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De Leon, Kiara Justine 2CHEM

Merelos, Samantha B.
Nario, Monica Liana L.
Filipinos with a Touch of Colonizers

Identity is the history that has gone into bone and blood and reshaped the flesh. Identity
is not what we were but what we have become what we are at this moment.
As we approach the new millennium and assess of who we Filipinos really are, we might
ask ourselves, "What do we stand for?
Origin, culture, language, religion and other characteristics are the major point that
defines ones identity. Naturally, when we talk about Filipinos, the things that come to our mind
are dark skinned, flat nosed, short people, and nomads. But they are known as hardworking and
family oriented.
During the pre-colonial time, there was already an existing culture of the Filipinos which
were not recognized by most of them. In one of Rizals studies, it is said that before the
Spaniards came, Filipinos had technology, trade, business, arts and they were inventors.So when
they arrived, they made good use of the quote I came, I saw, I conquered. Spain colonized the
Philippines with a cross and a sword. They colonized us because they wanted to spread
Christianity.The other objectives may have been to gain wealth through the spice trade in Asia,
and also to gain political power by conquering and laying claim to as many lands as possible.
Filipinos were colonized easily by the Spaniards because the Filipinos at that time didnt even
know they already had their own culture. Not to mention, they also lack in military capability.
The Filipino culture we know has been influenced by different cultures. The Filipino populace
accepted the Spanish Roman Catholic Christianity almost unquestioningly. The Spanish
authorities grouped the scattered Filipino population into clustered village settlements, where
they could more easily be instructed and Christianized under a friars eye. This paved the way
for the emergence of central and local government. Under the local government are alcaldia,
corregimiento, pueblo and barangay. These local offices are under the rule of Roman Catholic
Church where the villagers are subjected to engage in church related activities. Because of that,
the church gave a big impact to the lives of the villagers because it touched every aspect of their
lives. However, some Filipinos learned to recite the prayers and perform rituals without any idea
to their meaning. But they still defended the Catholic faith devotedly.
Through the church and its missionaries, the Filipinos learned new techniques and
procedures involving the cultivation of agricultural crops introduced from Mexico. This was
because the Spaniards did not like manual work. They thought it was shameful working in dirty
jobs. In addition to teaching the Filipinos new farming methods, the friars constructed Baroque-
style church structures. These structures are still found today everywhere across the country and
they symbolize the cultural influence of Spain in Filipino life. While it is true that the Spaniards
abused labor in the construction of the imposing Baroque-style sanctuaries for Roman Catholic
worship, it is also true that these same structures became the means by which Filipino artistic
talents were expressed. In this way, the Roman Catholic Church and religion influenced Filipino
architectural and building style, even as the rituals and festivities of the Church influenced
Filipino dances, songs, paintings, and literary writings. Through these influences, the Church
gave the Filipinos a lot of opportunities for both solemn rites and joyous festivities and
celebrations known as "fiestas". The Spanish friars also introduced education. King Philip IIs
Laws of the Indies dictated the Spanish missionaries to educate the natives by teaching them how
to read, write and communicate with the locals. Although they were required to teach Spanish
language to the natives, they reasoned that it would be easier for them to learn the local
languages first than trying to teach Spanish to all the Filipinos. Since the Spanish system of
education was opened to all, it increased the literacy of the Filipinos. As a result of increasing the
number of educated Filipinos, a new social class emerged, that came to be known as the
Ilustrados. The influences from Spain have become permanently embedded in Filipino culture.
The Filipino people themselves have manifested them. They cannot be undone anymore. For
good or bad, they have brought the Filipinos into the world of Spanish culture, into the world of
Spanish civilization and its products.
The business transaction of the Americans with the Spaniards brought the Americans in
the Philippines. Since they have a business with the Spaniards, they used it as a tactic to colonize
the Philippines gradually. The Philippines, under Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo, had
already begun a revolution against Spain.
Events moved quickly in 1898. After the sinking of the "Maine" at Havana harbor, the
United States declared war in April. In May, Commodore George Dewey destroyed the Spanish
fleet in Manila Bay and the U.S. returned Aguinaldo from exile in Hong Kong. Both men
thought that U.S. policy promised independence for the Philippines. In June, Philippine
revolutionaries declared independence, but U.S. troops occupied Manila in August. In December,
Spain signed the Treaty of Paris ending the Spanish American War and surrendering Spanish
colonies, including Puerto Rico and the Philippines to the U.S. In February 1899, the United
States Senate approved the Treaty without the support of President McKinley, but not without
heated debate. What the U.S. called an "insurrection" had begun in the islands earlier in
February. The conflict became the brutal Filipino-American War that officially lasted until 1902.
