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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.

May God forgive the “Fish King” of Mactán

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Carlos Calao (whose relatives today now spell their last name as Kalaw) was a Chinese Mestizo from Binondo. He published the below Spanish poem in 1614. It’s fortunate that I still found a copy of it. The poem was written in praise of Fernando Magallanes (Ferdinand Magellan in English) for having brought the Christian religion to these islands. Cali Pulaco, popularly and erroneously known as Lapu-lapu, was pictured as the real villain (“por orden de Satán“) in that legendary battle.

Actually, Magallanes was hailed by Filipinos as a hero for centuries, even after Spain had left the Philippines. A monument was even erected in Mactán island in his honor. But when our country was invaded and colonized by the US WASPs, they imposed upon us many questionable “heroes”, among them Cali Pulaco/Lapu-lapu, systematically brainwashing the Filipino mind to hate their Spanish past, killing the Filipino identity in the process.

For good or bad, Magallanes et al. brought to these heathen islands the concept of Christianity. So we better salute and thank him for introducing to us the Christmas season which is just around the corner. =)

To read the full and real story behind the battle of Mactán, click here. I wrote that indignant article more than three years ago for JB Lazarte‘s techno-humor blog SKIRMISHER (a history blogpost published in a techie blog — ang layo, ¿no?).

Without further adieu, here is Carlos Calao: poet, Filipino…

A monument of Magallanes in Punta Arenas, Chile. Although Magellan has a couple of monuments here in our country (with some places named after him), he is still looked upon with scorn for having "invaded the Philippines". A classic case of historical stupidity among Filipinos today.

Carlos Calao

Que Dios le perdone al salvaje,
Al pagano de Mactán
Que no entendió la palabra
De Dios en el Capitán
Magallanes, a quién muerte
Dió por orden de Satán,
El enemigo de Cristo,
El ponsoñoso alacrán.

A dos cientos cobardes
Cali Pulaco mandó
Que se le tire arena
En los ojos a traición
Y que con pedradas y palos
Se le cayera el toisón:
¡Un hombre contra dos cientos
Salvajes sin corazón!

El Capitán Magallanes
Los invitó a servir
Al verdadero Dios servir nuestro;
Mas, aquel régulo vil
Llamado Cali Pulaco
No quiso ver ni sentir
La dádiva de la Fe
Y nos lo hizo morir.

Mas, no fue en vano la muerte
Del noble Conquistador.
El Niño Jesús que se entrona
En Cebú es hoy la flor
Que a su martirio perfuma.
Nadie recuerda al traidor
Que a Magallanes dió muerte.
Tal vez, otro vil traidor.

I dare say that the true hero of Mactán was not your vile Fish King. For having resisted Christianity and a possible early Filipinization, he unwittingly became the enemy of Christ, the poisonous scorpion.

To Magallanes: a respectful salute and boundless admiration!


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