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Towards New Filipino Identity:

A prelude on Constantino’s
Nationalist Philosophy of Culture

Alfred James A. Ellar

December 2005


Constantino’s main contribution in the field of philosophy and social science is his
advocacy of nationalism, which is actually his counteraction to the pervasive colonial
consciousness of the Filipino people during his time. As a response to this deprivation
caused by Spaniard and American colonization, he proposes a ‘counter consciousness’ in order
to recuperate the confused identity of the Filipino due to their passive adherence to
western culture and preferences. In the light of this counter consciousness, which is also
technically termed as “nationalistic consciousness,” this paper is sought to establish a kind of
philosophy of culture that reflects Constantino’s ideas on nationalism and its cultural
implications towards the discovery of new Filipino identity. In order to arrive at the desired
purpose of this research, the researcher uses an interpretative-historical method, i.e., he
utilizes the existing literatures, both primary and secondary sources, which deal on the
aforementioned topic as the basis of any given proposition in this paper. At the end of this
preliminary inquiry, the paper will try to answer some of the questions such as: (1) how
nationalism is related to culture to form a identity; (2) how Constantino conceived a culture
in reference to his philosophy of nationalism; (3) how Constantino envisioned a culture
that has at least a minimum diverse western preference to give greater opportunity for
endorsement and provisions for national consciousness towards national identity; and (4)
how a culture of Filipino with national consciousness leads to a new Filipino identity.
The Filipino colonial experiences for nearly 400 years since the time of Spanish colonization until present
reveal their status of a ‘damage nation,’ because of the difficulty of identifying the real Filipino in the milieu of
human history. The history reveals that the Filipino nation has always been merely a footnote of other nations
that which without the latter, Filipinos seem to lose their referential position. The cultural life, the total
concrete expression of every Filipino’s way of living and all its aspects, has been identified in the point of
view of other cultures particularly the western cultures – Spanish and American cultures because of their
pervasive 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 “damage
culture” – a culture whose elements are not well-integrated; a nation-state with
differing cultural orientations, opposing each other; an industrial, western, urban
culture and agricultural, oriental, rural culture; a cultural majority and a culture of

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 the
colonizers 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 and
economic dependency. Hence, the task of a cultural struggle in this country must be based on an intimate and
concrete knowledge of Philippine reality,[ that is, in educational, political, and economic domains.] We
cannot apply blindly the experience of other nations [in behalf of our own experiences as a disintegrated
nation] (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 to
Constantino, the initial step must be the study of the dynamics of intellectual colonization in all its aspects
which becomes the matrix of Filipino colonial mentality. When the root cause is already located, eventually
liberation will follow accompanied by proper evolution and dissemination of counter-consciousness among
Filipino people by the Filipinos themselves, and not by other nations who see the Philippine condition in a
distance perspective apart from what the Filipinos are actually struggling for recovery. At this stage of
recovery, therefore, Constantino believes that the object of the cultural struggle is to free the minds of
Filipinos from the colonial bondage. It seeks primarily to propagate an anti-colonial consciousness which will
be 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 needed
is a culture of nationalism or a nationalist culture. This kind of culture is imbued with the spirit of
nationalism. Nationalism is primarily a spirit of love that provokes an individual or group of individuals to
live, work, and struggle for a common national interest, and invites them to spend themselves as essential
parts for the total development and full realization of a nation. Culture, on the other hand, is generally
understood as a way of life of the people with learned and shared patterns of thinking, feeling and acting to
solve the biological and social problems in the process of becoming fully human. In this sense, nationalist
culture can be viewed as a spirit of love for a nation through shared life in common national interest. In
relation 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 of
which there is little. It is not only folklore; it is not only a revival of tradition. Above
all it is the summation of the needs of the people, the description of their past and
present condition, an expression of their values, thoughts and emotions, the
depiction of their historic struggles to liberate themselves. True national culture is
inextricably linked to the people’s needs, ideas, emotions and practices....
It is true that the poverty [and cultural deprivation] of the masses is a major
cause of the poverty of their culture. But this poverty breeds its own dynamic as it
transforms the feeling of deprivation into desire to negate the condition itself. This
process in turn develops its own forms of expression and action which if crystallized
and systematized become the matrix of a people’s culture….

