Thursday, May 24, 2012

Filipino Pride!

It's normal to feel proud of one's cultural background. While there are some who choose to identify themselves with who they are not - i.e. the rich kid from the 'burbs' who pretends like he's gangster (but really... he's just awkward), or that person who claims that their Great Great Great aunt was Sacajawea, thus they are Indian and, by default, know everything about Indians - most human beings have a sense of pride for their nationality and culture.

Filipinos are no different.

In fact, you might even say that Filipinos have a lot of Filipino Pride. I mean, a lot. Maybe even a lot more than usual.

Whatever do you mean? you might ask.

Here are some examples:

Clothing 

I actually saw someone wear this at church.  Seriously, nothing screams fresh off the boat more than this track jacket. 


and the hats




 and the wave of Manny Pacquiao attire that everyone wears because.. well... Manny is Filipino. 




I like how this kid is not Filipino, but he still has Pacman pride

That is just a small fraction of Filipino pride-wear that is out there as there are a lot more out there representing the national colors in all it's glory.While people are free to wear whatever they want and be as boastfully patriotic as they want to be, my personal opinion is:

a I don't think wearing a country's flag is an up incoming fashion trend, unless it's a independence holiday or the Olympics 

 and

 b. Manny Pacquiao is not very attractive. Why would you wear him on  your body? 

On top of having pride for those who are full-bred Filipino, Filipinos tend to claim anyone who has even only an ounce of Filipino ancestry. Even those who are only 2% Pnoy, but look like Canadian-  are classified as Filipino by Filipinos.

For instance,



Okay maybe not Canadian, but apparently his great grandmother was Filipina. 

Google it and look at all the stories that are out there with headlines about his Filipino-ness

 Filipino drafted to NBA. Filipino wins Slam dunk competition! Nate Robinson eligible to play in Philippine National Team. 

To that I say: 

 That's rediculous. He's 1/8th Filipino! 1/8th doesn't really count. He probably doesn't even eat Filipino food! Well maybe he does, but probably not any of the weird questionable food.

Nate Robinson is just one of many celebrities Filipinos will claim as their own. If you look on youtube.com, there are videos dedicated to famous Filipinos that have somehow made it in the world (see below) 
Cheryl Burke, Vanessa Hudgens, Ernie Reyes, ( and some other people who you're like, Who the hell are they? so then you have to google them) all of their pictures run through a slideshow while a cheesy song plays in the background. 



I know, someone actually took the time to make youtube videos on this. Undoubtedly, more youtube videos will be made on this all-important subject. Maybe even one that will include the American Idol 2012 finalist 
Jessica Sanchez 

Oh American Idol...

My interest in the talent show has waned during the past year, however I did watch a couple of episodes to specifically see Jessica sing. I had read so many facebook updates raving her performance, was asked by a few of my Filipino coworkers - Did you see Jessica sing last night ?

Me: Who's Jessica?
CW: She's Filipino
Me ::confused:: okay

I had to google and youtube her to know what they were talking about. Honestly, I was hesitant to even do so just because I didn't want to fall into that bandwagon.. It is often the case that Filipinos will cheer on an individual like Jessica Sanchez just because she is Filipino, not necessarily because of their talent. They will vote and vote and vote as many times as it is possible to support their favorite countrymen. 

Even people in the Philippines were crazy about her and taking unauthorized days off from school and work to watch live tapings of the shows, which is crazy since a. the Filipinos are poor. and b. it probably costs a lot of money to stream that kind of stuff live. 

After her American Idol loss the other day, one news article quoted the Philippines (as a country) being heartbroken over her American Idol loss. 

Really? Heartbreaken? That's a very strong word... but okay.

But do not be too heartbroken my Filipinos, it is likely that even if she does not make it as a star in the states, she will become a mega-star artista in the Philippines, modeling for Filipino clothing companies and hosting game shows like Game Ka Na ba? (Game NA!)

Anyways, so you get my point about Filipinos having a lot of pride. There's a lot of it. 

To some extent I feel it might be a little much. I mean, it's great that people are proud of their ancestral heritage; people should be allowed to be proud,  but I don't necessarily agree with being completely defined by it. Boisterously labeling oneself as belonging to a group that other's aren't can create divisional lines of "you" versus "us.  This ultimately defeats any sense of unity that is often lacking in our society. How many times have we seen in American / World History the struggle for equality? Yet, in the event that equality is "achieved", there still is this struggle for empowerment over others, this need for people to differentiate themselves in some way or another when it's like.. why can't we just exist without any these racial lines? 

To another end, I do understand why Filipinos are a  proud people. We have had a History of being overtaken and oppressed by conquistadors, occupied by Japanese soldiers during WWII, our Filipino tribal history erased, and currently almost everyone in the country is in a state of poverty.  Filipinos need to feel proud about something, there is the need to have a hope in something other than the crappy situation that is being lived, there is a need to feel that the struggle endured for hundreds of years somehow wasn't in vain and that there is a place in a world for the Filipino who can offer something relevant and amazing enough for someone to be like.. wow, being a Filipino must be awesome. 

and it is awesome being Filipino. There are a lot of great things about the culture and the people that I love and I identify that as part of who I am as an American. Anyways, i kind of went off the intense deep conversational end here so I'll leave it with a light hearted note:

While I identify myself with the Filipino culture, Filipino never believe that I am Filipino because of the fact that I don't look like the traditional Filipino pnay: I am light skinned, have freckles, and my eyes are chinkier than normal. 

are you viet? No? chinese no? what are you ? Pilipino ? Ooohhh!!!

They are usually pretty excited when they make the discovery that I am one of them and am able to say a few select words like "hello" and "I'm hungry" in the native tongue. But it always disappoints me that they don't get that I'm Filipino to begin with. I don't know why, but it does. I feel like it's kind of like not recognizing your own child. O-well. They may deny me initially, but i will never deny them.

2 comments:

  1. Huh... I never thought anyone else noticed this. As a Filipino, I kinda cringe sometimes with the way the press would go all out in claiming someone as Filipino. You can add Lou Diamond Phillips and Rob Schneider to the list.

    Sure, pride is one thing, but heck. I'm gonna take a lot of flak for this, but sometimes I think as a people, we're kinda insecure and we tend to claim someone elses's sucess as our own just because of blood, no matter how thin it may be.

    With how most people find themselves in dire straits, people get what comfort they can. Instead of going out of their way to improve in some way.

    Oftentimes I just wish Filipinos would take pride in how hard most of us work, and be proud of our own accomplishments, instead of trying to piggyback on someone else's fame.

    Sorry for the griping.

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  2. Lol. Thanks for the input :-)

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