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What is a Pinoy

What is a Pinoy

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Published by: gianneceniza3879 on Nov 10, 2008
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What is a Pinoy
By Perry DiazRecently, a Filipino-American asked me aseemingly simple question: What is a Pinoy? Myresponse was as simple as it could be, A personof Filipino ancestry. And, to my surprise, heresponded: My ancestors have been roaming theEarth for hundreds of thousands of yearsstopping to people islands and continents. Likethem I have continued the journey. You can labelme anything you want but in my heart I am stillAfrican. I have dug deeper for my true roots. Iam a brother to all the people that you will meeton this planet for our ancestors came out of thesame womb. Well, I really don't have anyproblem with his philosophical response exceptthat he took the question completely out of context. Of course, a Pinoy is a human being -- ahomo sapiens -- that originated from Africaseveral million years ago. Didn't we all learn thatin grade school? To begin with, Pinoy was coined by Filipino farmworkers in the United States in the 1920s toidentify themselves, sort of a code word. Today,Pinoy is a word that basically identifies a personof Filipino descent anywhere in the world. Forsome reason, however, there are people who areseemingly Filipino but would not identify -- or see-- themselves as Filipino or Pinoy.Some Pinoys would admit to being anybody butPinoy. I heard of Pinoys who would rather saythey're Hawaiian or Polynesian. Some would saythey Chinese, Asian, Spanish, Chinese-Spanish,Pacific Islander or any other ethnicity but Filipino.Some would rather be called Malay,Austronesian or Malayo-Polynesian. And thereare some who would like to change the name of our country to something else -- like Maharlika --so that they don't have to think of themselves asFilipino. But would that make them different orbetter? So, what exactly is a Pinoy? I thoughtabout it and here's what I think Pinoy is:A Pinoy is person who works overseas and remitshis earnings to his family back home so that hischildren would get a good education and livecomfortably. Today, there are more than 8 millionPinoys working in more than 120 countriesaround the world. Their annual remittances totheir families were in excess of $12 billion a yearnot including the monies -- estimated at another$10 billion -- which were remitted outside of thebanking system.A Pinoy is a person in the medical professionwho goes to the Philippines on a medical missionto treat the poor Pinoys. Every year, numerousmedical missions from the United States,Canada, Europe and Australia go to differentprovinces to perform surgical procedures forthose who can not afford to pay for medicaltreatment.A Pinoy is a person who sends $20 every monthto pay for the education of a poor boy or girl. There are several Filipino non-profitorganizations in the US, Canada, Europe andAustralia dedicated to helping poor children inthe Philippines get an education.A Pinoy is a 10-year old Filipino-American from Texas who sold his drawings to raise money tobuild houses for the poor in the Philippines. TexOna raised $4,000 to build four Gawad Kalingahomes.A Pinoy is a young Filipino-American whomortgaged his home to build a Gawad Kalingavillage. Joey Coronel and hundreds of Pinoysaround the world have contributed to GawadKalinga to build homes for the poorest of thepoor.A Pinoy is an Englishman who fell in love withthe Philippines and moved to the Philippines.Dylan Wilk, a young multi-millionaire Englishmanhas contributed and helped build thousands of homes in Gawad Kalinga villages.A Pinoy is an American couple -- Dan and NancyHarrington -- who founded the Books for theBarrios to provide quality education for Filipinoschool children in the barrios. Today, theirinnovative Model of Excellence program hasbeen successfully implemented in numerousschools in the Philippines.A Pinoy is a poor young Chinese who migrated tothe Philippines and built a business empire. Today, Henry Sy gives back to his adoptedcountry by putting one percent of his companiesearnings to SM Foundation, which is into schoolbuildings, low-cost housing and medicalmissions.A Pinoy is a Filipino expatriate who retires in thePhilippines and invests his savings to help theeconomy of the Philippines. There is a growingnumber of Filipino-Americans and other expats inother countries who choose to retire in thePhilippines.A Pinoy is a person with the bayanihan spirit andgoes out of his way to help another Pinoy inneed. Numerous Filipino organizations aroundthe world are involved in raising funds to helpthe disaster victims in the Philippines.A Pinoy is a Muslim mayor who inspires hispeople -- Muslims and Christians alike -- to worktogether. Today, thanks to Mayor Abubakar TotoyPaglas, the people of Datu Paglas, Maguindanaolive in peace helping one another in the spirit of bayanihan.
