Liza Soberano gets real about mental health, utang na loob in PH

Liza Soberano gets real about mental health, debt of gratitude in PH

/ 09:15 PM February 07, 2024

Liza Soberano gets real about mental health, utang na loob in PH

Liza Soberano. Image: Instagram/@lizasoberano

Liza Soberano opened up about how mental health is viewed as a “taboo topic” in the Philippines, as she shared that putting up a facade of being “resilient in facing challenges” is considered to be the norm.

Speaking on the “Broad Ideas with Rachel Bilson & Olivia Allen” podcast, Soberano admitted that many Filipinos are not fond of talking about mental health because it is seen as a taboo topic.


“Unlike here in the States, we’re very behind just in terms of really understanding mental health and mental health issues. In the Philippines, we don’t really like to talk about mental health that much. It’s a taboo topic,” she said.


The actress then noted that it might have something to do with the Philippines being “colonized for so long” that the acts of “utang na loob” (debt of gratitude) and “resilience” were ingrained in the local culture.

“We have this Filipino saying called, ‘utang na loob,’ which means like you’re forever in debt, so just be grateful for whatever it is that you have. Filipinos like to say we’re so resilient in facing challenges but it’s actually like we’re just people-pleasers,” she said.

Soberano also pointed out that Filipinos do not want to discuss difficult topics such as hardships because it would appear like complaining.

“We don’t like complaining. We don’t like talking about our hardships or anything. Everything has to be happy and pleasant at all times,” she said. “That’s just not the way the world works. We try our best to be happy but in the Philippines, it’s kind of a facade at times. You don’t have to talk about the bad. It just needs to be perfect all the time.”

Citing her “An Open Mind” podcast and taking up Psychology during the pandemic, Soberano revealed that her “ultimate goal” is to make mental health services accessible in her home country. “I got a lot of messages from my fans that it helped them to think that seeking professional help is not bad. It’s not embarrassing.”

“In speaking about mental health, I want to be authentic and honest,” she continued. “My ultimate goal is to make mental health services more accessible in the Philippines and be able to provide to less fortunate people and to be able to pay for these types of services.”


‘A huge career transition’

Soberano also confessed in the podcast that “building her name from scratch in the past two years” had been difficult for her due to the backlash she received from her fellow countrymen.

In a February 2023 vlog, she previously made headlines after opening up about “giving into the pressure of what everybody wants” in her showbiz career in the Philippines. The video earned mixed reactions from netizens, although she clarified days later that she was “grateful” for the opportunities she received back home.

“I got a lot of backlash for probably speaking my truth about a lot of things the way the industry is in the Philippines and wanting more for myself,” she said. “Not feeling contented and stuff like that and also struggling with societal pressures. I started talking a lot more about it for the past two years.”

The “Lisa Frankenstein” star said the criticism might have been rooted in her “always trying to be as perfect as possible” in her showbiz career, saying she wasn’t allowed to talk about negative topics.

“Before, I would always try to be as perfect as possible. I would never tell anybody about my hardships. I was actually told not to talk about anything too negative and to not talk about my real life and my struggles to make it seem like I’m the perfect girl or dream girl,” she recalled.

Liza Soberano and Kathryn Newton in a scene from "Lisa Frankenstein." Image: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Liza Soberano and Kathryn Newton in a scene from “Lisa Frankenstein.” Image: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Soberano also shared that she was thought to be “ungrateful” in the past, but it led her to think that her “most honest self wasn’t worthy” of love and appreciation from others.

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“But that’s not reality. People kind of think the moment that you start speaking up about anything negative, it’s almost like you’re being ungrateful and you don’t realize what privilege you have,” she said.

“I still do struggle with ordinary things that people struggle with like insecurities and not feeling enough for anyone. It almost felt like my most honest self wasn’t worthy of this love, attention, and appreciation from people. I get very self-conscious now when talking about anything because it’s like a constant battle of wanting to people please and wanting to be myself,” she continued.

The actress is starting to cement her name as one of Hollywood’s rising stars after starring as Taffy in “Lisa Frankenstein” which garnered praise from critics including director-producer Joe Russo.

TAGS: Liza Soberano, Mental Health

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