You probably say or hear someone say “bahala na” at least a few times a week. “Bahala na” is such a common expression among Filipinos that it has become a reflection of an attitude and mindset towards circumstances in life.

Interestingly, “bahala na” can be interpreted both in a positive or negative manner, depending on how we use it. But this easy-go-lucky attitude, which has been engraved among Filipinos, can also help or hurt our chances for success.

“Bahala na” as fatalism

A lot of times, we think of “bahala na” as an expression of laziness—a refusal to make adequate preparations for the future. Take for example a high school student playing video games and remembering he has two quizzes plus homework due the next day. He could say, “bahala na!” and just keep on playing video games. By doing this, he is leaving the state of his grades to fate. What will be, will be. 

Here, the student’s “bahala na” attitude reflects his irresponsibility that would later on expose him to potentially stressful or even disastrous consequences.

In recent years, the phrase has even evolved into a sillier version: “Bahala na si Batman!” It’s a fun, pun-ny version that hopefully, would keep fate kind.

“Bahala na” as courage and determination

There is another way of using “bahala na.” Let’s say that there’s a group of rescuers in a helicopter hovering above a raging and overflowing river amid a strong typhoon. The rescuers are on a mission to rescue a mother and child standing on the roof of their car.

The rescue leader might shout to his teammates, in a commanding, determined voice, “Sige, kunin na natin sila. Bahala na!”

Here, the rescue leader means this: While he and his fellow rescuers are well-trained and prepared to save the mother and child, they know that the raging floodwaters still pose a risk to their safety and lives. Despite this, they do their job and put themselves in God’s hands.

In this second case, “bahala na” is a nobler expression of bravery and faith in one’s skills, training, and God. It means that you have already done everything humanly possible to ensure success but the future remains uncertain, so now you leave it up to God or fate. This is the good side of “bahala na.”

The power of Plan B

There’s no correct time to say “bahala na.” We usually say it depending on our mindset and attitude towards particular circumstances. If you’re saying it in the context of the first example, ask yourself: Is there a way I can respond more responsibly and proactively?

Whether we have been lazy or responsible, hardworking, and productive—we can still end up saying “bahala na.” For example, we may have a successful business, a good job, a nice house, a car, a happy family—but what if something unexpected happens to one or several of these? We may find ourselves saying “bahala na.” But are we saying it in the good or bad sense?

Our education, income, business, investments, savings—these make up our Plan A. Our Plan A helps us achieve our dreams and take care of our family and future. That we commit to a Plan A is the opposite of taking on a “bahala na” attitude to life. Yet, for for Plan A to succeed, we will need to stay healthy, energetic, and alive long enough to complete our financial goals. This, of course, isn’t possible. Our human element puts our Plan A at risk.

Rather than leave the fate of our family to “bahala na,” the best way we can really assure their future is by creating a Plan B. Plan B is our safety net—and the most appropriate Plan B is a life insurance policy. It’s the only financial instrument that will answer for family expenses and emergency needs for a desired period, if ever the family income is compromised when a provider prematurely passes away.

With a Plan B in place, we employ the “bahala na” attitude in the best sense: “Bahala na. May Plan B ako. Anuman ang mangyari, may sasagot sa pamilya ko.”

May Plan B ka na ba? Instead of relying on “bahala na,” secure your family’s future by creating a Plan B in the form of a life insurance policy. See how BDO Life can help you prepare for life’s what if’s here:

About BDO Life

BDO Life Assurance Company, Inc. is a wholly owned life insurance subsidiary of BDO Unibank, Inc., the country’s largest bank to date. The Company offers a diverse pool of life insurance products suitable to the needs of its clients. BDO Life provides protection, health, education, savings, retirement, and estate planning solutions aimed to create a secure future for its individual customers and their families. BDO Life extends comprehensive group term life insurance for corporate clients.

BDO Life Assurance Company, Inc.
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