By 1902, a U.S. Commission had installed a civil government in Manila to promote American
culture and Protestant Christian values.
America has a huge influence on the culture of the Philippines. The easiest connection to
see between the two countries would be the fact that both have a form of a republic. The
Philippine government is just a republic while America has a constitutional republic.
Subsequently, when the United States took over the Philippines, the people began to be free to
join whatever religion they wanted. During the Spanish rule, the Catholic Church was
established as the national religion and was strongly enforced. Because of this new found
religious freedom, there began to be many different churches besides Catholicism. Today, its
remarkable to see just how many different Christian churches there are in the Philippines. This
religious diversity has become a big part of the culture. Americans also introduced the idea of
free education to the Philippines. The United States even sent teachers to help establish schools
where the Filipino children could have a free education. During this time, English began to be
taught in the schools, and this is the language that the teachers would use. The Americans
colonized the Philippines in the nineteenth century, and decolonized in the twentieth, but their
cultural and governmental influence still remains today.
After the Americans, Japan came to the Philippines. This event was called the Japanese
occupation which occurred between 1942 and 1945, when the Empire of Japanoccupied
the Commonwealth of the Philippines during World War II. When Japan conquered Manila on
January 2, 1942, on the next day, it constituted its Military Administration headed by a director
general. Lt. Gen. Masaharu Homma, Commander in Chief of the Japanese Imperial Forces, was
instrumental in the establishment of this administration. A proclamation was issued by the
Imperial Japanese Government as to the immediate use of war notes (military pass money)
issued by the Japanese. Earlier on February 17, 1942, Homma decreed that the fundamental spirit
of education was to make Filipinos understand the position of the Philippines as a member of
Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere and to lead the people to take the share of establishing a
New Order.
The reorientation of schools, the development of national language, the teaching of
Nippongo, the promotion of arts and letters were, thus, in the official Japanese and Philippine
thinking, motivated by a return-to-the Orient philosophy in the desire to help evolve a distinctly
new Philippine culture.
Japanese occupation of the Philippines was opposed by large-scale underground and
guerrilla activity. The Philippine Army continued to fight the Japanese in a guerilla war and was
considered a back-up unit of the United States Army. Their effectiveness was such that by the
end of the war, Japan controlled only twelve of the forty-eight provinces. The major element of
resistance in the Central Luzon area was furnished by the Hukbalahap (Hukbo ng Bayan Laban
samgaHapon- Peoples Army Against the Japanese), which armed some 30,000 people and
extended their control over much of Luzon.
Most of the Filipinos today would not appreciate the contributions of the Japanese to our
country since these foreigners were said to be the most brutal. During the Japanese occupation of
the Philippines, when a Moroswordsman attacked the Japanese in a juramentado, the Japanese
would massacre the man's entire family or village. Another instance of Japanese brutality is
when the Manila massacre of February 1945 resulted in the death of 100,000 civilians in
the Philippines. It is estimated that at least one out of every 20 Filipinos died at the hands of the
Japanese during the occupation.
During the occupation, Filipinos remained loyal to the United States of America, thus
these Americans helped us fight the Japanese forces and soon we claimed what is rightfully ours
once again.
To this day, Spanish, American and Japanese traces of colonization is still evident
thereby the Filipinos are confused as to who they really are. One would lead to thinking, What
would have happened if we were left alone and these colonizers never set foot on our land? and
How come we remained a third-world country while those countries whom we were once in par
with arose and was able to develop their economy, leaving us undeveloped? It is still difficult to
identify ourselves as Filipinos because of these colonizers; however, it should not stop us from
creating our own identity. Most foreigners those were able to visit the Philippines oftentimes say
that the Filipino are very hospitable people and that we are very happy and lively no matter what
situation we are going through may it be calamity or disasters. The Philippines may be little in
the eyes of those countries whose economy is successful, but the hearts of the Filipino people are
the big in terms of humane actions. By just being who we are, we can establish our identity and
somehow differentiate ourselves from those of the others. In Jose Rizals writing called, To The
Filipinos, it was written that if this book succeeds in awakening in you the consciousness of our
past, which has been blotted out from our memories, and in rectifying what has been falsified by
calumny, then I will not have labored in vain, and with this foundation, tiny as it may be, we can
all dedicate ourselves to studying the future. In other words, our past would be the best way to
know us and that we can move on with our future with the past in mind.