Monday, January 12, 2009

Are you Filipino?

Are you among those who are working or living outside your country? Do you feel this jump of excitement when you meet another of your countrymen in a foreign land?

You know we Filipinos seem to always ask, "Are you Filipino?" whenever we meet or run into each other as strangers. Yes, it does seems like a simple question, but I also admit that it’s a very personal one.

Why this perpetual need to ask "Are you Filipino?"

I guess it has mainly to do with being homesick for home and country. Indeed, this is one of the valid reasons why there is that need to ask. Anyone who has traveled far from home, especially out of the country, will attest to the willingness to bond with a person from their own country when they are adrift in a sea of foreigners.

One must understand first of all, that Filipinos are very sentimental people whose orientation evolves around their nucleus of a family. A Filipino can be poor and happy, but to be an orphan and alone would be his or her greatest tragedy. When a Filipino wanders far from home, they would tour the great sights and be fascinated with whatever nation they are visiting, but family, friends, and loved ones are never far from their mind.

Unfortunately, when Filipinos are abroad, it often means that they are not out there to see the sights, but to find employment that would improve the level of their family's quality of life. Therefore, one can presume that they are not there for only a short period of time, but indefinitely. Oftentimes, the day they will be reunited to family and country is of an uncertain date.

However, Filipinos from the different levels may meet the question "Are you Filipino?" in varying reaction depending to their length of stay and level of assimilation to their adopted country. Obviously, those who have been staying in a certain country for a much longer time may either be amused, perplexed or even be offended by the question. Whereas those who have newly arrived will eagerly say, "Yes! Are you also Filipino?" followed by the question, "Where are you from?" This question will almost always be the next query after the inevitable first question has been satisfied.

The reality is, Filipinos, just like other people of different race, will never really be disconnected from their ethnicity due to obvious reason of appearance. No matter how long their family have been residing in that particular country, even if it is third or fourth generation, they will still be considered Filipinos.

Yet, what is wrong with that? It is a heritage and culture that is unique and rich. Perhaps, the best thing to do the next time the inevitable question is being asked is to simply reply with great politeness, one of the traits that Filipinos are best known for.


Sid Brechin said...

Canadians traveling outside Canada very often wear the flag sewn on a sleeve or backpack. We even do it here. My family is 4th generation but we are still often called Scots. By coincidence or maybe the old tendency to marry withing cultures my ancestry is all Scots. On top of that I served in one of Canada's many Highland Regiments. They still wear kilts and carry on many Scot's traditions. However in general today a Canadian can be of any ancestry. In fact the most common female ancestry as of the last census was Chinese at 33% a far cry from when I was growing up and English French Scottish Welsh or Native was almost everyone. There were a number of Dutch displaced by WWII Germans and Italians who had come here as POW's and decided to stay and bring over their families but not many more.

Then again we are a young country only around since 1867 before that we were a colony to some it seems we still are ;)

amna said...

hello odette, what you are saying is so true to Filipinos that are new to the country, sad to say that it no longer applies to the above majority of the old timers. they don't want to be associated with their own kind and tried to stay away as much as they can. guess you know the answer why..i don't have to elaborate them. i've been living outside for more than two decades and had travelled the world this is what i have seen and observed.

keep up the good work.

blue_butterfly said...

it's good to see you back! i hope you had a wonderful holiday, and i wish you a fruitful new year.

babette said...

hey dette,
miss you....enjoy gid ko reading sa imo write ups and so proud of you and joem...
take care my dear you...

blue_butterfly said...


thanks for the visit and for the pictures you sent us. the kids have grown so big, i miss you all as well.


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