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More “new propagandists” to the Filipino cause!

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It has been a little over a year since I quixotically boasted of a new “Filipino supergroup”, a group of “new propagandists” who will face the leyenda negra that has been twisting the minds of millions of chicharón-munching Filipinos. We had talked and agreed of consolidating our ideas, our advocacy, into one coherent and compact body whose nucleus would be a website with a search-engine-attractive name (yeah, something with the name “Filipina” in it — porn surfers beware!). But, as mentioned, it has been over a year…

So where’s the multi-zillion-euro website that I’ve been tellin’ everyone?

Due to time constraints, lack of technical know-how, personal matters, paella fever, and finances (contrary to popular belief, we’re not made of money), this cute little project of ours kept on stalling like MRT coaches. But the dream hanged in there, like a trapo politician.

Then suddenly, one very cold December morning, I bumped into a rocker dude (through a mutual friend who’s actually the niece of a living legend in Filhispanic literature), and he’s into designing and developing webs! The rocker dude is Santos “Tuts” Trangía. His cool-soundin’ last name, aside from complementing his cool attitude and friendliness, reminds me of Old Manila’s Frisco-like tranvías (makes me wanna wish that my last name’s República). He’s an axeman for the indie rock band At Helen’s Wake, whose first EP will be out soon. And whoever Helen is, I have no idea; I’ll ask Tuts when I get the chance. So at gunpoint, I was able to make him agree to help us out with this website once and for all. We hope to begin this weekend.

Another good news: I finally found someone! And man, that did knock me off my clammy feet! And that someone is someone who is feared by many WASP-educated “nationalist kunô” UP historians et al. who shamelessly worship images of Zeus Salazar inside their respective toilets. Without further adieu, this someone is none other than controversial historian, the great Pío Andrade, Jr., “the Scourge of Carlos P. Rómulo”, the número uno investigative historian, the next big thing in Philippine historiography! Yes, sir Pío has promised yours truly a few days ago to deliver the goods once our website is up and running (hopefully on or before this summer).

Still more good tidings! Tourism expert —and our group’s dearest online friend from dear old Spain— Juan Luis García (not related to fellow propagandist José Miguel García, a full-blooded Filipino guerrero) is now part of our “online clique”, le guste o no le guste, ¡jajaja!. Juanlu has been very supportive of our group and our advocacy since day one. Also, he has a couple of tourism projects in mind for our country (this he discussed personally with José Miguel when he visited the country last year) — and all this being thought of by a Spaniard, for crying out loud! So what better way to gift him than with a “free membership” into our group? And this free membership comes with a freebie as soon as he comes back to the Philippines for a visit: a Regular Yum with Cheese value meal from Jollibee courtesy of Arnaldo!

Coincidentally, today marks the first year anniversary of Juanlu’s pro-Filipino blog, VIAJAR EN FILIPINAS! Congratulations are in order!

We still await for Chile-based writer/historian Elizabeth “Isabel de Ilocos” Medina‘s response. She’s a distant relative of both Arnaldo and Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera. Also, another heavyweight scholar will join us. But that’s for another blogpost, folks!

Fun days are expected — on our part, that is.

WASPos, anti Filipinos, “Abakada” Pinoys, and all the others who like to go back worshipping trees and scribblin’ on tree barks… your happy days are numbered.

Because THE TRUTH is on our side.

Y todo esto es para el gran honor de Dios, el fuente de nuestra identidad verdadera.

Tía Isabel’s response to a hispanophobic “Asian”

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Arnaldo’s blogpost about my dad’s hometown received all sorts of commentaries. There was one comment that I just could not ignore: one coming from someone with a Japanese-sounding name. Actually, it’s not really his anti-Filipino/hispanophobic comment that made me stop and read: it’s the response that he got from Chile-based Filipina scholar, Elizabeth “Tía Isabel de Ilocos” Medina (also a distant relative of Arnaldo and a very good friend of our mentor, Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera).

The bone of contention? That Filipino culture is Asian. Is it? Read below to find out.

