Being Anti filipino

The USA is composed of different nationalities, each with different cultures , languages, and beliefs, however united in a single vision and a sngle dream. There’s an American president (during the period wherein the US saw mass migration from Europe) who said that Europeans who wll set forth on American soil should bare their European skins. This American president is talking about assimilation. This I what makes America a great nation despite the fact that it is made up of so many kind of peoples. 

The Philippines is also made up of various diverse kinds of people, each with its own belief, culture, dialect or language, and history. Yes it does sound very amusing and rather dandy in books and tourism advertising campaigns. However as a nation, it causes serious damage. 

Being a Promdi in Manila is like being a Filipino in another country. You’re either too proud of your province or ashamed of it. I belong to the former. I always say nice things about Zamboanga city (to the point of sometimes exaggerating things). Whenever I am in a situation wherein I am required to introduce myself, I never fail to say that I am from Zamboanga city. I would also amuse them with my bit of knowledge on Spanish and from there on talk about the city’s very Hispanicized culture. 

I am however confused as to whether this is the appropriate attitude. In the process of being a proud Zamboangueno, am I being anti Filipino?

If you take a look at Philippine history, we used to be separate tribes and sultanates , some practicing Islam and some, paganism. I even remember studying about a certain alliance treaty between different governments of that time. When the Spaniards came, much of Luzon and Visayas was conquered but they were never able to reach places like Sulu and maybe Tawi Tawi. That is very evident on the extent to which the culture of the people there has been preserved. Although we could also consider the Spaniards were conquering that area however they were never able to convert them to Christianity which suggests that conquest was superficial and very erratic. 

I remember my teacher in literature telling us that muslims in areas like Jolo (or maybe muslims in general) have a very interesting word for traitors, and that is bisaya. I guess this surfaced from the fact that Bisayans would then probably help the Spaniards in their campaigns (considering the little resistance this people showed at that time). 

Today regionalism is very evident in our society. From reality shows to when buying from a store, you would usually emphasize on which province you came from so as to get many votes from your kababayan or hopefully get a discount. In applying for work, when the interviewer finds out that you are from his/her province, this would automatically be a plus point for you. 

In the USA, you would never hear anyone say that they are proud of being a New Yorker, of being a southerner, or of having French or Irish blood. All of them might have differences but they are always united in their ideals, attitudes, and way of thinking. 

The thing is there was never a general way of thinking for Filipinos. We were never assimilated into one people. Regionalism would always win over nationalism. Why else would some cities and provinces want to cede from the Philippines during the time when people in Manila were threatening another revolution to oust PGMA? 

The only time that we are ever united as a people is during Manny Pacquaio fights. So if only we could find more things to look forward to as a nation, we would have a deeper understanding of our national identity.
When the southern part of the US was not yet very populated, the government encouraged heavy migration to that area citing tremendous potential in mining, oil, and agriculture in that area as means to lure people in. I think one area wherein our founding fathers could have improved in was nation building. If only they  encouraged mass migration of people from Luzon to Mindanao and Visayas, things would have totally been different. For one, Tagalog shall have been more propagated in Visayas and Mindanao and would eliminate any difficulties that people are experiencing on these areas in learning the national language. 

I don’t however think that we already encountered a dead end in this matter. Over the years, I do believe that we have seen a tremendous change in perception regarding our identity. I can say that Filipinos are more Filipino today. If in the past we had our colonial masters (almost) uniting us, today we have boxers, singers, chess and billiards champions, and a strong desire to achieve national greatness. Sure, it’s not the ideal set up, but it’s a step forward nonetheless.

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