10 Life Lessons We Learned from ‘Love or Money’

Shin Kitane| Posted at 25/03/2021 01:55 PM

Without spoilers, we listed down ten helpful life lessons we learned from watching Coco Martin and Angelica Panganiban's "Love or Money!" Shot in beautiful Dubai, the film reflects a lot of OFW's struggles in pursuing a better life for themselves and their families.

1. There is dignity in earning an honest living.

One of our favorite things about the film is how it highlighted that all jobs are honorable. As long as you are making an honest living, it does not matter if you don't have a fancy title attached to your name on a calling card, such as "CEO," "Manager," et cetera. 

It's sadly  common in some cultures to look down on someone who has a couple of odd jobs/rakets, or who works in the service industry. In Pinoy culture, some people think less of themselves just because they don't work as professionals in traditional industries. But the truth is, it's about time we stop saying things such as "Waiter LANG ako/siya," "Promo girl LANG," "Kahero LANG," and the like when we talk about ourselves and other people.

Basta marangal ang trabaho mo, ipagmalaki mo.

2. Success can mean different things for different people.

Since we all have different dreams and backgrounds, it isn't really fair to judge ourselves and one another based on a singular definition of "success." (Spoiler: It doesn't exist.) 

For some people, "success" means food on the table, a decent education for the children, and a home to call their own.
For some people, it's rising above the ranks at work and being called a boss.
For others, it's having enough money to buy fancy clothes, cars, bags, and other luxury items for themselves and their families (because maybe that's what they enjoy).
For some, it's saving up enough for a secure future even if it means not living extravagantly in their day-to-day.

In the film, Leon (Coco) and Angel (Angelica) started off having different definitions of success, something that caused them to drift apart and face challenges in trying to be with each other. 

In real life, I guess it's worth remembering that no matter how different our vision of success may be from that of another person, we can always respect and support each other on our different journeys.

3. Be kind, everyone you meet is struggling with something.

There's a quote from Ian Maclaren that goes "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." This is something that was highlighted in "Love or Money," where a lot of Pinoy characters were fighting silent battles of their own even as they soldiered on during their day-to-day lives in Dubai.

A lot of us Filipinos go abroad to work for our families, but on top of that, life always throws different sorts of challenges our way--some people deal with debt, sickness in the family, abuse, heartbreak, loneliness, and maybe even depression and other mental health issues. This is why it's always worth remembering to be kind to others, because just like us, they have their own battles, too. "Being kind" doesn't mean tolerating bad behavior or abuse, but on days when you feel like you can spare a little extra kindness for a Kabayan, do it. You might just brighten someone's day, or even save a life.


4. Accepting help doesn’t mean you’re weak.

Angelica's character, Angel, is a very strong woman who's had to make her way through life by acting tough and relying on "diskarte" to succeed. She's a breadwinner, a dreamer, and she's feisty.

I'm sure a lot of us can relate with Angel, especially if you're a breadwinner or a parent who's had to work hard every single day to have a better life. However, this is your gentle reminder that you don't always have to be so strong. Some days it's okay to let your guard down, to ask for help, or to accept help from our friends and loved ones. Some days it's okay to rest. 

After all, being strong is not always defined by how tough we act, or how we try to take on all of life's challenges on our own. Sometimes strength is about taking a moment and accepting that we're human, we're tired, yet also believing that we can get back up and do it all again. 


5. Family and friends are a Kabayan’s lifeline.

"Love or Money" isn't the first film to illustrate how challenging and lonely it can be for a Filipino working abroad. Some similar films are "Hello, Love, Goodbye," set in Hong Kong, "Milan," set in Italy, and "Never Not Love You," set in the UK. One common theme in these films is the fact that it's really hard to adjust to life in another country--away from home, our friends and family, and the life we've known.

The good news is that Pinoys are some of the warmest, joyful people on the planet. Plus, we're all around the globe! There's rarely a place where you won't run into a Kabayan eventually. No matter where you are, you can always find comfort and a slice of home in a Pinoy friend's pansit or adobo. And when you're losing hope and getting really homesick, thanks to the internet, you can always chat or call family and friends back home.

No matter what you're going through, laging tandaang hindi ka nag-iisa. Reach out to people you love and you'll feel better eventually.

6. Difficult times will pass.

As the Tagalog saying goes, "Ang buhay, parang gulong--minsan nasa itaas, minsan nasa ibaba." This goes to say that nothing in life is permanent, even our hardships. Leon and Angel's love story take us through a rollercoaster of emotions precisely because it highlights how life is full of both the good and the bad.

And although it's so much harder to remember that life is fleeting when you're drowning in sorrow and hardship, it could be just the glimmer of hope you need to survive. You'll see better days, you'll survive this.


7. Never sacrifice your values for a moment of relief or pleasure.

An underlying theme in the film is how some people will always choose the easier way out, even when it's not exactly the right thing to do. "The easy way out" may come in different forms for all of us. To some, it's engaging in illegal activities or get-rich-quick schemes like gambling and smuggling. For some of us, it could come in the form of infidelity or cheating, sacrificing the commitment you've made to someone to alleviate loneliness. To some of us, it could be staying with the wrong person just because it's easier and more comfortable than being alone.

What we've learned from these things time and again is that it's never worth it. Sure, it might seem rewarding in the beginning but these things always come with a hefty price tag. Oftentimes people are left hurt, broken, and worse off than when they started.

8. Nothing is free in this world.

Not to be a killjoy, but the reality is that things that are worth having often require a lot of time, hard work, and energy. Money is hard to earn. A stable job is hard to come by. Love may be easy at first, but it also entails hard work once the reality of life kicks in.

At many points in our lives, we'll come to terms with the fact that nothing is free and without sacrifice, so we need to be wise in determining which endeavors are worth our time.


9. Money isn’t everything

It's easy to say, yet it's another matter entirely when you're struggling to pay your bills and expenses and you just wish you had more money. And yet, the film reminds us that no, more money doesn't always mean fewer problems. I guess it's when we associate money with the idea that it'll solve all of our problems, and thus make us happy, that we fall prey to the endless pursuit of more money.

What "Love or Money" ultimately reminds us of is that there's a delicate balance between trying to live our lives the way we want and trying to take on life's challenges. 


10. Love (also) isn’t everything.

Sorry to burst your bubble hopeless romantics but no, love is (not) all we need! Not to take away from the experience of falling in love, but a lot of fairytales and films made us believe in the idea that love is supposed to come easy, and that it will magically solve all of our problems, much like the false idea that money can make us happier. 

The truth is that finding love can't make you happier if you're not happy by yourself to begin with. Likewise, finding your "one true love" will also entail hard work, commitment, and dedication as you both fight to build a life together.

One of Leon's lines in the film is “Hindi naman magic ang pagmamahal,” and you'll find out why he said that once you've seen the film, but all we can say about it without spoiling is that we agree with Leon. For him, love is about finding someone to share life's ups and downs with, and finding someone you won't mind having difficult times with.

"Love or Money" is available on iWantTFC



Tap into our vibrant and thriving community!