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proud to be pinoy
5/30/2006 9:54:11 PM

Are there historical reasons for this lack of national pride? We can say that until the arrival of the Spaniards there was no sense of a unified archipelago constituted as one country. True. We can also say that the high cultures of other nations in the region seemed, unfortunately, to have bypassed the Philippines; there are no Angkors, no Ayuttayas, no Borobudurs. True. Centuries of contact with the high cultures" of the Khmers and the Chinese had, except for the proliferation of Song dynasty pottery found throughout the archipelago, no noticeable effect. True. But all that aside, what was here? To begin with, the ancient rice terraces, now threatened with disintegration, incidentally, was an incredible feat of engineering for so-called "primitive" people. As a matter of fact, when I first saw them in 1984, I was almost as awe-stricken as I was when I first laid eyes on the astonishing Inca city of Machu Picchu, high in the Peruvian Andes. The degree of artistry exhibited by the various tribes of the cordillera of Luzon is testimony to a remarkable culture, second to none in the Southeast Asian region. As for Mindanao, at the other end of the archipelago, an equally high degree of artistry has been manifest for centuries in woodcarving, weaving and metalwork.

However, the most shocking aspect of this lack of national pride, even identity, endemic in the average Filipino, is the appalling ignorance of the history of the archipelago since unified by Spain and named Filipinas. The remarkable stories concerning the Galleon de Manila, the courageous repulsion of Dutch and British invaders from the 16th through the 18th centuries, even the origins of the Independence movement of the late 19th century, are hardly known by the average Filipino in any meaningful way. And thanks to fifty years of American brainwashing, it is few and far between the number of Filipinos who really know - or even care - about the duplicity employed by the Americans and Spaniards to sell out and make meaningless the very independent state that Aguinaldo declared on June 12, 1898. A people without a sense of history is a people doomed to be unaware of their own identity. It is sad to say, but true, that the vast majority of Filipinos fall category. Without a sense of who you are how can you possibly take any pride in who you are?

These are not oversimplifications. On the contrary, these are the root problems of the Philippine inferiority complex referred to above. Until the Filipino takes pride in being Filipino these ills of the soul will never be cured. If what I have written here can help, even in the smallest way, to make the Filipino aware of just who he is, who he was, and who he can be, I will be one happy expat indeed!



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