by Niña Isabel S. Cabañero
To define the identity of a group of people is to define its origin, culture, language, religion and other characteristics that distinguish it from other groups. A typical Filipino is usually described by outsiders as dark skinned, flat nosed, short people from Philippines who speak either in Tagalog or Taglish, and is a Christian. Other descriptions of Filipinos are rice-lovers, hardworking, family-oriented, and nowadays, a domestic helper.
The Philippines may be described as a nation in search of its identity. Because of the long preoccupation of the colonizers, the Philippines have become so westernized that it has lost its own identity. Philippine identity has long been an issue among anthropologists and other nations because of the many resemblance and similarities of its culture to other cultures, like those of Spanish, American, and neighboring Asian cultures. Philippine culture, being a melting pot of many cultures makes it difficult for the Filipinos to assert their own identity. Three hundred years of Spanish occupation in the Philippines influenced a lot in the culture resulting to Philippine music, visual styles, dishes, vocabulary and social customs being considered “unoriginal” by the outsiders. And because Filipinos are not really English speaking people, they become anxious about their identity when faced with foreigners. Also, when Filipinos are being exposed to the world through media, the image being portrayed by the foreigner is of being tribal or being associated to “tribalism”. This resulted to the Filipinos not having pride for their own culture and thus denying their own identity.
The uneasiness experienced by Filipinos when reflecting to their Hispanic heritage is because of the way the Filipinos themselves and the outsiders read its history and culture. Major symbols in the Philippines are a fusion of both the native and the Spanish. It becomes difficult for Filipinos...