The Philippines

             The Philippines can be seen as an abboration in relation to other Asian countries. Early on in its history it was subject to colonial rule by the Spanish. The Spanish introduced Spanish culture and Roman Catholicism to the Philippines. The period of long colonial rule also produced a culture that was neither directly Spanish nor directly Filipino. Filipino society and culture today can be best described as a synthesis of the two cultures that has been tempered over time. However for some Filipinos this is not enough. Some long for a more solid notion of identity. They ask, “What is Filipino?” Two novels from the Philippines, When The Rainbow Goddess Wept, by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, and Dusk by F. Sionil Jose, suggest that Filipino identity can be seen in the struggles and oral traditions of their past.
             The Philippines were originally Asian in culture and race, but lost this identity through the Spanish, and American colonial experience. But we see that through the colonial experience a new Filipino Identity developed. In the novel, Recuerdo, by Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, one learns that prior to colonialism the Philippines traded and had contact with China. At this time the Philippines had what one could consider a culture untouched, untainted of forced outside influences. From the novel, When the Rainbow Goddess Wept, one learns of rich oral traditions of the Philippines. When the Spanish took the Philippines as a colony in 1521, the notion of an “untouched” Philippine culture disappeared. The Spanish brought with them Catholicism. The Filipinos eventually embraced Catholicism integrating it into Philippine culture. A syncretism of what was Filipino culture and religion and Spanish culture and Catholicism resulted in a Filipino culture that was unique, neither purely Spanish, nor Filipino. This new identity became what Filipinos accepted as Filipino culture for they new nothing else.

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The Philippines. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 12:54, December 06, 2016, from