Dear Rijuku,

“Asian” is a misnomer, first of all. It’s a label invented by the West, based on geographical location and racial groupings. But the Japanese don’t consider themselves Asian. They are Japanese, period. And they consider themselves superior to the rest of the “Asians”. They consider that only the Germans follow them in superiority.

Human beings are social and historical beings. We are not racial beings. Race is just color of skin. It says nothing about the spirit and worldview. You see lots of Eastern Europeans with slanted eyes but they don’t consider themselves Chinese, Korean, Japanese or Eskimos or Mongols or Tibetans. The Indians of India are Aryans by race but they don’t consider themselves Germans or Europeans.

Filipinos are not the same as Indonesians, Koreans, Thais, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Indians, Malayans, Japanese, Singaporeans, even if we are all classified as “Asians”. We are all very different. Now, in terms of religion, a lot of these so-called Asians share religious practices like Buddhism and varieties of ancestor worship like Shintoism and others practice Islam which arrived in the “Asian” countries through the Arabian Peninsula and so forth.

The archipielago of St. Lazarus, as Magellan called our archipelago, was slowly being converted to Islam but the Spanish defeated the Muslim rulers of Maynilad and spread Catholicism to the Visayans and Luzonianos from the 16th to the 19th centuries, as well as in Mindanáo in the cities where they established colonial rule or in the outposts where they maintained forts.

Because of our Christianization, which was much more widespread than in China or Japan or in the neighboring countries colonized by the Dutch and the British, we developed a culture that was a mix of indigenous monotheism/ancestor worship/animism and Christianity — much like the mix that developed in all of the Spanish colonies of Mexico, Central and South America. So because of this, we Filipinos are much more similar in culture and belief system to the Hispanic American nations, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, than to our “Asian” neighbors. But even the Thais are very different from the Malayans and the Indonesians and the Vietnamese and the Cambodians and the Indians. You can’t put them in the same bag and just call them Asians.

It’s the Filipinos who have accepted this label because we became a North American colony, and our Hispanic Filipino culture and memory were destroyed.

We accepted that label “Southeast Asian” because we became totally subjugated by the U.S. Turned into psychological vassals. And we accepted the new self-image the U.S. imposed on us as The Little Brown Brother.

Are the Indonesians, the Indians, the Thais, the Malaysians the “Little Brown Brothers” of the U.S.? If as you say there is no difference between us “Asians” — realize how racist you are being, how dismissive of our uniqueness — then they should also consider themselves as such. But they don’t. They don’t consider themselves copies of each other. And they don’t read their history books in English like we do.

I won’t convince you of anything, but consider this: 100 years ago, your great-grandparents hated the idea of the Americans making the Philippines their colony. They did not want to stop reading, speaking and studying or teaching Spanish, to study, read, speak and write in ONLY in English.

But since you were born when — in the 1980s? — and there are no writings in your family of the rejection that your forefathers felt for all things American, and you were born in a Philippines that was already TOTALLY re-engineered to be a bad copy of the U.S., then you believe that you are merely “Asian”. That Filipinos are “Asians”. It means, basically, that Filipinos are nothing. Because what is “Asian”? It’s just a sociological term coined in U.S. universities, probably after 1900.

Regards,
Tia Isabel

P.S. A quote from my unpublished ms., Thru the Lens of Latin America: A Wide-Angle View of Philippine Colonial History:

Once implanted, a first colonizer culture, already fused or syncretized with the original local one (i.e., Spanish culture), will resist the advent of a subsequent colonizer culture (U.S. culture). However, with the passage of time, the new generations — who did not experience the moment of cultural transition and its accompanying resistance to a new transculturation (in other words, the [Hispanic Filipino] people’s resistance to adopting a new transplanted dominant [U.S.] culture, due to the inertia of the preceding cultural process) — will have no awareness that such a phenomenon ever occurred. They’ll simply assume that what is now there has always been there (North Americanized Filipino culture), and has always been universally embraced. The younger generations will accept the (North Americanized Filipino) culture they were born into, notwithstanding their parents’ or grandparents’ having once perceived it as invasive and alien, and perhaps even having sworn to resist assimilating it at all costs.

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