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Hernan Joseph D.

Delizo 5 December, 2016

2016-00349 Position Paper #1

“The Filipino: Asian, Malayo-Polynesian, or Latino-Hispanic?”

The Filipino race is known for being a mixing pot of culture,

with bits and pieces taken from each country and continent especially

from its fellow Asian neighbors and from its Western colonizers. With

a brief overview of the history of the making of the Philippines, one

could see that it was through foreign involvement that put this

country in a tricky predicament. Whenever countries are colonized,

there’s always one thing that would always be put in danger: the

purity of the colonized country’s initial identity and its true

understanding and workings.1

And the case of the Philippines is an exact example of such a

dilemma. With more than 400 years of being colonized under a Western

power, throughout this period would be countless eradication of its

indigenous culture and rites and language. In a sense, it would be

like dropping a tint of food coloring in a basin of clear water. The

amount of foreign substance, no matter how many, will always be

evident because it taints itself irreversibly in this specific body.

1 Sandra Marker, 'Effects of Colonization' (Effects of Colonization,


2003) <http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/post-colonial>
accessed 3 December 2016.
Take this for example: Filipinos don’t use its original written

language anymore. One of the lasting legacies of the Americans left is

the use of the English language in the Philippines.2 And if one is to

study deeply the native language of the country, namely Filipino, one

would see that the languages adapts numerous words from the Spanish.

For example, the word apelyido, meaning last name, comes from apelido;

gastos, which means expesnses, comes from gasta; labi, which refer to

lips, come from labios, and so many more examples.3 A study of a

country’s language would also thoroughly explain a nation’s culture

because a word comes out of a necessity to explain something that is

referable. To support this, during the Spanish era, various concepts

erupted in everyday Filipino life such as the much-needed siesta;

fiestas, which came from the Spanish word fiesta and pista in

Filipino; and religious folk songs, the result of the musicality

introduced by Spaniards combined with their religious conquests.4,5 All

2 Mike Cabigon, 'State of English In The Philippines: Should We Be


Concerned?' (State of English in the Philippines: Should We Be
Concerned?) <https://www.britishcouncil.ph/teach/state-english-
philippines-should-we-be-concerned-2> accessed 3 December 2016.

3 'Filipino Words Derived from Spanish' (Filipino Words Derived from


Spanish) <https://sites.google.com/site/learnmoretagalog/filipino-
words-derived-from-spanish> accessed 3 December 2016.

4Paul A Rodell, Culture and Customs Of The Philippines (1st edn,


Greenwood Press 2002).

5Elena Rivera Mirano “Hispanized Secular Music.” In Musika: An Essay


on the Spanish Influence on Philippine Music, 24. Manila, NCR:
Cultural Center of the Philippines, 1992.
in all, with more than 300 years of colonization, the Spaniards have

changed the Filipinos so much that in the end, it is pretty accurate

to say that the ethnicity, meaning the culture of the Philippines,

could be referred to as of Latino-Hispanic origin.

However, a nation’s identity doesn’t solely depend on one’s

ethnicity. To truly know what a country is, one should take into

account its race and its development as a race throughout time. With

enough common knowledge about the world, one would know that the

Philippines is located in Asia, the eastern “exotic” part of the

world. Thus, it’s truly undeniable that politically speaking,

Filipinos are Asian. And beyond that political definition of being

part of the countries that constitute the continent named “Asia,” one

could go scientific and deep within the strands of the DNA of

Filipinos and compare them with the nearby Asian neighbors of the

Philippines. One would contest that the DNA of Filipinos aren’t purely

Asian because of the European genomes present in majority of

Filipinos’ DNA, inevitably because of the role of the Philippines in

the development of the world trade with seaports and such, but looking

at the greater percentage of the Filipino genome, Filipinos could

confidently call themselves blood brothers with their Asian brothers.6

6Dr. Michael Purugganan, 'What Is a Filipino? Looking at Our DNA for


The Answers' (What is a Filipino? Looking at our DNA for the answers,
2013)
<http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/292367/scitech/science/what-is-
a-filipino-looking-at-our-dna-for-the-answers> accessed 3 December
2016.
And to understand the development of a country, one cannot do