This concept of Constantino regarding culture will be the guiding idea in this paper together with his concept
of nationalism. His concept of nationalism will be the ground by which Filipino identity is stood, while his
concept of culture will serve as the background by which the Filipino identity is situated. Similar in a theater
play in which the actors act according to the stage milieu.

Accordingly, this paper is sought to establish a kind of philosophy of culture that reflects Constantino’s ideas
on nationalism and its cultural implications towards the discovery of new Filipino identity. At the end of this
preliminary inquiry, the paper will try to answer some of the specific questions such as:

a. how nationalism is related to culture to form a identity

b. how Constantino conceived a culture in reference to his philosophy of nationalism?
c. how Constantino envisioned a culture that has at least a minimum diverse western preference to
give greater opportunity for endorsement and provisions for national consciousness towards
national identity?
d. how a culture of Filipino with national consciousness leads to a new Filipino identity?

Hence, this study will be primarily essential in elaborating the thoughts and ideas of Renato Constantino
regarding nationalism as being applied in the concept of culture in the context of Philippine society. Secondly,
this paper will be of great help to clarify the idea of nationalism not as mere abstract concept, but more so as
a necessary actual lived experience of the Filipino people if authentic national identity is to be achieved. And
thirdly, this will be beneficial for dissemination of consciousness among Filipino people about the value of
national integrity thereby improving the way of living of the people towards economic progress and political

Moreover, the main thrust of this research is to develop a nationalist culture in the perspective of philosophy
rather than in sociological or anthropological perspectives, hence, there will be no statistical treatment to be
presented in the analysis of accumulated data. Thus, this paper is pure interpretative-philosophical research.
Consequently, the focus of this paper is basically the concept of nationalism of Constantino as it is being
integrated with the concept of culture thereby developing a nationalist culture; and it will try to present the
nature of the possible nationalist culture of Constantino.

Finally, in order to arrive at the desired purpose of this research, the researcher used an interpretative-
historical method, i.e., he utilized the existing literatures, both primary and secondary sources, which deal on
the aforementioned topic as the basis of any given proposition in this paper.

Constantino’s Philosophy of Nationalism

Constantino has been known as one of the forerunners of Philippine nationalism together with Senator Claro
M. Recto. His eloquency in uttering the nationalist ideology gives new vision to recover the national identity
of the Filipinos which has been damaged because of colonization of Spaniards and Americans. The colonial
period has implanted in the Filipino people the preferences to western culture – a colonial consciousness. The
prevailing Filipino consciousness is a captive consciousness since the colonizers have taught the Filipino
through religious instructions, miseducation, and political orders to be subservient to their own will and
interest. As Gripaldo puts it: the consciousness that developed among the people, according to Constantino,
during Spanish and American colonial eras was captive, in the sense that it was shaped and tailored to the
needs of the colonizers (2004: 172).
In order to understand Constantino’s nationalism, according to Gripaldo, there is a need to study the two
dimensions of Constantino’s works, i.e., psychological and economic.

Psychological Dimension

Colonial Consciousness
In the initial phase of the Spanish and Americans colonization, they did not immediately impose their harsh
colonial burden to the natives. Instead, they rather established an amicable relationship and introduced new
instructions (religious and educational) as their modus operandi in order to avoid any trace of suspicion about
their abusive interests.

To amplify this relationship and to win the confidence of the natives, the Spaniards, particularly the friars,
exposed them to religious instructions and converted them to their Christian religion. As a result, the natives
became religious fanatic, docile and illiterate that they merely obeyed orders and observed rituals even
without deeper internalization of what they were following (remember that Spaniards did not taught the
natives their own language and mass celebrations were said in Latin). Religious teaching became the rulers’
unquestionable dogma that made the native subservient to their will rather than consoling words for
authentic Christian conversion and religiosity. Christian faith in God turned to be an oracle of Spanish stint to
capture the natives’ frail consciousness.

