Filipino Identity

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n search for a deeper meaning of what being Filipino means, there are many Filipinos born outside of the Philippines who return to the motherland in search for their Filipino identity. As this too has lingered within me growing up Filipino so far away from the Philippines, the answer to the question about what being a Filipino is continuously being arranged and rearranged as I learn about my culture and where I came from.

I have realized Filipinos are culturally resilient and have adapt in relation to being culturally fractured. We have adversaries. Poverty, hardship, oppression, injustice and famine. These are some words true to life to those here in the Philippines. Discrimination, acculturation and prejudice are what many abroad often face. Even outside of their context, Filipinos who grew up abroad must overcome adversaries not only from their western counterparts, but even from those back home who look at us as not "really" Filipinos. After all, how can you say to anyone and everyone how proud you are being a full-blooded Filipino, but you can't even say it in Tagalog? How can you represent the Filipino flag holding one in each hand, but have never lived as a Filipino, first hand?

Besides being actually resilient and adapting,having to overcome other cultures that have taken the best of our culture, as the Spanish and Americans have, what it means to be Filipino has become so culturally fractured especially with regards to our self-identity. What is so ironic to me is that as I grew up American trying to be more Filipino, many Filipinos were trying to be more American. Filipinos are so concerned about speaking English, having light skin and tall noses. In these few superficial, but very true circumstances,you may see difficulty I am facing. How can I learn and love my own Filipino roots when Filipinos themselves do not identify with and love this identity.

Filipinos born and raised outside of the Philippines unfamiliar with their cultural roots are at a disadvantage when it comes to identifying and exploring the Filipino heritage. We are displaced in this world. I know I am not sure if I am Filipino or American. In the United States, I am "that Filipino boy" and in the Philippines, I am "that American boy" . The truth is we live a life very far from the life here. I know may Filipinos abroad, and it's funny to me how the ones wiling to fight and stand up even for it even not sure of what being Filipino means besides having ethnic origin from the Philippines.

So, how have I personally defined what cultural identity of a Filipino is? I have not yet found that answer for myself. This is perhaps because, the vision of our cultural identity, I feel,is continuously adapting as needed. We change our style, our looks, our mannerisms, and speech to conform as either a necessity to fit in or for our convenience. As the time change, so does this image as who we are as Filipinos.What doesn't change however- and this is what I believe is most important- is that deep in our hearts, regardless if we are Filipinos living in the Philippines, US, Canada, or anywhere else in the world, is that Filipino blood runs through our veins and we love this about ourselves.


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