MANILA, Philippines – What makes you Filipino?
Must you be born and raised in the Philippines or have at least one Filipino parent? Do you need to “look” Filipino?
These questions and many more like them pop up whenever we speak of national identity. And oftentimes the reactions are as varied as the nationalities that make up this great nation.
The issue of race and mix is a timely one.
Filipinos are quick to claim the likes of American Jessica Sanchez who is of Filipino and Mexican descent. Jessica’s mom is Filipino, looks like a typical Filipino but doesn’t speak Filipino. Is she Filipino?
Earlier this year, TV host Arnold Clavio made remarks about the Azkals not being true Filipino because they look more European than Asian. These members of the Philippine Football Team were born and raised abroad, have Filipino mothers and British, Spanish, or German fathers but all don the Philippine colors in international matches. Are they Filipino?
Celebrity Marc Nelson was not born in the Philippines. Neither does he have Filipino parents, but he has called the Philippines his home for the last decade, makes a livelihood here, and has learned to speak Filipino. He has also publicly said he considers himself Filipino. Is he?
Millions of Filipinos have migrated abroad, raising their families overseas. Some have never come back since. Are they and their children Filipino?
Anne Curtis-Smith, one of the most recognizable faces in movies, television, and the most followed Filipino on Twitter is half Australian and doesn’t even have a Filipino last name. Is she Filipino?
A recent Bayo campaign has had netizens discussing percentages. But what really is 100% Filipino? Most Filipinos are by default some part Malay, Japanese, American, British or Spanish because of the hundreds of years that the Philippines remained under foreign rule.
But there is more to being Filipino than what is on the outside. Does being Filipino have more to do with imbibing Philippine culture and traditions? Does it entail knowing how to speak the language? Is being Filipino a state of mind, or is it something that takes place in the heart?
With Independence Day just around the corner, we, at Rappler, want to jumpstart a much-needed conversation on identity. Do you consider yourself Filipino? If so, what makes you Filipino? Tell us on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #PinoyAko or upload a maximum 1-minute video to YouTube, or email us at email@example.com with the subject line Pinoy Ako. – Rappler.com
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