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Reviewed by:
  • Handbook of Filipino Psychology, vol. 1: Perspectives and Methodology ed. by Rogelia Pe-Pua
  • Mendiola Teng-Calleja
Rogelia PE-Pua ed.
Handbook of Filipino Psychology, vol. 1: Perspectives and Methodology
Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2018. 707 pages.

The Handbook of Filipino Psychology (Sikolohiyang Pilipino or SP) traverses through the history of indigenous psychology in the Philippines. Reading through this compilation of articles, one builds an intimate understanding of SP's development in terms of theory, method, and application. The first volume, which is the focus of this review, presents the perspectives that fueled its institutionalization as an approach and advocacy. It also introduces research methods that SP advocates deem acceptable if one seeks to conduct social scientific inquiries that are aligned with SP's emphasis on advancing Filipino culture and language, national identity and consciousness, as well as social involvement (160). Except for thirteen original chapters, the contents of the handbook have been previously published as academic journal articles, conference reports, and book chapters. Nonetheless, in compiling these writings, the book weaves a complete story of SP's purpose, history, and methodology, as well as its current state, challenges, and possible future directions.

The editor, Rogelia Pe-Pua, was one of the first students of Virgilio Enriquez, the father of SP, and is a prime mover of indigenous psychology (IP) in the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific. Prior to editing this handbook, she has authored and coauthored numerous articles and book chapters on similar topics. She also edited the first book-length volume on SP, Filipino Psychology: Theory, Method, and Application (Surian ng Sikolohiyang Pilipino and the University of the Philippines Press, 1982), a precursor to this handbook. Both include foundational works on SP ideology and methodology, but the handbook builds upon these materials and expands the discussion by including more recent and diverse writings. Given her contributions to the field, Pe-Pua can be considered one of the most notable and prolific Filipino psychologists in the field of IP.

The depth of Pe-Pua's engagement in the IP movement and scholarship—and perhaps her location at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia—enable her to situate SP in the global discourses on indigenization. For example, the handbook includes the chapter of Carl Martin Allwood and John W. Berry (77–108), which examines the [End Page 127] development and characteristics of IPs in various parts of the world. This chapter positions SP as a leading force in exposing the impotence of Western psychological concepts and methods in capturing local experiences and contributing solutions to social problems. It also indirectly substantiates Enriquez's claim that having a truly universal psychology is the overall direction of SP (20). Specifically, he put forth that in "comparing IPs from different societies (the 'cross-indigenous' method) we might observe an 'overall pattern' of human development and expressions" (103), which can form part of a universal psychology that is liberating, inclusive, and relevant.

As one may expect from a compilation that spans more than forty years, a number of chapters have content that seem to be a repetition of ideas and arguments that have been published previously. However, the repeated articulation of SP's theoretical and methodological standpoint does not present itself as a nuisance but serves as a necessary reminder of SP's ontology and epistemology. These reiterations also frame the chapters that offer constructive criticisms on SP, which are welcome inclusions in this volume.

A most notable example is the chapter written by Sylvia Estrada Claudio, which points out how the essentialism of SP contributes to its inability to surge forward. According to Claudio, SP's essentialist character is observed in its assumptions that presuppose that (a) the Philippines is an independent country and therefore "what is Filipino" and "a Filipino identity" can be distinguished through its territorial boundaries; (b) people living in the Philippines are a "homogenous group in that a distinction can be made between that which is Western/colonialist and that which is indigenous/ liberating"; and (c) "what is indigenous is liberating" (236). She discusses critiques of SP's "essentializing" in both ideology and methodology not just by presenting her own views...