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Tall, blond, fair-skinned and sharp-nosed. This is the image a lot of Filipinos
carry in their heads of the ideal physical appearance that they dream of achieving.
This is in no small part due to the excessive admiration that Filipinos have for things
Western, particularly American. The stuff that mass media broadcasts only
propagates this stereotype. But let’s be honest with ourselves: whether it’s due to an
inborn inferiority complex or the inculcation of “foreign is better”• mindset into
millions of Filipinos ever since time immemorial, a lot of us have secretly wished to
be at least one of the traits I mentioned.

You can see it in job advertisements here in the Philippines: many employers
still look for certain physical requirements such as gender, height, body and age
specially the physical appearance. There is nothing wrong with narrowing the
potential applicants to a job down by listing specifics of what is required. What is iffy,
if not downright wrong, is including certain credentials or physical characteristics in
the requirements where they are not needed or not directly connected with the ability
to do the job. This is something that will fly over most Filipino’s heads.

That’s the reality of the business world, but discrimination is still a way of life in the
Philippines. Going back to the stereotype ideal I mentioned at the start, Filipinos
have nothing but awe for people who possess at least one of those physical traits.
This is why the mestizos/as and half-breeds are virtually worshiped by Filipinos for
their physical appearance alone!

Now, let’s take ourselves back to reality. The typical Filipino’s physical
characteristics are: of average height, dark-haired, dark-skinned, and snub-nosed. If
a Filipino happens to have any or a combination of these physical traits, particularly
the average height and the dark-skin, chances are he has been ridiculed for it.

Maliit (small), intsik (Chinese), negro (dark-skinned), and bumbay (referring to

Indians) – these constitute but a small sample of the discriminatory language
Filipinos are capable of. And yet their actions speak louder than those words. If you
stand out physically in the Philippines you may have gotten the stare from the locals.
They stare at people that stand out, and some of them even regard you with a bit of
Even religion isn’t safe from discrimination from Filipinos. In a country that’s
overwhelmingly Catholic, a person who is neither Catholic nor Christian will surely
elicit stares and premature judgments from Filipinos. And it’s a safe guess that even
among the various sects of Catholicism and Christianity here, they don’t necessarily
all get along well with each other. And the Filipino atheist movement? If their idea of
atheist is persecuting people for having a religion, instead of helping them to see
beyond religion, then why bother with another idea which Filipinos turn into utter