Zamboanga City : Asia's Latin City?

When Zamboanga City was named Asia's latin city, a lot of people reacted to it. Some negatively and some positively. The primary aim of this new title is to drive in tourism. Some people said that it would be a rip-off. But Zamboanga city looks Latin as any city in Latin America does. In fact most cities in the Philippines can be branded as a Latin city. The British historian Arnold J. Toynbee went even as far as saying that "the Philippines is a Latin American country that was transported to the Orient by a gigantic marine wave". Zamboanga City having Chabacano (the only Spanish creole in Asia) as its language makes it even more deserving of the title.

The term Latin or Latino is used to refer to anything or anyone that comes from Latin America. It is also used to describe something that has an affinity for Latin America.

The term, Hispanic, meanwhile refers to anything with an affinity to Spain. Remember that Hispania and Espania mean the same thing: Spain.

Latin America is the collective term for all countries in the Americas where Romance languages (i.e. languages derived from Latin, and hence the name of Latin America) are spoken: Spanish, Portuguese, French, and their creoles.

Different words mean different things to different people. In Anglo-America, these terms have various meanings. However, those meanings do not apply to the people outside of Anglo-America.

I remember a radio announcer saying that the more accurate title is 'Asia's Hispanic city' and not 'Asia's Latin City'. However, let us not forget that from 1565 to 1821 or 256 years, the Viceroy of Mexico directly governed the Philippines from Mexico City. In fact, most Spaniards who migrated to the Philippines came from Mexico and not Spain. Migrating from Spain to the Philippines would not have been practical because travel would have taken a long time. The Suez canal that cut travel time opened in 1869, only a couple of years before Spain sold the Philippines to the USA. For this, both Hispanic and Latin are correct. I am talking from a historical standpoint though and not political.

In an article, Abu Anis , a spokesman of an organization in Zamboanga City and Basilan province, said Resolution No.760 which branded Zamboanga City as "Latin City" has no justification culturally and historically. He went on to say that Zamboanga City was never part of the Philippine territories. But how can one say that Zamboanga City was never part of the Philippine territories when the Spanish Fort of Pilar was built to protect the city from pirates. This obviously means that Zamboanga was part of the Philippine territories.

Mr. Anis even accused (Mayor) Lobregat of acting arrogantly for never consulting the historians and intellectuals, adding that he is acting in sheer “ignorance” or “pride” as half-baked descendants of the Spaniards. This prejudice and hatred against the Spanish people are exhibited by most ignorant Filipinos. It is most commonly an emotion planted in Filipinos by movies like 'Rizal' which depict Spaniards as arrogant, stiff, and cruel, and by history books which have nothing but bad words for the Spaniards.

He even said that: to foreigners Latin is not in Latin American countries but in Rome where the spoken language was once Latin, although Latin is now a dead language. Visitors are sometimes frustrated when they cannot find Romans but Badjaos and Samals, who are begging from these newcomers or urging them throw coins into the sea. What a statement! It makes my heart ache to see such under-researched statements.

A corrupt Spanish, that is what Anis calls Chabacano. This is totally an erroneous statement. For one, Chabacano is not Spanish. It is a well known fact that Chabacano is a Spanish creole.

A very good example of proof that Zamboanga City and even the Philippines qualifies as '"Latin" is the fact that this country belongs to the Latin Union. The Latin Union is an organization of all countries which speaks a language derived from Latin such as French and Spanish (Romance languages). The Philippines, even though not having Spanish as an official language, enjoys membership in this union because of its cultural affinity to Spain.

It is a fact that when you are in America, the Filipino would typically be mistaken as a Latino. It is a fact that you would feel more comfortable around Latinos than any other kinds of peoples. It is a fact that the Spanish which we spoke in the Philippines years before was Mexican Spanish. It is a fact that there are words in our language which come from Nahuatl (a group of related languages and dialects of the Aztecan branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family which is indigenous to Mesoamerica (e.g. tatay (tatle), nanay (nantl), abokado (avocado), bayabas [from guayaba(s)]). Zamboanga is qualified to be called as Asia's Latin City. However preposterous it might sound to the typical ignorant Filipino, it is the truth. origin (e.g. tatay (tatle), nanay (nantl), abokado (avocado), bayabas [from guayaba(s)])Zamboanga is qualified to be called as Asia's Latin City. However preposterous it might sound to the typical ignorant Filipino, it is the truth.

Zamboanga: Asia's Latin City? Definitely!

Update! This article got featured in the Filipino Cultured blog (Filipino Treasures section). Thanks to Ric for the added exposure. Here's an excerpt on what he has to say about my article:
This is a great article about Zamboanga and the Spanish creole written by my friend Jerome, who I completely agree with.
The complete article that Ric wrote can be found here.