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Lorenzo

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This spring semester I took a History Junior Seminar, which was entitled: The Mexican Nationalist Discourse from foundation to independence. I took this class with little background on the aspect of the Spanish Empire's religious, economic as well as political policies in regards to its domains in Europe as well as in the New World. However, from the multiple readings that were assigned to us in class that dealt with the national discourse in Mexico, I also realized how rather intertwined the Philippine Islands were to the Spanish Latin American colonies in regards to trade. For centuries, the Philippines and the Vice-royalty of New Spain engaged in heavy maritime trade other wise known to historians as the 'Acapulco Trade', bringing rare and valuable commodities from the Far Eastern Orient such as Philippine Silk, porcelain, rice, mangoes, silver, gold, zinc, copper, hemp and coutless other sources.

It is rather impressive how, the Spanish were able to integrate the entire world market at the time due to Spain's shear military and religious authority being not only the largest land empire in Western Europe but also being the shield bearer of the Papacy and the self proclaimed 'Protector of Roman Catholicism in Europa'. I mean, if you think of it gold and silver were pouring from the New World from the Vice-royalties of New Spain, Peru and Gran Colombia to the Spanish ports and at the same time, silk, spices, raw material and oriental porcelain from the Philippines.

Evidently the Spanish recieved much from far flung exotic colonies such as the Philippines in terms of strategic positioning, man power, natural resources; however it should be noted that the influence and contribution the Kingdom of Spain played in the development of the present Philippine national character and patriotism is indispensible. Spain completely changed the face of the Philippine Islands, a South East Asian state, from one that was originally muslim, buddhist and animistic and composed of multiple warring rajanates (kingdoms) that ranged from the Sultanate of Lankadula in present day Manila, the sultanates of Bool, Mactan, Warai, Maguindanao and the mighty Sulu Empire in the south. Spain's arrival to the Philippines had an immediate effect on the political as well as social undertakings within the society in that her presence in the Philippines united the once 'war-like states' into one political entity. Since the 16th century the islands would be referred by Spanish Kings as "Las Islas Filipinas de Imperio de España Real" literally meaning : The Philippine Islands of the Empire of Royal Spain. The Spanish completely transformed the society that was originally south east asian in character to a European state in the realm of the Orient. Given, the Spanish were somewhat too conservative in their rule of the islands in the first half of the 16th, and 17th centuries, but became lenient in the development of a Filipino national consciousness during the 18th and 19th century. The Spaniards introduced the Romanized alphabet to the country and institutionalized the learning of Spanish, the reading of the bible as a means to prelate literacy throghout the archipelago and the adoption of Euro-Iberian names, particularly Spanish for all peoples who were born in the Spanish domain of the Philippines. They institutionalized Roman Catholicism and built hundreds of baroque-style churches throughout the island and built beautiful cathedrals in the name of the Saints in Christian Faith; inducing the local population to adopt the faith. The administrative and beaurocratic system utilized was identical to the once used in Portugal, and Spain and was effective in controlling the vastness of the Philippine Islands (7,100 islands) and successful taxation methods for the estimated ~10 million inhabitants of the archipelago until independence in 1898. In economic terms, they modernized the archipelago heavily during the 18th to late 19th century by introducing industrial plants, organized the agricultural and laboral force towards a centralized government, they strengthened the infrastructure by making multiple large ports that would open up to the Philippines and the local economy that opened up the Philippines to the world economy; linking the Philippines to trade with Great Britain and its domains in the Far East, Japan, Qing-administered China, Dutch East Indies, France, the United States, and Latin America. The Spanish also built multiple railways throughout the country and improved the transportation system in the hinterland, provided the foundation of medical systems, the concept of European Enlightenment and individual rights and the universality of that concept and most memorable of all, Law and Jurisprudence. All of these were mere tokens of the contributions Spain gave to the development of the Philippines.

Given this background, it is rather interesting to note that during the late 19th century when the Philippine intelligentsia rose up against the Spanish government and declared independence from their 300+ years of colonialism. One is left rather amazed on the foundations of Philippine nationalist sentiments; the need to rid the nation of European presence, the need to establish a government for the Philippine people and not for some far flung distant Imperial capital in Madrid. But when one thinks of it, it is impossible to COMPLETELY distance away from Spain. How can Philippine nationalist discourse claim such when we are, in essence, a product of Spain? The very language spoken in the Philippines, tho it may be Malay-based borrows heavily from the Castillian Spanish; the very religion that we as a people so proudly uphold was introduced by Spain; the very religious centers we pray in were built by the thousands of Spanish conquistadores and monastic prelates and friarships that molded the very foundation and image of the Philippines. The Philippines is in essence separate of Asia yet part of it. It is separate from Europe yet European in essence. There is no other nation in Asia that is 95% Christian and of that 95%, 90% are Roman Catholic; no other nation in the Orient maintains the proliferation of clearly Spanish names and upholds the societal etiquette that is profoundly Spanish.

