Spreading the culture of alaga: Jodi Sta. Maria wants us to #SayItWithIngat

Giselle S. Barrientos

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Spreading the culture of alaga: Jodi Sta. Maria wants us to #SayItWithIngat
We all should practice unconditional care, no matter what our status is

We all know this age-old phrase: Words have power. It only takes a second to say them, but their impact can spark strong emotions and even change perspectives for the rest of someone’s life. And in the age of social media, words are thrown out so much in posts, comments, or videos that strangers have lost care in wielding its power.

With the masks of online crowds and anonymity, negativity has been too easy to spread. Take it from actress Jodi Sta. Maria, who has her fair share of online bashers and haters. “Hindi ka magaling umarte, overrated ka. It’s really about my work,” said Jodi when asked what these people say. Yet, she still finds a way to give it a kinder spin. “Tawag ko nga sa kanila is confused fans.”

Her line of work as a public figure requires her to stay connected with her fans online through social media, for better or for worse. But in her many years of dabbling with these platforms, she’s found that the best way to respond with online hate is to use something even stronger – the Filipino culture of alaga and ingat.

Social media doesn’t hold the power – you do

Jodi wants to remind us that at the end of the day, social media is just a tool. “‘Yung social media platform, wala naman talaga siyang power to begin with. It’s just a platform, it’s just an app,” she said.

Pero tayong mga tao ang may kapasidad kung ano ang magiging purpose ng social media [platform] mo. Are you going to use it para mag spread ng hate? Are you going to use it para mag spread ng encouragement or comfort? It’s really up to you.”

So, what’s a litmus test you can use to check if you’re saying things with ingat? Jodi recommends asking these questions first: “Is it something na kaya mong sabihin without hiding behind the egg icon? Are these the words na sasabihin mo sa sarili mo mismo?”

Protecting her peace

Jodi also recognizes that you can’t really control what others do. But what you can control is what you can do for yourself. She started doing regular social media detoxing years ago, because she feels it pulls focus from the parts of life that are truly important – like the present, and her loved ones around her.

She also uses this time to be more introspective about what haters say to her. “What I do when I get triggered by a comment is I acknowledge that a particular comment hurt me, or didn’t sit well with me. Then I read the comment again, and ask myself: What is it about this comment that pushed a button? Sometimes it becomes a window to the unhealed parts of me. So I [will] try to work on that.”

The culture of alaga and caring intentionally

Jodi believes that hate is something cyclical, and we can begin breaking it by saying and doing things with ingat. As a recent psychology graduate, she shares about a research paper she wrote in 2019 on bullies’ motivations to be hateful. “I refused to believe na may mga tao na ipinanganak lang talaga sila para gumising every single day at intensyon nila gumising araw-araw ay para sabihing ibu-bully ko si [ganito], pahihirapan ko siya today.

According to her research, she found that bullies are likely to be recipients of emotional, mental, or even physical abuse in their private lives, like in their home. They then find a target outside of that environment to project onto. “Life is hard and people have emotions – I guess ‘yan ang masasabi [ko] when it comes to being mindful of what we say,” said Jodi.

Now, Jodi’s a strong example and advocate for answering hate with alaga. She uses her platform and partnerships, like the #SayItWithIngat campaign with Paracetamol (Biogesic), to spread this message.

“I am really happy with this partnership with Paracetamol (Biogesic) on our advocacy [against] hate comments,” she said. “‘Yung alaga kasi, hindi lang pang sakit ng ulo at lagnat, but we also care for the emotional and mental well-being of others [through the #SayItWithIngat Campaign].”

To those who carry hurt from online hate, Jodi has this to say. “Just because a person has an opinion about you, it does not make it true. May you find the wisdom to know whether to engage or let go. And I hope that you heal from what hurt you. But always remember to those who know you and truly love you, you are enough.”

Even though it’s painful to receive hate online, we must remember that responding with kindness can be more powerful and impactful over time. Before you hit send on your posts, remember to take a deep breath, think about your words, and #SayItWithIngat.

To learn more about the movement, follow Paracetamol (Biogesic) on Facebook and listen to Jodi’s Paano Ba ‘To: The Podcast episode. – Rappler.com

A close-up of a signature

Description automatically generated

If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.

ASC U0050P022624B

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!


Biogesic 500mg tablet contains paracetamol, an analgesic and antipyretic, that helps relieve fever, headache, and pain. For over 50 years, Biogesic has been caring for Filipinos’ health, making it the most preferred pain reliever, and remains top-of-mind when buying medicine to relieve headache, fever, and pain. It is the most prescribed brand by doctors among oral pain & fever medicines. Aside from this, Biogesic is safe for everyone and can care for your whole family including pregnant and breastfeeding women, the elderly, and children age 12 and above. It can be taken even on an empty stomach and is also lactose-free and gluten-free. When it comes to headache and fever, Biogesic is the choice that is as effective as potent brands but is safer.