On the other hand, the Americans colonial strategy was through exploitation of educational system of the
Filipino. Whereas the Spaniards did not teach the native their own language, the Americans used their
language in order for the Filipinos to be compliant to their own will. The more the English language was used
in educational instructions, the more they become submissive to American colonial preferences so as to make
the Filipino the leading consumers of their product – consumerism. Moreover, miseducation of the Filipino
can also be in the form of distorted historical facts in which the American appeared to be the heroes of the
Filipino people against Spaniards. The Americans likewise manipulated the political military arena by making
the Philippines their extended military camps in the eastern world.

Thus, the effect of this is a consciousness that is not founded in nationalistic perspective. It breeds to what is
known as a “colonial mentality.” Colonial mentality is a type of consciousness which is foreign-oriented
(Gripaldo 2004:173). There is, hence, a need to have a counter consciousness that will fight colonial

Nationalist Consciousness
Constantino believes that in order to rehabilitate the colonial condition of the Filipino, nationalist
consciousness is necessary. According to Constantino (1978b:292-294) there are four ranks of nationalists in
regards to their conscious participation for national struggle: (1) fair weather nationalists, faddists, or poseurs who
only pay lip service to the cause, and who rather do harm than good for the national interest since they are
more incline to betrayal; (2) emotional nationalists who have greater emotional loyalty rather than their
understanding to the real cause of struggle for national liberation; (3) purely intellectual nationalists whose
understanding are merely intellectual level, however, empty of action to materialize their ideas and so resort to
status quo.; and (4) genuine nationalists who have sufficient understanding of the cause, self-dedication and have
the willingness to sacrifice the personal interest in the place of national interest.

Economic Dimension
Economy is crucial in improving the quality of living of the people as well as in stabilizing the micro-scale
internal socioeconomic condition of a country. Externally, the economy is the financial generating
component of a country that sustains the interaction to other country. These roles of economy, however, are
vulnerable to those powerful capitalist economies of the First World countries, since in some extend the
economy of Third World countries rely to the assistance coming from these capitalist economies.
Consequently, these capitalists take advance this weak point of small economy since they can dictate, impose
or control certain agreement that indirectly conforms to their demands.

Further, the main goal of these capitalists economy, primarily of the United States, during the post war was
the integration of the capitalist world into a cohesive, cooperative system. After assisting the other European
allies, United States sought to control the economy of the Third World to insure the steady supply of raw
material (Gripaldo 2004:174). The Third world would eventually become not only the source of raw material
but also the chief consumers of the finish products thereby making the Third World as the arena of the
supply and demand of the First World. As a result of this foreign control, the Philippine economy suffers
mass poverty and underemployment as by product of its neocolonial status.

Nationalist Economic Alternative

The Third World economy from the period of colonization of various European countries until the present is
mostly controlled by foreign capitalists. In particular, these capitalists have made the Philippine economy their
economic empire both the source of raw materials, consumers of their product, and stockroom of their
obsolete technology. As a result, Filipino people become workers as well as commodities in their own
country. They work directly for the foreigners in locally based foreign companies, and the benefit they can get
for their family is mere by-product. Hence, diversity of personal interests is inculcated among Filipino
proletariat, and that which makes the over all national interest suffers.

Constantino, as counteraction to this economic condition, summons for an authentic nationalism that is
characterized by mass nationalism and anti-imperialism. Consequently, he recommends the dismantling of the
American bases, struggle for the national surplus and the unification of the various nationalist strata for a
common cause (Gripaldo 2004:178). And as Gripaldo puts it: Philippine labor [economy] should forge itself
for economic unionism at the national level and not just in the fragmented individual firms.

Moreover, the nationalist movement for economic recovery must not begin itself with radical demands as its
initial step. Rather, it must focus on the minimum demands such as restraining foreign capital to strengthen
national capital, cooperation of both public and private economic sectors, and mass participation of common
people. In this sense, participation takes its form in mass education to disseminate awareness for national
economic consciousness. This task is primarily the government concerns and major consideration, and even a
noble challenge for the government to espouse this nationalist alternative as a vision for economic progress.
National economic progress, then, must initially begin with the people in their mass level – an upward
evolution rather than downward imposition.