A Pinoy is not just a generic human being whodescended from Africa. A Pinoy is not necessarilyof Filipino ancestry. A Pinoy could be anAmerican, Chinese, Spanish, Englishman or anyperson on Earth. A Pinoy could be a Christian ora Muslim. Indeed, Pinoys are a unique group of people. They are diverse, yet homogeneous intheir aspirations -- and hope -- for a betterPhilippines. They all have one thing in common:they love the Philippines. And in their hearts,they are Pinoy.
Philippine history has often been described as anamalgam of regional developments and outsideinfluences. Excavations in archeological siteshave proven that during prehistoric times, thenative Negritos came in contact with Malays andIndonesians who left their ancestral home inSoutheast Asia by crossing the seas in theirsailboats (balangay), and settled the Philippinearchipelago. Inter-racial marriages took placeamong them and out of these racial mixturesemerged the Filipino people. The early Filipino Malay ancestors brought withthem their culture--food and drinks, communitylife, government and laws, language andliterature, religion, customs and traditions andarts and sciences. They left their cultures to theirdescendants, as the Filipino Malayan inheritance.In the course of the centuries, long before theSpaniards colonized the Philippines in the 16thcentury; the native Filipinos came in contact (bycommerce) with Hindus from India, the Chineseand the Arabs whose civilizations were mucholder and more advanced than those of Spainand other Western countries. As a result of theseearly contacts with these great Asian people, theFilipino native culture and way of life (MalayanHeritage) were enriched. The cultural influences of both India and Arabiacame indirectly to Philippine shores throughMalaysia, while the Chinese cultural influencecame direct from China.In subsequent years, the Filipinos intermarried,not only with the Indians, Chinese and Arabians,but also with the Spaniards, the Americans, the Japanese, the British, the French, the Germans,and other peoples of the world. Today, it may besaid that the bloods of the East and the Westmeet and blend in Filipino veins.It must be noted that during the first two and ahalf centuries (1565-1828) Spain ruled thecountry through Mexico. The viceroy of Mexicogoverned the country in the name of the Spanishking. During this period the famous Manila-Acapulco trade existed. And many Mexicans--colonial officials, missionaries, soldiers, andtraders--came to the Philippines. Theyintroduced plants and animals, industries, songsand dances, customs and traditions into thecountry. Moreover, many of them married Filipinowomen. So it came to pass that Filipino acquireda Mexican heritage.After 333 years of Spanish rule, the Americansconquered the country and like Spain, Americaimposed her culture upon the people. Duringfour decades of U.S. rule (1898-1935), thepeople acquired the American heritage whichincluded democracy, popular education, theEnglish language and Protestant Christianity.Beneath the veneer of Hispanic, Mexican andAmerican heritage, the people, in heart and inspirit, are Asians. they are Asian in race and ingeography with an indestructible Asian heritage. The warmth and natural hospitality of thenation's 66,000,000 Filipinos today, is knownthroughout the world. The 11 cultural, linguisticand racial groups endow the Filipino people withvarying customs and traditions. In spite of theirdiversity, Filipinos have basically two dominanttraits: a love of family and a strong religiousfaith.
 Filipinos came from a mixture of Asian,European, and American peoples--the Negritos,Indonesians, Malays, Chinese, Indians, Arabs andother Asians; The Spaniards, British and otherEuropeans; the Mexicans and Americans of South and North America.According to Dr. H. Otley Beyer, noted Americananthropologist, the racial ancestry of Filipinos isas follows: Malay - 40%; Indonesian - 30%;Chinese - 10%, Indian (Hindu) - 5%, European &American - 3%, and Arab - 2%.
 Centuries before the Spaniards came to thePhilippines, the early Filipinos lived in separateand independent village-states called barangays.Each barangay had its own government headedby a ruler called datu or raha. The early Filipinoswere already civilized. They had government andlaws, education, writing and literature, religion,customs and traditions, commerce andindustries and arts and sciences.Each barangay consisted of about 100 families.Some barangays were big, such as Sugbo(Cebu), Maktan (Mactan), Bigan (Vigan), andMaynila (Manila). Each of these big barangayshad a population of more than 2,000.
