The Filipino colonial experiences for nearly 400 years since the time of Spanish colonization until presentreveal their status of a ‘damage nation,’ because of the difficulty of identifying the real Filipino in the milieu ofhuman history. The history reveals that the Filipino nation has always been merely a footnote of other nationsthat which without the latter, Filipinos seem to lose their referential position. The cultural life, the totalconcrete expression of every Filipino’s way of living and all its aspects, has been identified in the point ofview of other cultures particularly the western cultures – Spanish and American cultures because of theirpervasive influence in almost all domains of Filipinos’ life
. As Mauro Muňoz Jr. puts it (1995:53):
The final result of these cultural dominations by Spain and America is a “damageculture” – a culture whose elements are not well-integrated; a nation-state withdiffering cultural orientations, opposing each other; an industrial, western, urbanculture and agricultural, oriental, rural culture; a cultural majority and a culture ofminority….The long suffering and poverty that the Filipino people are enduring now is the result of this ‘damage culture’and the lost of their identity is the by-product of inculcated colonial mentality and preferences by thecolonizers that perpetuates until the present time, though it has been transformed into a neocolonial breed.Its concrete effects in the present Philippine condition are the miseducation, political oppression andeconomic dependency. Hence, the task of a cultural struggle in this country must be based on an intimate andconcrete knowledge of Philippine reality,[ that is, in educational, political, and economic domains.] Wecannot apply blindly the experience of other nations [in behalf of our own experiences as a disintegratednation] (Constantino 1977:121).In order to renovate this damage culture and gain new identity, Constantino proposes a counter-consciousness or what is known as national consciousness to combat colonial consciousness. According toConstantino, the initial step must be the study of the dynamics of intellectual colonization in all its aspectswhich becomes the matrix of Filipino colonial mentality. When the root cause is already located, eventuallyliberation will follow accompanied by proper evolution and dissemination of counter-consciousness amongFilipino people by the Filipinos themselves, and not by other nations who see the Philippine condition in adistance perspective apart from what the Filipinos are actually struggling for recovery. At this stage ofrecovery, therefore, Constantino believes that the object of the cultural struggle is to free the minds ofFilipinos from the colonial bondage. It seeks primarily to propagate an anti-colonial consciousness which willbe an indispensable tool in constructing a new [Philippine] reality (1977: 121).Positing this struggle for new reality through valuation of authentic culture of Filipinos, hence, what is neededis a culture of nationalism or a nationalist culture. This kind of culture is imbued with the spirit ofnationalism. Nationalism is primarily a spirit of love that provokes an individual or group of individuals tolive, work, and struggle for a common national interest, and invites them to spend themselves as essentialparts for the total development and full realization of a nation. Culture, on the other hand, is generallyunderstood as a way of life of the people with learned and shared patterns of thinking, feeling and acting tosolve the biological and social problems in the process of becoming fully human. In this sense, nationalistculture can be viewed as a spirit of love for a nation through shared life in common national interest. Inrelation to this view, quoting in length Constantino’s concept of national culture, therefore (1977:113):What then is the concept of a national culture? It is not the glory of the past ofwhich there is little. It is not only folklore; it is not only a revival of tradition. Aboveall it is the summation of the needs of the people, the description of their past andpresent condition, an expression of their values, thoughts and emotions, thedepiction of their historic struggles to liberate themselves. True national culture isinextricably linked to the people’s needs, ideas, emotions and practices....