bahala na (COME WHAT MAY)!!


If we roughly translate “bahala na” to English it’s  simply “come what may!” This is a popular phrase that Filipinos use in any given situation.  I say “any given situation”, because it is a favourite phrase that some Filipinos say because of their indecisiveness on what to do if faced with a situation that seems impossible to solve or if they are about to venture into something which outcome is uncertain and risk is out of the question.  Most Filipinos are fond of this phrase that has become a household “saying” of sorts, that yound and old alike love to use.  Although it has a negative concept because it connotes “to run away from personal responsibility”. But, does it matter? Well, for Filipinos, who cares?

Let us dig in into the origin of this very international “quote”  BAHALA NA (Come what may). Here goes: The phrase was used in the French language in the early 1300’s as “AVALZE QUE VALZE” which means “Let it avail what it may, come what may”. William Shakespeare for his part, made it popular in his work “Macbeth” in 1605. By the 1800’s it became a popular US phrase just as much as it belonged to the European English. (THEIDIOMS.COM)

Prior the foregoing, another “origin” could date back during the time of Julius Caesar who “crossed the Rubicon river” on January 10, 49BC and precipitated the Civil War that converted him to become the dictator and led to the rise of the imperial era of Rome. Today, as we all know, “crossing the rubicon” is metaphorically used to mean “to pass a point of no return”.

Thus, it is my belief that either of these two situations was the basis of the Filipinos’ “bahala na” adoption in Filipinos’ cultural characterization. And for all intents and purposes it is a very logical translation of the original phrase because Filipinos use the phrase in the same tenor as the original concept. Philippine academes say that it is a derivative of the word “Bathala”, the ancient Supreme being Filipinos worship during the pre-colonial Spanish period. It could have also come from the Islamic term “Inshallah” which means “God-willing” or “If Allah wills“. You will recall that before the Spanish came to colonize the country, the Philippines (not yet named Filipinas) was all Islam, thus we had Rajahs and Sultans as rulers of the various lands. The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in represenation of the Spanish Monarchy in 1521, paved the way to the country’s convertion to Christianity and westernization.

Going back to “Bahala na”, it has become a socio-cultural value in the Philippines and is also a useful common phrase that Filipinos adhere to that displays a fatalistic attitude in a particular situation or condition towards life specially when matters could be risky and uncertain for them to defy. In my view, it is also the feeling of undecisiveness on their part to face danger and instead use a phrase as a escape from the personal responsibility the situation entails – unscathed.

But Filipinos, who themselves are “ingenious”, added a “superhero” to sort of strengthen or boast their morale and have identified that “someone” is there “present” to help them get out of the dilemma. So “Batman” has been tagged to the phrase, who now acts as protector of their predicament. In the end, they came up with a new “powerful phrase” – “bahala na si Batman”, to give a bit of assurance that their backs are covered by a superhero no less than “Batman” himself. As we all know Batman is a fictional superhero character derived from comics and made flesh in the movies. It is more common now to say “bahala na si Batman” (Batman will take care of it (whatever it is)) and hear people saying so.

Why not use Superman who is much more powerful than Batman?. Although Batman is no-where near the powers Superman possesses, Batman sounds better and rhymes with “bahala na”, rather than “bahala na si Superman”, huh….is one reason. It could also be that, it is remotely impossible for Superman to just pop out from no-where to help a Filipino out of trouble. But, Batman?, Well, why not, he’s just in Hollywood! On top of that, Batman has a lot of gadgets to fight with against the enemies. And I think that it’s more of a sort of reliance to Batman’s ingenuity. And the reason could be simple, gadgets are more “humanly” possible to make than the “powers” of Superman “humanly” impossible to have and because Filipinos themselves are ingenious in inventing and “fabricating” things and stories… thus the trust to Batman. They believe that in any negative situation, letting Batman take part in the quandary they found themselves in, the solution is just around the corner. The end result or the outcome they are looking for and what they expected to come forth will manifest. Incredible isn’t it?.

Many Filipinos “love crossing the Rubicon” just like Julius Caesar. What is unclear is whether it is a show of bravery or cowardice, the point is, in every cause there is an effect (one of the Universal Principles). The consequence is immaterial in a sense because as long as the want to prove something is shown, having faced whatever it is and being a “daredevil” is what is important. In any case, Batman is there to “help”. Notwithstanding whether my arguments in this write-up are, acceptable or not, I would invoke “bahala na si Batman” to settle the situation for me.

Stay safe my friends, keep the social-distancing directive of the authorities in place, wash your hands, stay active and fit, and always be healthy. I shall be back with another interesting write-up with my opinions that I wish to express and share to the world. Thank you!! God bless!!

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