Nationalist Ethics
In order to carry out into fulfillment this nationalist economic progress, nationalist ethics is vital. There are
allot of national ethical principles and practices that can be assumed, however, ethical principles mentioned
hereto are more related to economic condition: one must reject the status quo as s/he offers better alternative
for the current unwanted economic reality; one must give considerable preference in the public interests more
than personal interests; and one must get rid of crab mentality and colonial mentality as well; and one must be
cautious of personal consumption so as to preserve the proper allocation of national good and products.

Constantino’s Nationalist Philosophy of Culture

Nationalism, as a sort of ideology of liberation, must primarily be conceived as an attempt to transform and
to redirect consciousness that has been distorted by the colonialism. However, it must not rest only in a form
of ideology; it must be extended in a shared actual life as its domain of perfection – culture.
An enduring lived-action and lived-experience over time and place in crystallized in culture. When people live
the ideas of nationalism and continue the collective actions spring therefrom, it will give birth to a culture of
nationalism. There is no such thing as ‘pure culture’ however, this does not mean that it has no identity. The
relation of actions coming from the interactions of history produces hybrid culture – a creative advance to
novelty, but a hybrid culture is non-identical with other hybrid cultures, thus, in a sense, it has its own
identity, and it is only identifiable in relation to other culture.

In this sense, the culture of nationalists is the one which has its own identity since its nationalistic character
gives the identification to the culture. No national character is identical with other national character. If it
does so it ceases its being national. Nationalistic culture is in itself an identity. This sort of culture is
characterized by independence, self-determination and sovereignty, that is, independent of external
compulsion of cultural imposition, self-determined in internal interrelations of the elements of culture, and
sovereign in its resource management towards cultural enrichment.

Synthetic Culture of Filipino

The colonialism in the Philippines conveyed incessant effects even after the actual colonization. However,
the culture of the natives was radically altered, though not took its pervasive effects in the whole archipelago.
In the coming of western culture, the colonizers viewed its existing culture incompatible to their ulterior
motives. In this sense, the colonizers imposed the culture to the native though it was not felt by the natives
in the initial encounter because it was in the guise of filial relationship. The native warmly accepted this
relationship, however, blind of the disparaging intention of their western counterparts.

Before the colonizers came in the in the archipelago, the natives were already enjoying cultural and societal
prosperity. It had its own method of trading and commerce, system of government and education. When the
Spaniards came they disrupted this prosperity by introducing their own way of culture which indirectly
making the natives view their culture as obstinate and inferior comparing to that of the western nations. This
cultural change is perfected when the natives were converted to Christian religion. In effect, the natives
suffered religious fanatic, docile and illiterate of the real cause of believing in an Almighty God. God is, then,
conceived as authoritative leader in the person of the friars rather than a passionate father. Religion became
the ally of colonization. As Constantino puts it, instead of developing their initiative to improve their
condition, the people were taught to regard suffering as a sign of God’s love and to rely on heavenly
intercession rather than on their own efforts (1977:103).

When the Americans came, they took the similar strategy – filial relationship, however, it was in another
mode. Since the Spaniards appeared as enemy of the Filipinos, this became the opportunity for the American
to exploit the Filipino history by making the Americans as agents of liberation. This exploitation was
intensified when the Americans introduced their culture through the manipulation of educational system and
making themselves the mentor of freedom, independence and democracy. Accordingly, schools turned to be
commercial enterprises that patronage western intellectual and material product. It became also the countries
system of social selection thereby causing cultural disintegration, hence, depriving greater number of people
who were living in marginal life.

The western colonialism perpetuates even after the American already left the country. The present Philippine
economic conditions are still in colonial stint though it took another form – it persists through the
machinations of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over the economy of
developing nations particularly the Philippines (Zialcita 1995:53). This becomes the new strategy of western
colonialism – neocolonialism. The incorporation of European countries, in which the America stands as its
leading exponent, creates a world economic imperialism making the counties in Third World subservient
commodities for capitalists’ purposes. Global corporations are economic bodies but their operations have a
direct effect on the culture of the developing countries (Constantino, 1977:112). Its effect is rather more
pervasive since it controls all aspects of Filipinos’ life.

