namang retirement investment,” wrote another netizen.
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This Spot.ph article talks in depth about the sandwich generation, defined as “a batch of adults who take care of their aging parents while taking care of their young children.
It adds, “the term ‘sandwich,’ as they are a generation caught between two generations. This support extends from financial to emotional.” In this scenario, if the young boy would take on the task of supporting his biologically family financially, he would be part of the sandwich generation: supporting the generation before but also affecting his ability to support what could be the generation after him or his children.
The same Spot.ph article explains that among one of the reasons the sandwich generation is a cycle in the Philippines is because of the mindset that children are a form of insurance in the future, says sociologist and professor Vergel Binghay.
“Maraming anak kasi parang nakikita nilang insurance nila ‘yan when they become old so their children will help them," she said in a GMA-7 interview.
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Utang na loob versus kusang loob
Todays’ young generation is quick to spot this reminder and it’s a healthy reminder for Filipino parents, especially ones who are starting out. Knowing that the sandwich generation cycle is a real problem and the reality that every one grows old can hopefully lead us to a level-headed response.
As accountant Ruby Bravo said in the same GMA interview, “Yung pagbibigay sa parents para sa akin hindi siya obligasyon kusang loob mo. Kasi ako naniniwala na yung giving back to the parents kasi diba noong mula bata ka hanggang makagraduate ka ang laki ng sacrifices nila.”
Read this story on the Filipino culture of utang na loob and why a parent will not be teaching it to their child.