Most of us hear about this thing called “generation gap."
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, this means that, a generation gap or generational gap is a difference of opinions and outlooks between one generation and another. These differences may relate to beliefs, politics, language, work, demographics and values. The differences between generations can cause misunderstandings, but it is possible for generations to overcome their differences and maintain functional relationships.

This term would usually come up when two generations clash - in our case, mainly the parents versus their kids or an older employer and their employees. But how true is it in the Philippines? Does it apply to all Filipinos? Across all social demographics?

We have all come to clashes with our parents and some smart-ass would say that “generation gap yan kaya di magkaintindihan.” Well it is true. A younger person would be told that they are lazy or they don’t have respect for elders like the “old days.” Why is that? Well it’s really the environment and the time that a person has lived in that would. In some ways, define that person.

According to The Center for Generational Kinetics there are 5 key Generations.
Traditionalists or Silent Generation: Born approximately 1945 and before. They were born before World War 2. As kids, they were often to be seen and not heard.
Baby Boomers: Born approximately 1946 – 1964. They are optimists, idealists and known for their social activism. They are work centric, traditional and highly competitive.
Generation X: Born approximately 1965 – 1976. These are the skeptics, fiercely independent and highly adaptable since the grew up at the start of the computer age, built it and are still living in it. They have a perfect work life balance and have an “I don’t care” attitude.
Millennials or Gen Y: Born approximately 1977 – 1995. The diverse, digitally literate and socially aware group. They are growth oriented, self-prioritizing and flexible.
Gen Z, iGen, or Centennials: Born approximately 1996 – 2015. Highly tech savvy, highly socially aware and very creative. They are open, diverse and collaborative.
So let’s put this in a Philippine setting. All of those generations perfectly fit the characteristics of people who are more or less, rich, upper middle class, have been or lived abroad or are living in the mega-cities like Metro Manila. Why do I think that it fits perfectly within those demographics? Well, these are the people who can “afford” to have the characteristics of each generation.

For example, here in Samar. By age definition, we all fit in a generation. But what is the difference between a millennial of the city and a millennial of Samar who barely has internet much less a smart phone - economics. They are mostly poor or lower middle class whose priority is to have the basic needs which are food, education and shelter. They cannot afford to be the bratty millennial or the spoiled gen z.

There are still gaps however but mostly in customs and traditions. Less of the Gen X to Gen Z go to church. More hardly respect elders. Almost all have never felt the backside of their parents hands or the clothes hanger and the Boomer’s favorite weapon - the tsinelas.

In the poorer regions of the Philippines such as Samar and even in other countries, where having rice on the table or electricity to light up their homes or constant flowing water in their faucets is a luxury, there are only three generations. These are the older, the current and the younger. They may actually be united rather than divided in their everyday need to survive.

So, maybe the next time we overhear a conversation of how utterly different this dad is with his son or come across a tiktok reel that pits one generation with another like a tekken 8 fight, we’ll think twice. After all, there’s always two sides in a coin – at least a physical coin at that. Bitcoin? I’m not so sure on those just yet.

-, March 23, 2024

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