In a sense, in all this colonial periods – pre- colonial, colonial and neocolonial, the culture that has been
developed among Filipinos is a culture of ignorance, culture of conformity, and a culture of deprivation. It is
a synthetic culture without internal constructive interdependence to promote national unity. Hence, this leads
to crisis of national identity. However, Constantino has given resolution to this crisis; thus, he says

Victims of cultural Westernization, we suffer a crisis of identity as well. The

resolution of this crisis can be aided by stronger identification with the Third World
from which we can learn valuable lessons in developing a culture of our own and in
building an economy which we ourselves control.

Constantino also adds,

The developing countries will have to unite in order to prevent further Western
economic and cultural control. A culture based on our needs will evolve only after
we liberate our own economy. But liberation of that economy will also be hastened
by the development, if only in its initial stages, of a culture that is based on our
needs and goals…true national culture is inextricably linked to the people’s needs,
ideas, emotions, and practices.

The identification of Philippines with the Third World imbues in it the hybrid culture. However, the
commonality of experiences among Third World countries will eventually lead the Filipinos to seek their own
cultural identity – making our-experience (as Third World nations) into my-experience (as a Filipino nation)
through internalization in the ground of actual Philippine situation. The ground of national culture, hence, is
the internal recognition of the non-identical needs and goals of Filipinos from other nations especially from
the westerners. Thus national culture, if perfected in its utmost level, is identity in itself.

Cultural Decolonization
Crucial to the development of a nation is the continuous struggles through cultural decolonization grounded
on the actual situation of the people in relation to various aspects of human life. These struggles should be
the basic source of a developing cultural identity because they are the expression of the birth pangs of a
nation – a nation that contraposed its being to that of the colonial power (Constantino 1997:105). National
culture in its primary stage, therefore, must emanate from the people in action in their unending fight for
freedom and progress.

The objective of this struggle is to liberate the people from the intellectual, political and economic dominion
of colonial culture. The westerners have recognized the lackness of core foundation of Filipinos in these
aspects that is why they attack these weaknesses. Such weaknesses lead to the weakness of cultural life of the
people. Its immediate consequence is making Filipinos merely followers of hegemonic dictate of culture in
the west. The general perception of Filipinos, moreover, regarding cultural identity is a mere unfolding the
innate character of Filipinos which has been buried by colonialism. On the other hand, Constantino stresses
that this effort appears to be the premised on a static view of culture. It assumes that national culture merely
awaits rediscovery and that the principal source of the people’s self-pride must be sought in the achievements
of their pre-colonial ancestors (1977:104).

Another avenue of cultural colonization according to Constantino is the mass media particularly in
entertainment and advertisement. The exposure of the Filipinos to western culture is intensified by mass
media. Even Filipinos are in the Philippines, their consciousness soar away to western nations. This is the
reason behind the intense mood of consumerism and the attitude of self-indulgence towards life. Thus, spur
the dissemination of pop culture that diverts the attention of the people from serious economic, political and
cultural pursuits (Constantino 1977:112).

Therefore, cultural decolonization to be authentic must begin in a cultural struggle based on an intimate and
concrete knowledge of Philippine reality and not in illusionary configuration of Philippine status to that of
western references.

Rise of Nationalistic Culture

When the cultural struggle is successfully carried out, this will eventually lead to a national culture. In a sense,
national culture is a culture of liberation – a national consciousness. There some considerations to be pointed
out t in the rising of this nationalistic culture.

First, the ‘unity of common experience’ of Filipinos will draw them to work together to attain common national
goal. Individual experience is put together, not totally denied since it is the urge that drive people to seek the
right way for the common interest. Individual person having the experience which is link to others will
become the unitive force, a consciousness that has been released from its colonial imprisonment of western
conformity. The cultural struggle begins from individual recognition of insurgency against colonialism. The
integration of this individual recognition will give way to national struggle. Colonial oppression of westerners
paradoxically serves as the key for this integration. The liberation to its effect is diametrically proportion to
its negation.

