“My hair is dark so as my eyes, my skin is tanned, and my nose is misshaped.
I live in the Philippines; therefore, I am a Filipino.”
-A typical conception of being a Filipino
For about four decades of being a colonized island, the Philippines’ nationality, up until this day, is hardly defined. Our culture, traditions, and even our language are greatly influenced by our invaders. But I do believe that by understanding our roots we can understand more about who we really are. This paper aims to review the different documents that, in one way or another, gives rise to the concept of the colonial Filipino practices and traditions that will later be our identity; and provides us mental picture of the colonial structure of the Philippine society and how the “Indio Filipinos” uses arts, intellect and leadership skills as the threshold for transformation: from servitude to independency.
In the second chapter of Twenty Years in The Philippines (1854), the accounts of a French Doctor Gironiere (1854), provided mental picture of Manila and its two divisions: the suburb mercantile; and the military that is bounded by the sea on one side and upon another by extensive plain where the troops are being trained. It was then supported by a British Major G. J. Younghusband (1899) as he remarks the centuries in which Spain gradually strengthen her hold the islands. He states that the Spaniards colonization of the Island that been disturbed by Britain and by the 1762 it successfully descent on Manila City with the strength of 1,670 men under the command of Colonel Draper. However, in the year 1763, the authority on the city has been laid back to the hands of the Spaniards. This one event shows that The Philippine Island-and its waters really captivates the eyes of the powerful states, the reason why the Spaniards strengthen military forces and bound them by the sea coast.
In the year of British expedition in the Philippines, Younghusband, as he gets along with the natives, also remarks the centuries of Spaniard colonization: Spanish oppression, Spanish cruelty, and Spanish atrocity makes the native Philippine as an unquestionable downtrodden and ultra-subservient race. Which, I think is true. Up until this day, our country has been known as producers of foreign servants. It is evident to the increasing numbers of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW). As we can all notice it became a native Filipino mentality to think of working for another country, given the conception that foreign states are always superior to us, as a goal to live by. However, as Younghusband compares the native Filipino servant to their British dependencies, his remarks about the mistreatment to the Filipino servants that every working hours are forced or otherwise threat-driven, makes me feel uncomfortable.