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The Indio is the enemy of the Filipino

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© Rasta Livewire

“Spanish friars mercilessly flogged Filipinos.”

This modern concept of the Indio being flogged by a Spanish friar under the hot tropical sun is what keeps the motor of hispanophobia running. There is no more need to expound what an indio means; simply put, indio is a Spanish word for “native”. The so-called “insulares” or Spaniards who were born in Filipinas were the first Filipinos. Through time, however, hispanization further blurred this. Indios/natives who were Christianized, who started learning and talking in Spanish, and who imbibed the culture from the West began referring to themselves not as indios but Filipinos as well. And this posed not a problem to the insular. As a matter of fact, the insular never considered themselves as “Spaniards” in the strictest sense of the word. They, as well as the Hispanized indios, simply referred to themselves as FILIPINOS. Filipinas is where they were born and where they grew up (patria chica).

To continue, those indios —whether they belonged to the Tagálog race, Ilocano race, Bicolano race, etc.— who were Hispanized in effect lost their “indio” identity (but not completely, of course) when they assimilated themselves to an influx of cultural dissemination coming from the West. There is nothing wrong with this. During those days, it was perfectly normal, as the influx of a foreign culture had no hint of any personal profit and even promoted cultural osmosis in the local scene (contrary to popular belief, Spain NEVER became rich when they founded and colonized our archipelago).

Anyway, because of cultural dissemination, the Hispanized Tagálog ceased to become Tagálog: he became Filipino. The Hispanized Ilocano ceased to become Ilocano: he became Filipino. The Hispanized Bicolano ceased to become Bicolano: he became Filipino. In other words, the term Filipino is not a race but a concept (there is no such thing as a Filipino race because our country is composed of several races). But this concept put a premium over our collective identities, giving us a patriotic “swagger” to refer to ourselves under one homogeneous identity: EL FILIPINO.

To Hispanize, therefore, is to Filipinize. And to put it more bluntly, our “Spanishness” is what makes us Filipino, not our “indio” identity (which is merely a substrate). If we take away our indio identity in us, our Hispanic identity will still continue to flourish. But if we take away our Spanishness, we will go back to becoming savages, and go back to the mountains as “cimarrones“.

Take for example Cali Pulaco, popularly known today as “Lapu-lapu”. This fellow, an indio ruler from Mactán, virtually resisted change. His neighbor, Rajáh Humabon, did not. Humabon accepted change, was baptized into the Christian faith, and received a Christian name: Carlos (named after then Spanish King Carlos I). Remember that culture is not static, should never be static. His men accepted the Santo Niño (and the icon’s culture) as part of their own. Those who were baptized with him died as Christians; Lapu-lapu and his people died as heathens.

And even up to now, Cebuanos celebrate the feast of the Santo Niño with frenzied fervor. Because the Santo Niño has become part of them as Cebuanos, and part of us as Filipinos.

During the Spanish times, there were many other ethnic groups who resisted change — the Ifugáos up north, the Aetas of the mountains, the Mañguianes of Mindoro, the Muslims of the south, etc. And because they resisted change, they missed the opportunity to become “one of us”. Technically, they are not Filipinos. They are only Filipinos by citizenship. But in a socio- and historico-cultural sense, they are not. And look at them now: no disrespect, but they look pathetic and backward because they resisted change. The mountain tribes of the Cordilleras still wage against one another. The Aetas continue to be forest dwellers. The Muslims still raid and kidnap Christians for a ransom and to have their turfs seceded from Filipinas. Etc etc etc. Because, then as now, their culture remains static. They still remain as INDIO as ever before.

Let us accept the fact that our Spanish past is what made us Filipinos in the first place. it is this identity which removed us from the backwardness of a static culture that refused to accept change. Let us accept that we are Filipinos because we are Christians (Catholic), we use cubiertos whenever we eat, we STILL SPEAK Spanish (uno, dos, tres, lunes, martes, miércoles, enero, febrero, marzo, silla, mesa, ventana, polo, pantalón, camisa, etc etc etc.), we eat adobo and pochero, we have Spanish names, we practice and value “amor propio“, “delicadeza“, “palabra de honor“, our town fiestas are the most festive and lavish in the whole world, we enjoy the “tiangues” of Divisoria, etc.

