Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Take on Filipino Identity

Angono Petroglyph
Image from Laz'andre
I am a true-blooded Filipino. My mother hails from Aklan and my father is from Bulacan. I have lived all my life here in the Philippines, and my feet had never touched foreign ground. I eat adobo, bagoong, nilaga, sinigang, bulalo, and all Filipino food you can think of except Durian (to the guys who like Durian, I did try but this is the part where I believe in "acquired tastes"). I believe in the Filipino Spirit, the pride of being Pinoy, the fierceness of our race and the beauty of our women. Yet, a question remains in my head. What is the identity of the Filipino?

The Angono Petroglyphs tell us people have been living in our country for at least 5,000 years. That means as a race, we can claim we're not that young, although not that advanced as the old civilizations of the planet. There's a huge gap in our history and our scientists are continually researching to uncover how our ancestors were for 4 and a half milleniums ago, but only so much can be uncovered by the experts. It might be safe to say most of the details have been lost.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Women's Sexuality in the Old Philippines

Much has been said about the political and economic situation of the Old Philippines in the history books. There's been something written and published about the campaigns of the Spanish Conquistadors, the Missionaries, the Galleon Trade and the likes. History classes taught us all of these milestones but very briefly about the lifestyle and culture of ours during the different centuries of our history. One thing not readily available is sexuality.

In the late 15th century, a certain historian and Jesuit priest, Pedro Chirino wrote about his stay in the country, as well as the behavior of our ancestors. He, like the other missionaries, were quick to see the practices of early Filipinos.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Philippine National Anthem Joey Ayala Version

Photo from Inquirer
The Philippine National Anthem today wasn't made to be the song to stir patriotism in the hearts of every Filipino. Its lyrics came from the poet Jose Palma and the arrangement came from Julian Felipe. Neither was it intentionally put together to be the National Anthem as Julian Felipe created his marching music in 1898 while Jose Palma made his poem in Spanish during 1899. Through the years after the revolution, while we were forming our identity, the current version was ratified and used ever since.

There's a lot of fierceness, pride and passion in the words and music of our National Anthem. Even after so many years of singing and hearing it, the stir of patriotism is always being awakened. Or maybe that is just true to people who don't take the words of our anthem for granted. But at the very least, hearing the national anthem play or singing it makes Filipinos proud in one way or another.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Finding Strength After the Storm

After withstanding the strongest recorded typhoon in history, the survivors of Yolanda showed the heart and spirit of Filipinos. The CNN broadcast journalist Anderson Cooper has been overwhelmed by how we Filipinos are in times of calamity and disaster. There's the good side and the bad side, but what Anderson can't get out of his mind is the best of the Filipino People.

Here's the video Anderson Cooper's report on CNN:

When everything else is taken away, broken, battered, soaked, raw, stripped bare, you see things. You see people as they really are. This week in Tacloban, Samar and Cebu, amidst the hunger and thirst, the chaos and confusion, we've seen the best in the Filipino people. Their strength, their courage. I can't get it out of my mind. Imagine the strength it takes for a mother to search alone for her missing kids, the strength to sleep; on the street near the body of her child.

We've seen people with every reason to despair, every right to be angry, instead find ways to laugh, to love, to stand up, to move forward.

A storm breaks wood and bone, brings hurt and heartbreak. In the end, the wind, the water, the horror it brings is not the end of the story.

With aid and assistance, compassion and care, this place, these people...they will make it through. They already survived the worst. They're bowed, perhaps tired and traumatized, but they are not broken.

Mabuhay Philippines! Maraming salamat for all you've shown us. Maraming salamat for showing us all how to live.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Shift: The Call Center Culture Movie

Way back then, I belong to the call center industry. At the time when the aggressive growth of the BPO industry in the country was starting, I was an agent working to help finish off the last few months of college. To say that people in the call center behave differently than those who work in the regular office hours is an understatement. There is a different culture of Filipinos out there, and Shift is the first movie I've seen that "somehow" showed some light to the lives of individuals working in the BPO sector.

The film centers at Estela (Yeng Constantino), a no-boyfriend-since-birth girl working in a call center and Trevor (Felix Roco), a gay senior agent on Estela's team brought closer together because of a mentoring program initiated by their team leader. It is still a story of love, and how the plot ended, its up to you to find out when you watch the movie. But as a teaser of how the story went, imagine a love caught between gender orientation and preferences.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Filipino Spirit is Indomitable

After the rampage and destruction of the strongest typhoon ever to hit the Philippines, the sun is out and we Filipinos have started to walk away from the ruins and began to build our lives again.

As the whole world slowly begins to know what happened to the most hard hit areas, a CNN article received a comment that is both awesome and inspirational. I'd rather that you read it for yourself and know how the whole world sees us Filipinos.

We just keep going on and smile. Its what we do with or without the world watching.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pamamanhikan in Aklan

Image from Paolo Denali
The advancement of technology and the influence of global culture have contributed greatly in the changes that happened to our culture and practices. As our lives were changed, so were our beliefs and traditions that little by little were given up. How we do things nowadays have a huge disparity over what ancestors did. The love and courtship rituals, are also affected.

During the time of our grandparents or great-grand parents, in the province of Aklan, love, courtship and marriage is a long and comprehensive process. From selecting a partner until the time the night of the wedding, there are several recommendations on how this has to go through. What stands out is the close involvement of parents in the process, which have a higher influence on the outcome of the relationship. To ask the hand of a woman in marriage from her parents is a make-or-break milestone back then.

See the paper in detail, written by Melchor Cichon which is posted on this page: http://anahawleaf.blogspot.com/2012/11/pamaeaye-in-aklan-and-its-role-in-value.html