This is where colonial mentality and xenocentrism enter the game. Colonial Mentality and Xenocentrism boil down to us thinking that other cultures are better than our own. It’s shocking really that we are able to do this to ourselves. Have these countries exploited us to the point of thinking that we are inferior to them? Why have we given these countries every reason to think that they are superior to us? Legally, we may be called a free nation but in the hearts of the Filipino people, we still consider ourselves a colony; we are still prisoners of colonial mentality or xenocentrism.
Questions abound. Why do we allow ourselves to think that way? Why do we aspire to be like these people instead of being proud of our own culture, our own race? Why can’t we be truly Pinoy? These are the questions that boggle our minds when it comes to this topic. But I would like to believe that we are asking ourselves and everyone around us the wrong questions. The real question we should be asking ourselves is this: Who are the Filipino people? This is the fundamental question of the whole mess of our country’s xenocetrism. We have been a slave of colonialism for so long that we have lost our own original identity. Whatever culture we consider our own has already been branded with the word “imported” and yet we don’t even realize it. Sure, we have a few ethnic tribes left and the initial muslim culture has been part of our nation since the beginning but the majority of the nation is a mix of all other ethnicities. Our language itself is a mess of English, Spanish, and the Philippine Dialects. The religion most Filipinos practice stems from its Spanish roots. Our jeeps originated from old American army vehicles. The national food that we eat today always has a hint of either Spanish or Chinese in them. In short, the whole country is one big halo-halo. It’s a mix of everything. We are one hell of a mess and I think this is what answers the question who are the Filipino people.
We are the NEW Filipino, a breed of people who have learned how to flexibly adapt to the changes society challenges us with, and we continuously do so everyday. The people may not be original but at the end of the day, there is very little in this world that is original to begin with. In fact, we must admire our country for being able to survive because of our own adaptation. The only problem I gleam with this is exactly what we choose to admire from other countries and adapt into our culture. We must choose wisely as to what is relevant for our country’s success. For example, our admiration for the white skin complexion. This is what I find rather ironic really. A lot of Filipinos dream of having the westerner's white complexion while they themselves want to have our own tan skin. Skin color is one thing we should be able to live with without having to fuss over it. We were born with our own skin color for a reason, so be thankful and take care of what the universe decided to give to you. Other cultures also have flaws in them, they’re not perfect. This is why we must create our OWN identity instead of just being a total copycat. We must strive to create the right mix of good and bad for our nation. At the end of the day being born with the Filipino blood is an important thing, but more importantly, we are the people who are resilient even after everything life decides to throw at us. That is why we should not think anyone is superior to us. Being Filipino is something to be greatly proud of however young we are as an independent nation.
- Danielle Bernabe
illustration by Anna Marcelo