 The datu, hari or raha was, in time of peace, thechief executive, legislator, and judge. In time of war, he was the commander of the barangaywarriors. The datu usually obtained his title byinheritance. When the datu died, his soninherited the datuship. If a datu died childless,the barangay chose a man to be datu on thebasis of his wisdom, physical strength, or wealth. There was no national government in ancientPhilippines. There were many independentbarangays and many datus. But there was nodatu strong enough to unite the archipelago intoone nation. Some barangays, however, united toform a confederation. A good example was the"Confederation of Madya-as" in ancient Panay. The existence of many islands affects the lifeand history of the Filipino people. First of all,these islands and seas serve as geographicalbarriers which prevent close contact andcommunication among the inhabitants. Thus theancient Filipino who migrated in ancient timesfrom the mainland of Malaysia and from Java,Sumatra, Borneo and other southeast Asianislands were not able to unite into a solid nation. They divided into tribes which developeddifferent dialects and different customs.Aside from fostering ethnic and cultural disunity,the archipelagic topography prevented the earlyFilipinos from developing a national governmentand a national language. As history shows, theSpanish conquered the country, which was thendivided into many independent barangays ruledby datus.
  The early Filipinos had both oral and writtenlaws. The oral laws were the customs (ugali) of the racel, which were handed down orally fromgeneration to generation. The legendarylawgiver was a woman named Lubluban, thegreat granddaughter of the first man and thefirst woman in the world. The written laws were promulgated by the datuswith the help of the elders and were put intowriting. These written laws were announced tothe people by a barangay crier known asumalahokan.An example of these ancient written laws wasthe famous Code of Ralantiaw, (1433), whichwas written by Kalantiaw, third chief of Panay. The ancient laws covered many subjects such asproperty rights, inheritance, adoption, divorce,loans, partnerships and contracts and crimes. Inthe Kalantiwa Code, insult, murder, arson,sacrilege and sorcery were punishable by death,slavery, or heavy fines. Singing at night whenpeople were sleeping, cheating in businesstransactions, and other minor crimes werepunished with exposure to ants, swimmingcontinuously for hours, flogging or fines.
 In March 16, 1521, the Spaniards conquered andcolonized the Philippines, except Mindanao andSulu inhabited by Filipino Muslims (Moros) andthe interior regions occupied by Pagan tribes(now called cultural minorities).For 333 years (1565-1898) the country was ruledby Spain, who imposed her rule and the Hispanicculture over the people. During this long periodof Spanish rule the oppressed people rose inmore than 100 revolts and rebellions to regaintheir lost freedom. These armed uprisings failedfor lack of unity and national leaders. For a brief interlude (1896-1901) the people under GeneralEmilio Aguinaldo's leadership succeeded ingaining their independence and establishing theFirst Philippine Republic, (June 12, 1896). The Philippine Revolution of 1896 where heroesand martyrs shed their blood rallying the peopleagainst the Spaniards was short-lived. Spain'sdefeat in the Spanish-American War led to theAmerican colonization of the islands. By force of superior arms, the Americans destroyed the FirstRepublic, established by General Aguinaldo, in1901 and imposed their rule and culture on thepeople for 4 years. After training the people inthe art of democratic government, the U.S.Congress enacted the Tydings-MacDuffie Law of 1934 which provided for the granting of Philippine independence on .July 4, 1946, after aten-year of preparation for it. Accordingly, thePhilippine Constitution was drafted in 1935 andthe commonwealth of the Philippines wasinaugurated on November 15, 1935.Before 1946, the raging World War II in Europeunfortunately spread to Asia. On December 8,1941; Japan invaded the country and occupied it.Much against the people's will she establishedthe puppet Second Republic on October 14,1943. The .Japanese Occupation took place from1942 to 1945. Fortunately, the Allied troopsunder General Douglas MacArthur returned tothe country in October, 1944, liberated thecountry and restored the PhilippineCommonwealth.Finally, on July 4, 1946, the Republic (ThirdPhilippine Republic) was inaugurated. Americakept her promise to recognize PhilippineIndependence. A traumatic interlude in historywas the martial law imposed by PresidentMarcos on the country on September 21, 1972.He lifted it on January 17, 1981, shortly afterwhich the 1973 Constitution was radicallyamended creating the New Republic (Fourth

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