Thursday, April 2, 2009

Do you Consider Yourself a Filipino?

"I think history is inextricably linked to identity.

If you don't know your history, if you don't know your family, who are you?"

Definitely, I am a Filipino.

Brown skinned, rounded eyes, short. Like any pinoy would look like.

More than what I look, I am born and raised in the Philippines, speaks Filipino and Capampangan, understands Ilokano and Zambal.

And if that's not convincing enough, I ate (and continues to eat) rice practically my whole life -arguably, the deciding factor whether a man is Filipino or not.

But what really makes a Filipino? Is it the blood? the heritage? or is it the lifestyle?

What if a French native considers himself a Filipino because he speaks Filipino fluently, would he be a NoyPi?

What if a very rich Pinoy who practically uses English her whole life cannot speak Filipino well, considers herself American, and lived her whole life in USA, would she be a NoyPi?

Wikipedia describes a Filipino as "a citizen of the Philippines and calls himself Pinoy". If i'm going to apply wiki's definition, the French national would then be a Pinoy and the Pinay would not be a Noypi.

But if im going to classify them both, i'll say that the French guy is a naturalized Pinoy and the Pinay will still be a Pinoy no matter what; making both of them Pinoy. The more Pinoys, the merrier di ba?

I asked an online pal in Myspace if she considers herself a Filipino. She answered, "I consider myself as a Filipino more than an american, even though i was born here in the states. The reason for that is because My whole image is as a filipina girl. Doesn't matter what culture i was raised in, (American) Image counts more than anything else. I embrace my culture as well as the american culture because it is who i am! In all accuracy, I am a Filipino American."

For her, it's the image she portrays that makes her a Filipina. I do agree with her, it's in the image AND the outlook which makes a person Filipino. And living your life the "Pinoy Style" would gladly help in doing so.
I also asked my cousin, who particularly lived all his life in the States, if he considers himself a filipino. He answered yes, because he was born a filipino, both his parents are filipino and he somehow lived a filipino life. He's more fluent in Ilocano than in Tagalog though. But at least he still considers himself a filipino..

I saw Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz' You know You're Filipino in this posh bookstore and immediately, it caught my elusive attention. It's a compilation of forwarded e-mails of traits which makes Filipinos stand out in a crowd. Composed of eleven categories, it's as if a checklist you have to answer and depending on how many traits you have, you get a score on how truly a Filipino you are.

I'll list some of them, which i know applies to you, me and any typical Filipino in this world.

Family Matters

Your middle name is your mother’s maiden name.

Your parents call each other “Mommy” and “Daddy.”

You have uncles and aunts named Boy, Girlie, or Baby.

You have relatives whose nicknames consist of repeated syllables, such as, Jun-Jun, Ling-Ling, and Mon-Mon.
You call the parents of your friends and your own parent’s friends “Tito” and “Tita”.

You greet your elders by touching their hands to your forehead.

The prospect of sending your elderly parents to a nursing home is inconceivable.

You abide by your parents’ house rules even if you are over 18.

You live with your parents until-and at times even after-you’re married.

You think nothing about hosting a houseful of balikbayan relatives for weeks on end-and can still smile about it.

You demand that your children sing and dance to amuse your friends and relatives.

Where we live

You decorate your living room wall with your family’s framed diplomas and certificates and plaques.

On your living room wall you display a shield bearing “The weapons of Moroland” alongside a giant wooden rosary and wooden tinikling dancers or Ifugao heads.

You decorate your dining room wall with a giant wooden spoon and fork and a picture of the Last Supper.

You keep a Sto. Nino shrine in your living room.

You keep a statue of a big, fat, laughing Buddha-with those pesky little kids crawling all over him-for good luck.

Your house has a “dirty” kitchen and a “clean” kitchen.

You recycle plastic shopping bags as garbage bags.

You use a bolo to cut grass in the yard.

You keep a tabo in your bathroom.

You used a halved coconut husk to polish the floor.

Health and Hygiene

You prescribe a ginger brew and a salt mouthwash to treat sore throats.

You use Vicks Vapor Rub as an insect repellant.

The way we eat

You eat with your hands.

You think a meal is not a meal without rice.

You use your fingers to measure the water you need to cook rice.

You can’t eat a meal without using a spoon with your fork.

You don’t need a knife to cut your food.

You think sandwiches are snacks, not meals.

These are Filipino BBQ. These are grilled and sold in the streets. These are dipped in vinegar before these are eaten.

Addidas – chicken feet
PAL – chicken wings
IUD – chicken intestines
Helmet – chicken heads
Betamax – chicken blood
Walkman – pig’s ear
You recycle bottles into water containers and store these in the fridge.

Your pantry is never without Spam, Vienna sausage, corned beef, and sardines.

You love to eat what others mistakenly refer to as “rotting fish.”

You prop up your knee while eating.

You can’t enjoy a meal without patis, toyo, vinegar, banana ketchup, or bagoong.

You eat fried chicken with ketchup and unripe fruit with giant salt crystals.

You eat fried Spam and hot dos with rice.

You like sweet spaghetti.

You like “dirty” ice cream.

You eat purple yam ice cream.

The way we drive

You hang your left arm out the window and wave your hand to signal a left turn.

You hang a rosary on your car’s rear view mirror.

You can squeeze 15 passengers into your five-seater car without a second thought.

The way we pray

You spend Holy Week either performing acts of penitence or vacationing.
You get together with family at a cemetery on All Saint’s Day to eat, drink, and tell stories by your loved ones’ graves.

