What is a Real Filipino?

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The real Filipino anatomy

A Filipino is a mixture of so many cultures. We have been a colony of Spain for almost 400 years. The Americans also ruled us since 1901 upon the capture of Emilio Aguinaldo in Isabela until July 4, 1946 when we were given the independence. We have been observing July 4th as our Independence Day but was later changed to Philippine-American Friendship Day when the late President Diosdado Macapagal reverted the date to June 12, as it was the very first independence that Emilio Aguinaldo self-declared at the terrace of his residence in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898. (link)

The cultural matrix of a Filipino could be seen in his behavior, business, government practice, fashions, and arts. Even before the coming of the Spanish conquerors, we have already been raped by various external influences that were blended to our original Malay culture. These influences were Arabian, Chinese, Indo-Chinese, Hindu-Indonesian, Spanish-Catholic, and American Protestant.

Filipinos are the memorials of the Malays, the Spaniards, the Americans, the Japanese, the Hindus, the Dutch, and the Englishmen rolled into one. A Filipino is a Christian formed by Spain who has a centralized government, the Roman Law, and Latin alphabet. He is also a Chinese who knows mining, metallurgy, gun-powder making, porcelain and pottery production. A Filipino is also an American who drinks beer, plays soccer and all other sports, speaks English, sees Hollywood movies.

But the Filipinos have their inherent cultures which are truly Filipino. Our temperament, lifestyle, and outlooks have already been there centuries ago. Our traditional features on behavior and belief cannot be underrated, such as our strong family ties, kinship relationship resulting through marriage, recognition of the authority of the heads of the family and elders, have already been in existence long before the external influences were impinged upon us.

Today, the Filipino is the Filipino who is himself, a Malay-Indonesia negrito distilled with European and American cultures and races; an individual well-gifted in friendship, understanding, letters, arts and sciences, sports, and pursuit of excellence; a Christian gentleman; an avid lover of democracy; and a personality gradually discovering his identity.

The Filipino is all these and more. More, because he can develop the talents and inherent qualities and he can surpass the legacies of his ancestors and predecessors. But he can never renounce the European and American cultural and racial legacies in him. They are in his flesh and blood. They are a part of his being. To renounce them means to renounce a part of his own identity and personality. The Filipino is Asian but he is also European; the Filipino is Oriental but he can be also Occidental; He cannot be entirely Eastern because he can be also Western.

Today, the Filipino is at the crossroad of trying to define his identity. After the Spanish and American tango, he is trying to integrate his indigenous culture with his Spanish and American cultural inheritance.


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