Another aspect that contribute to this struggle is that the Filipinos must have an ‘alteration of the mode of thought’
regarding Philippine condition. The net result of western hegemonic culture to Filipinos is cultural alienation
through intellectual fragmentation. Filipinos becomes alien to their innate capacity since they rely to western
confirmation and standard. The obsession to foreign degree adds to this alienation. Those Filipinos who
study abroad look at the Philippine situation in the perspective of other nations thereby making bias
evaluation, hence, lack of consciousness about the Philippine reality and about the need of struggle for
national culture. The role of the native intellectual as writer and potential freedom fighters is recognized as a
process of the unfolding of layers of national consciousness (Maranan 1989:421).

Finally, ‘mass-level rehabilitation of economy’ is vital in providing the foundation of national culture. Mass poverty
of the majority of Filipinos can be the lure for change. This change does not necessarily take radical demands.
Instead, its initial course must be the general needs of the people in mass level. The need of the masses is
basic that they will reduce to merely commodities of the capitalists rather fulfilling their essential aspects as
human beings. Rehabilitation begins with providing greater preferential option for Filipino enterprises rather
than for foreign corporations. In this sense, the national resources are maximized for the benefit of larger
number of population who suffer mass poverty. Economic development inevitably leads to changes in
consciousness among its local beneficiaries. Economic progress creates a growing native group of small
landowners, city workers and small shopkeepers readily absorb these new liberal ideas (Constantino

Towards New Filipino Identity

National culture in its full realization provides integration of various strata of a given society in which each
stratum performs its definitive function towards common national goal. The function is, in a way,
interrelated and this interrelatedness constitutes the essence of the nationhood. The interrelatedness of needs,
ideas, emotions and practices of the people break the barriers caused by diverse background and orientation.

Moreover, the beginning of Filipinos’ awareness of separate identity, according to Constantino, is to

recognize the Philippine national interest as non-identical with other nations particularly the western nations,
and in fact oftentimes oppose to them. The re-examination of Philippine historical development will give the
hint where the weakness and strength of Filipinos as nation arise thereby taking the proper step towards New
Filipino Identity.

This Filipino identity can be further enhanced and modified through dialectical process between individual
and society in a general interpretation of reality occurring in the Philippines. However, identity does not mean
stereotyping the common aspect present among people. It is rather the direct proportionality of status of a
nation to its national activity. The embodiment of this national activity is the national culture. National
activity provides inductive support for national culture, and the national culture provides deductive
explanation for national identity. Thus, living a nationalistic culture is the identity in itself since nationalism is
put into action through culture.

Analysis of Nationalist Culture of Constantino: Reconstructive Alternativism

The discussion regarding the nationalist philosophy of culture of Constantino has two general characteristics:
(1) reconstruction of the mode of perception of Filipinos towards their present conditions and towards the
dominant neocolonial disposition of the Filipino themselves, and (2) presentation of alternative recourse for
national identity in which the majority of the people can afford to do. It is a reconstruction since it is a
manner of re-establishing the consciousness of the people into the foundation of real and actual situation of
the Philippines which has been dominated by western culture. On the other hand, the presentation of
alternatives will give diversion into another avenue leading to national identity apart from the referential
position given by western colonization.

Reconstruction of the Mode of Culture

Reconstruction is, to my mind in relation to culture, a kind of modal modification – evaluating the necessary
and contingent aspects - constituting both the positive and the negative consequences of colonial culture. It is
a maximation of the appropriate version of culture retained prior to colonization, and the version of culture
inculcated to the Filipinos by the colonizers.

I suspect that the effect of colonization is not malevolence in its absolute sense. For, if the colonial effect did
not take surface, the unity of common experience of people that drive them to aspire liberation, would not be
possible at all. The interaction of the positive and the negative consequences is the lure that makes the people
seek the most desirable cultural status which is consistent to the activities of the people in reality, not in the
realities outside its sphere. Nationalist culture, as I see it, is bridging the gap between the potentialities
embedded within Filipinos as Filipinos and the realities embracing their circumstances which have been
deteriorated by colonialism and neocolonialism. The key reference for this ‘bridging the gap’ is the re-
examination of history thereby making evaluation in the point of view of the Filipinos and not of the
foreigners. In this manner the real needs, ideas, emotions, and practices are detected and given proper

In this new mode of culture, the nationalistic culture, the multiplicity of ‘gaps’ caused by the introduction of
western culture is reduced which leads to the promotion of a wider range of opportunity for the Filipinos to
realized themselves within their actual condition as a nation. Secondly, this wage range of opportunity will
provide the Filipinos with a certain cultural justice which allows them to manifest their own cultural wealth
and heritage. Finally, there will be a promotion of unity through respect for the various cultural heritages of
the people as they commit themselves in the preservation of cultural diversity.