You can crack jokes, play cards or mahjong, and drink beer at funeral wakes and not feel irreverent.

You think the Christmas season begins in September and ends in January.

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a parol and a belen.

There are at least 50 people on your Christmas gift list.

You unwrap Christmas presents so carefully, so you can reuse the wrappers and bows for next year.
You touch your chin with your thumb every time you make the sign of the cross.

You make the sign of the cross every time you pass a church.

The way we travel

Your second piece of luggage is a balikbayan box.

You collect items from airlines, hotels, and restaurants as “souvenirs.”

You feel compelled to give “pasalubong” to all your friends and relatives each time you return from a trip.

The way we shop

You can’t make a purchase without haggling.

It’s an absolute must to go to duty-free shopping even when you’ve come home with several balikbayan boxes.
You use paper foot outlines when buying shoes for friends and relatives.

Pinoy body language

You point with your lips.

You scratch your head when you don’t know the answer.

You smile all the time for no reason at all.You ask for the bill at a restaurant by making a rectangle in the air.

The way we speak

You can use ambiguous words like “kwan” and “ano” and yet be perfectly understood by another Filipinos.

You love to use the following acronyms:

CR for comfort room
DI for dance instructor
DOM for dirty old man
TNT for tago ng tago
KJ for kill joy
KSP for kulang sa pansin
OA for over reacting
MU for mutual understanding
TL for true love
BF for boyfriend
GF for girlfriend

You say “Uy!” or “Aray!” instead of “Oops!”

Instead of “I beg your pardon?” you say “Ha?”

You refer to power interruptions as “brownouts.”

You “open” or “close” the lights.

The way we are
You’re always late.

You cope with serious situation by turning it into a humorous one.

You’ll go into debt for a celebration.

You like everything imported.

You always prefer to sit in the shade than bask in the sun.

You use an umbrella in fair or foul weather.

You love ballroom dancing and karaoke.

You hang your clothes out to dry.

You love to laugh at yourself and at others.

After that long list, i have some more from another source.

Most Filipino women / young women own a LOT of shoes! They will also never wear more than half of them again.
Cokes are reserved for visitors to your house.
Your mother / grandmother's most precious item is her sewing machine.
You buy 25 lb. bags or rice and gallon jugs of soy sauce.

Trying to explain to people why Philippines starts with "Ph" and Filipino starts with "F".

Your grandparents leave the TV on even when nobody watches it.

The exact same artificial christmas tree with the same ornaments, year after year.

Your parents try to get you to go on a date with a child of one their friends.

And some more...
You only buy Christmas cards after Christmas, when they are 50% off.
When there is a sale on toilet paper, you buy 100 rolls and store them in your closet or in the bedroom of an adult child who has moved out.
Your stove is covered with aluminum foil.

Your kitchen has a sticky film of grease over it.

You use the dishwasher as a dish rack.

You have never used your dishwasher.

You eat all meals in the kitchen.

You save grocery bags, tin foil, and tin containers.

You always leave your shoes at the door.

You have a piano in your living room.

You pick your teeth at the dinner table (but you cover your mouth).

You twirl your pen around your fingers.

You hate to waste food....

(a) Even if you're totally full, if someone says they're going to throw away the leftovers on the table, you'll finish them.
(b) You have Tupperware in your fridge with three bites of rice or one leftover chicken wing.
You don't own any real Tupperware-only a cupboard full of used but carefully rinsed margarine tubs, takeout containers, and jam jars.

You have a collection of miniature shampoo bottles that you take every time you stay in a hotel.

The condiments in your fridge are either Price Club sized or come in plastic packets, which you save/steal every time you get take out or go to McDonald's.

You never order room service.

You fight over who pays the dinner bill.

Your dad thinks he can fix everything himself.

You majored in something practical like engineering, medicine or law.

When you go to a dance party, there are a wall of guys surrounding the dance floor trying to look cool.

You live with your parents and you are 30 years old (and hey they refer it that way). Or if you're married and 30 years old, you live in the apartment next door to your parents, or at least in the same neighborhood.

Your parents' house is always cold.

You reuse teabags.

Your mom drives her Mercedes to the Price Club.

You always look phone numbers up in the phone book, since calling Information costs 50 cents.

You only make long distance calls after 11 pm.

You have acquired a taste for bittermelon (ampalaya).

You prefer your shrimp with the heads and legs still attached-it means they're fresh.

You always cook too much.

If you don't live at home, when your parents call, they ask if you've eaten, even if it's midnight.

You e-mail your friends at work, even though you are only 10 feet apart.

Your parents send money to their relatives in the Philippines.

You eat every last grain of rice in your bowl, but don't eat the last piece of food on the table.

You know someone who can get you a good deal on jewelry or electronics.
You never discuss your love life with your parents.

Your parents are never happy with your grades.

You save your old Coke bottle glasses even though you're never going to use them again.

You keep used batteries.

Your toothpaste tubes are all squeezed paper-thin.

Your relatives either work in medicine or real estate.

OK, enough of that listing. The important thing is we know, we Filipinos are unique and we (and our peculiar traits) stand out in crowds, no matter what.

Then, what defines a Filipino?

Blood. Culture. Outlook. Lifestyle.

But more than what defines a Pinoy, it's more important to be proud of your heritage and live your life - Pinoy Style.

This is one of my journal entries submitted to Mr. Cardenas' class in Sociology 10.. I posted it somewhere and apparently, I got some few good reviews from other bloggers.. So I might as well post it inmy personal blog.. Enjoy!

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