No soy indio. Porque soy filipino.

Originally published here, with slight edits. Special thanks to Arnaldo Arnáiz for the title which was actually a catchy notion that he conceptualized when we were still office mates a few years back.
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6 responses »

  1. Muy bien explicado Don Pepe. Por otro lado, el MORO, no es INDIO. Es extranjero que viene “de visita” (dumadayo) de Malasia….

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  2. There are Pinoys who prefer to associate themselves with Nusantara and the Majapahit/Srivijaya Empires because we are supposed to be a part of a larger community, together with Indonesia and Malaysia. For them, the Pre-Hispanic Era is supposed to be an era of peace and wealth, tarnished by the arrival of the Europeans.

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  3. Pingback: Updating “The History of The Filipino People” | g21site

  4. I find it comical that you view the natives of the “mountains” as people who still “wage war against one another”. All you have do to is look at crime statistics, especially political violence. During elections, political crimes are higher in the “civilized lowlands” than the “uncivilized highlands”. Benguet, in fact, consistently has near zero political violence. Political violence, unfortunately, plagues many “civilized areas” in the Philippines.

    Again, who now is at war with each other? It is no secret that clan/family wars plague the political elite in the Philippines.

    To add to that, 60% of SAF are natives of the Cordilleras (who make up only 1% of the country’s population) and make a significant portion of the elite military. So yeah, those “warmongering” Igorots are the ones keeping you and your family safe from domestic and international terrorists. As a matter of fact they, the bore the brunt of the “mishandling” on Mamasapano by the “civilized people of the lowlands”. One third of those who died were Igorots. But do you see them exacting revenge against the “civilized president” and “civilized PNP chiefs” who botchered the operations?

    Not to mention, outside Manila, Benguet has the highest human development index, and has been for more than 10 years now.

    The Muslims on the other hand, was destablized by the “civilized people in lowland Luzon”. Before the Jabidah and the vain attemped in taking Sabah by force, Sulu was enjoying a higher human development index than Pampanga and Bataan.

    You do seem to have strong prejudice against people who do not share the same culture as you, that you view them as inferiors and continue to propagate false information about “the other”.

    By that, you are no different from Donald Trump.

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  5. Mr Escibbles,

    I can’t pinpoint if your almost hatred for “unhispanized” natives of the archipelago are out of ignorance or arrogance. Have you read on the Spanish accounts on the military attacks around the 1860s in the present day Cordilleras? Or the military occupation of Benguet and Mountain Province? Have you heard of Eduardo Masferre – son of a Sagada woman and a Catalan (as in a peninsular – Jaime Masferre) soldier? Eduardo Masferre even lived in Barcelona for several years. He is one of the most prominent figures in Philippine photography.

    By the way, not all natives of the Cordilleras are “Ifugao”. The Ifugao people are specific to the Ifugao province. The encompassing term to refer to the people of the Cordilleras are Igorots and there are different ethnic groups – Ibalois, Kankanaeys, Ikhalan, Tingguian, Bontocs, Kalinga groups, Itneg, etc….

    I have a friend, who is Muslim Maranao and you know what, she does not hate the Spaniards or hispanized natives of the archipelago. In fact, when she visited Intramuros, she actually appreciated it. It seems that your ill feelings towards the “nonhispanized” natives of the archipelago stems from the mistaken notion of what the leftist populist say applies to the “common people” from these ethnic groups (yes, ethnic groups, not race. Anthropologists long abandoned the notion of race). So, is she an enemy of you, a Filipino? Are the Igorots in the SAF and Scout Rangers an enemy of yours because they are not “hispanized”?

    I am 3/4 Pangasinense and 1/4 Ibaloi, so is 1/4 of me your enemy? Should I be ashamed of my Ibaloi heritage because according to your reasoning, my ancestors are supposedly “backwards”?

    Should my Maranaw friend be ashamed because of being “unhispanized”? Even if she is a successful doctor who helps indigent people regardless if their are Muslims or not?

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