Alternative Recourse of National Identity

The reconstruction of the mode of culture mentioned above that gives born to national culture will become
the ground of symbiotic relationship. In the process of relationship, the net product is identity – its distinctive
character that identifies them from the relationship exists in other nations, e.g., symbiotic relationship of
various social statuses of the people during the EDSA revolution, who came together for a common national
cause. The event that happened in EDSA gives the Filipino a particular identity as a nation (no nation has
able to do as what the Filipinos did in EDSA).

The alternative recourse for national identity, then, is only possible through nationalist perspective realized in
the shaped life of common people. As Locsin eloquently puts it - the cultural awakening raises nationalism to
a transcendent, suprapolitical consciousness while nationalism as a call to commitment provides the substance
of [national] expression (1999:715).

However, the desirability of achieving national identity must not be imperative in sense that people will take
for granted its vital participation to international relation. I affirm the view of Prof. De Leon Jr. in this sense,
thus (Goquino 1999:719):

Cultural awareness is the key to national development, a firm sense of identity and
a projecting of what is authentically ours. Being unique, distinct, authentic or
indigenous is not only the basis of international worth and recognition; it is also
the foundation of economic success…. There can be no national unity, without a
sense of pride in being Filipino, and how do we erect anything on a colonized

The national identity can never be found in the monuments which they give due honor, however, it does help
to inculcate among Filipinos the sense of patriotism; it is rather in the fragments of realization out of people’s
historical and cultural experiences.

The above discussion regarding the framework Constantino’s Nationalist Philosophy of culture is, therefore,
a kind of reconstruction of consciousness through choice that is fundamentally based on outgrown
experiences of the people during the colonial and neocolonial periods, and not asmere rediscovery of the pre-
colonial culture of the Filipinos.

According to Constantino, nationalist philosophy of culture is, basically, an abridgment of the ideas, needs,
emotions, and practices of the people in relation to the concrete actual condition of the Philippine society.
The nationalism is the spirit that lives in the body which is the culture. This is the relation of nationalism and
culture to form an identity. In a sense, national culture is in itself a sort of identity for the Filipinos, for there
could be no national culture superior or identical to other culture with the same spirit.

Moreover, the kind of culture which Constantino is trying to figure here out, in relation to nationalist
ideology, is a culture with a consciousness that the needs and goals of the Filipinos are non-identity to the
needs and goal of the colonizers, hence, it must be anti-colonialism through negation of the effects, and
transforming the result of this negation into allocation of opportunity for the Filipinos to realize themselves
as a one nation. Thus, national identity is the direct proportionality of national status (nationalism) to its
national activity (culture).

For Constantino, the cultural struggle with certain unity of common experience, alteration of mode of
thought and rehabilitation of the economy actually serves as the triadic strand that maximizes the capacity of
the Filipinos to grow as a nation without too much reliance of western assistance, hence, minimize colonial
diverse effect.

Finally, the sensibility for national goal is the inevitable to national consciousness. It is the articulation of the
significant contribution of people as they actualize their desire to build a nation through sharing and
participating in nationalist movement (e.g., EDSA revolution). Hence, the national consciousness gives way
to new Filipino identity.

As what has been mentioned, national identity is desirable but not imperative. However, the continuous
struggle, I believe, will serve a purpose. This paper is actually one of these perennial struggles for national
identity, but this is just one of the individuals that participates and shares with the nationalist movement in
term of philosophy. I admit its little contribution yet it counts to further the struggle. Hence, I recommend
the following: (1) to explore further the issue on maximation for appropriate version of national activity to
minimize the diversity of preferences caused by colonialism; (2) to further study the prevailing culture of the
Filipinos in view of nationalism to provide greater consideration for national security, cultural justice,
economic independence; and (3) to engage in providing any sort of literature or art that would aid the
dissemination of information for the desirability of possessing a national identity.


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