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The Emptiness of Pinoy Pride


BayanihanWhat does “Pinoy Pride” mean to the Filipino people? Is it that feeling when Manny Pacquiao comes into the boxing ring to grapple a foreign national? Is it that feeling one gets when he learns of an ordinary Pinoy winning an international talent competition? It has become the habit of the Filipino to say “Pinoy Pride” when he sees a famous half-Pinoy half-(insert other nationality) as if to associate himself to someone else’s success or power. It seems that “Pinoy Pride” is drained of its significance. There is no more substance in the pride that the Filipino is fond of talking about.

Does it make the Filipino proud when he is confronted with the truth that the only book he can flip through is Facebook? Does it make one proud to know that this community is fond of teasing someone who can read socio-political and socio-economic books? Whatever happened to Lualhati Bautista, Liwayway A. Arceo or Rogelio Ordonez? The Filipino may not even know these people and miserably mistake them for movie stars.

The Filipino is proud of himself for being a member of his community even though he is not in touch with his roots, culture and heritage. He allows it to get lost in history books while he deliriously chants “Pinoy Pride” to videos on the internet.

How about the Filipina? Does it make her proud to purchase a Louis Vuitton bag while completely ignoring the colorful, woven shoulder bags made by indigenous Filipino women back home?

The falseness of “Pinoy Pride” is born of 300 years of colonialism. Centuries of feudalism and servitude taught the Filipino to become submissive. Enslavement in our own country has turned us into weak beings that need someone else’s affirmation of our worth as people and as a nation. The heartbreak of colonialism has numbed the Filipino and has cultured in him colonial mentality that perpetuates the disfigurement of the Philippines.

The Filipino loves to associate himself with people of high prestige not knowing that this sense of pride is really a manifestation of his deeply embedded  national insecurity. When a foreign person comes over speaking pure English, almost always, the Filipino shies away, scared to engage himself in a conversation that would expose his broken grammar. The Filipino does not realize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! There is nothing wrong with how he speaks English since it is not even the Filipino’s first language.

We seldom hear “German Pride,” “Cambodian Pride,” or “Czechoslovakian Pride,” so what is it with “Pinoy Pride” and why do we always say it? Isn’t it insane? What is Pinoy pride? What is the Filipino proud about?

Perhaps we should take a step back and look at our ancestors. The Filipino must look up to the warrior named Lapu-Lapu and how he fought and resisted the Spanish tyrants from stepping onto our shores at Mactan. It resulted in our victory and, sadly for Spain, the death of Ferdinand Magellan and his crew. Just imagine the pride the people must have felt when the warriors defended their land against the first attempt at colonization!

Andres Bonifacio and his compatriots should be looked up to for the revolution they started. Barely in his twenties and without much of an education, Bonifacio managed to start and lead the Katipunan. He knew that each had the power to liberate a nation from oppression. Like Bonifacio, we must believe in the sovereignty of the Filipino. The Filipino must learn to say, “Enough is enough!” What kind of pride must our ancestors have felt when an “illiterate” young man paved a way for our independence from Spain? What did the revolutionaries do? They believed.

The Filipino must therefore believe in himself without the need to associate himself to someone outside of his realm.

The revolution of 1898 gave us our independence from colonization but its remnants still haunt our psyche up to this day. The Filipino’s attention gets swayed when he sees celebrities and politicians plastered onto mainstream media. He suddenly forgets to think whenever he sees a personality walking by. “Pa-autograph! Pa-picture! Artista!” are usually some of the expressions heard from the Filipino who had gotten so used to a mentality that glorifies the elite. Yet the Filipino rarely asks why the divide between the rich and the poor is so wide.

There are no easy solutions on how to purge colonial mentality but what we can do is to continue to build and strengthen our community. We must go back to our indigenous roots in order to rediscover what “Pinoy Pride” really is. We must learn to value ourselves and accept that there should be no one above us or below us. The Filipino must understand that he is not “Number 1” because he must understand that human beings are created equally. In this frame of thought, the Filipino is free to think outside of colonialism. He finally frees himself from this national insecurity.

The Filipino must realize that out of all cultures, languages and traditions, none can translate the word “Bayanihan“. It is a concept that only Filipinos will understand. It is more than just a word. It is what makes us who we are. The Philippines must not just be a geographical archipelago but instead become islands of a collective force to bring pride, protection and sovereignty over our nation. The Filipino must take action together to truly liberate himself.

Remember Lapu-Lapu and Bonifacio and the example they left us. Ang Pilipino ay hindi  dapat nagpapa-api. Hindi maaaring magpasakop kahit kanino man. Real pride can only come from a strong foundation on our history, culture and heritage. If the Filipino only took time to remove the threads and strands of colonial mentality, only then will he understand independence and realize that, to this day we are still not free.


About Hessed Torres

Woman. Colored. Migrant. Empowered. Canada

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