without understanding the development of a nation’s language. Studying

a language shows the development of technology, culture, and

everything within a certain area and how certain new words seem to pop

up out of necessity.7 In Peter Bellwood’s report on the Austronesian

prehistory in Southeast Asia, there was a deep thorough discussion

about the Austronesian language that has seemed to evolve and make its

way to the Philippines, something that’s known for being a huge part

of what being a Filipino is.8 The development of the Austronesian

language, a sublanguage of the Malayo-Polynesian language family, and

how it trickled from southern China down to Indonesia is evident in

some similarities in the vocabulary of the Philippines with its

neighboring countries, especially with the Malays a little bit further

south. Thus, one could also conclude that in an etymological

perspective, the identity of the Philippines also aligns itself with

Malayo-Polynesian.

7MailOnline, 'Mapping The Migration Of Words: Infographic Reveals The


Roots Of Europe's Languages And How Countries Are Linked To The Wider
World Read More: Http://Www.Dailymail.Co.Uk/Sciencetech/Article-
2507961/Mapping-Migration-Words-Infographic-Reveals-Roots-Europes-
Languages-Countries-Linked-Wider-World.Html' (2013)
<http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2507961/Mapping-
migration-words-Infographic-reveals-roots-Europes-languages-countries-
linked-wider-world.html> accessed 3 December 2016.

8 Peter Bellwood, 'Austronesian Prehistory in Southeast Asia:


Homeland, Expansion and Transformation' (2016).
All in all, in trying to find a certain partiality as to which

the Filipino identity leans the most, this discussion has shown how

the Filipino identity is in fact all these at the same time. A

nation’s identity could be comprised of three things: ethnicity,

political identity, and its race and language. The Filipinos have a

partiality to having a Latino-Hispanic-like culture because of the

great reforms which the Western colonizers have brought about during

their 300-year regime and as seen in old documents and language study

of Austronesian countries, there are strong Malayo-Polynesian tones

present which cannot be dismissed. In the end, with all these Latino-

Hispanic, Malayo-Polynesian, and Asian characteristics combined and

merged into one country in Asia, what makes Filipino truly Filipino is

this great big mix of little things all around the world.
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bellwood P, 'Austronesian Prehistory in Southeast Asia: Homeland,

Expansion and Transformation' (2016)

Cabigon M, 'State of English in The Philippines: Should We Be

Concerned?' (State of English in the Philippines: Should We Be

Concerned?) <https://www.britishcouncil.ph/teach/state-english-

philippines-should-we-be-concerned-2> accessed 3 December 2016

'Filipino Words Derived from Spanish' (Filipino Words Derived from

Spanish) <https://sites.google.com/site/learnmoretagalog/filipino-

words-derived-from-spanish> accessed 3 December 2016

MailOnline, 'Mapping The Migration Of Words: Infographic Reveals The

Roots Of Europe's Languages And How Countries Are Linked To The

Wider World Read More:

Http://Www.Dailymail.Co.Uk/Sciencetech/Article-2507961/Mapping-

Migration-Words-Infographic-Reveals-Roots-Europes-Languages-

Countries-Linked-Wider-World.Html' (2013)

<http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2507961/Mapping-

migration-words-Infographic-reveals-roots-Europes-languages-

countries-linked-wider-world.html> accessed 3 December 2016


Marker S, 'Effects of Colonization' (Effects of Colonization, 2003)

<http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/post-colonial> accessed

3 December 2016

Mirano, Elena Rivera “Hispanized Secular Music.” In Musika: An Essay

on the Spanish Influence on Philippine Music, 24. Manila, NCR:

Cultural Center of the Philippines, 1992.

Purugganan D, 'What Is a Filipino? Looking at Our DNA for The Answers'

(What is a Filipino? Looking at our DNA for the answers, 2013)

<http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/292367/scitech/science/what-

is-a-filipino-looking-at-our-dna-for-the-answers> accessed 3

December 2016

Rodell P, Culture and Customs of The Philippines (1st edn, Greenwood

Press 2002)

Marker, Sandra, 'Effects of Colonization' (Effects of Colonization,

2003) <http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/post-colonial>

accessed 3 December 2016.