To end this, the Philippine's Relationship to Spain is similar to that of the American relationship to the British. Tho we had historical rammifications, the latter is the product of the earlier. How can a child, the Philippines, distance itself from its own mother, España? Clearly it is evident that during the years after Spanish colonialism, the Philippines proceeded to rid itself of its colonial history, however, students such as myself think this process is rather unhistorical. Why does the educational system in the Philippines try to issue mandates whose goal is to erase the need to speak Spanish and distance the country and our 90+ million people from the Spain and the Latin American world? Though it may be painful for Filipino historians and novelists to acquiesce that we were colonized for almost 400 years by a European power, the amount of vindication we give to that fact will not reverse the facts. I personally believe that as the country matures towards industrialization and towards modernity, the nation open itself to the psyche that we are what we are because of Spain. True their colonial government over taxed the people, true they tried to limit the nationalist sentiments throghout the country in the 19th century, however it was they who established the environment where our people were united under one church, one government, one lingua franca and it was they who we eventually usurped power from. Nationalist discourse or is it national political/societal evolution? Do we as a nation consider ourselves Asian? European? Both?


300px-Bandera_03 - The National Character of the Philippines: European? Asian? Both? - Bohol Directory
19th centurian Philippine Flag: Nationalist Discourse in its tone.

n52000654_30385455_4231 - The National Character of the Philippines: European? Asian? Both? - Bohol Directory
Don Sebastián Hurtado de Corcuera, the Lord Vice-Royal Governor of the Philippine Islands and Guam during the late 17th to early 18th century. Under his rule, and royal edicts, the Philippines was transformed from a far flung south east asian state to a Spanish colony. Conversion to catholicism and the adoption of Spanish culture was manifeted under his leadership.

church-l - The National Character of the Philippines: European? Asian? Both? - Bohol Directory
San%20Agustin%20Church - The National Character of the Philippines: European? Asian? Both? - Bohol Directory
San Agustin Cathedral in Cuidad de Manila during the late 18th to early 19th century.
**Notice how Manila is extremely European---the only European city in the Orient---as evident of the Hispanization of the Philippines**

n52000654_30385797_2408 - The National Character of the Philippines: European? Asian? Both? - Bohol Directory
His Most Royal Majesty Emperor Philip II, Sovereign Lord of the Kingdom of Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Morocco, the Canary Islands, the Vice-Royalty of New Spain, Peru, Gran Columbia and the Oriental Philippine Archipelago and its domains.

This man was the very person the Philippines was named after by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. Hence the name 'Philip-pines'. Or in the vernacular linga franca of the 16th century it was referred to as *Las Islas Filipinas de Imperio de España Real*

+++++

What are your views, guys?? Share, please.  :)




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Lorenzo

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Re: The National Character of the Philippines: European? Asian? Both?
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2007, 12:26:57 AM »
Actually, now that I think of it, I remember having a conversation with Professor Haywood, who was the one that taught my history class entitled: Mexican nationalism---I remember having a conversation I had with her concerning Sr. Dr. Jose P. Rizal. Professor Haywood was a rather big fan of Rizal and tried to tell me the Spanish government's view of Rizal and its rather interesting.

She said that Rizal, as expressed in his books "El Filibusterismo" and "Noli Mi Tangere" expressed a general dislike towards the absolutist control the Friarships in the Philippines--and expressed how the friarships were feudalistic, owning and controlling thousands of haciendas and employing "Los Filipinos" in poor conditions. Professor Haywood said that the Spanish government at the time, was considering in liberalizing the Philippines as in---reducing the power the church would playin the region---and considered changing the Philippine's status as a territory of Spain into an actual "Provincia" of Spain. It was this time during the late 19th century that Spanish representatives in its parliament called for liberalization.

However, there were Filipinos who rejected the idea of becoming a Spanish province and instead becoming its own country, such was observed by the KKK and the eventual pro-independence movement.

It is a large sensitive issue, in Spain on whether Rizal himself called for independence OR called for the Philippines to become a province of Spain and recieve the rights and priveledges of Spanish citizens. And we know history...the Americans involved themselves and eventually took over the entire country..

Interesting huh?


Happy

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Re: The National Character of the Philippines: European? Asian? Both?
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2007, 06:45:57 AM »
Sa pagkatinuod lang, makahinumdum lang ko sa history kung makabasa ko pareha ani, makaingon ko nga, tuod diay no, mao mani among leksiyon sa una, pero pasultion ko, dili ko ka recall.. Nalumutan na intawon ang akong panumduman ug tinarbaho  :)
"There's no perfect life, but we can let God fill it with perfect moments"

Lorenzo

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Re: The National Character of the Philippines: European? Asian? Both?
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2007, 08:46:32 PM »
Well thats alright, mfrandsen, afterall it is history, however its good to read about it once a while---afterall it is OUR history, diba? Its rather interesting that in Spain today there is a longing for its old 'empire' and reaching out to former colonies. Sadly, I dont see a strong Filipino-Hispana relationships---its always Philippine-American or Philippine-Chinese.

Its really unfortunate, in my opinion, since the Philippines has been more influenced by Spain than any other country..

Happy

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Re: The National Character of the Philippines: European? Asian? Both?
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2007, 08:53:08 PM »
Thats true Onic, eventhough there are many filipinos in Spain but the bonding of Spain-Philippines is not the same as Philippine-American or Philippine-Chinese

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Re: The National Character of the Philippines: European? Asian? Both?
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2007, 08:59:02 PM »

Relationship between Spain and the Philippines is almost non-existent these days except for the presence of an embassy.

I have a feeling that many of today's Spanish nationals do not even know that their bastard ancestors once ruled over us.
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Happy

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Re: The National Character of the Philippines: European? Asian? Both?
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2007, 09:05:32 PM »
I remember when I was in grade 5, there was a spanish nationals who came to Getafe kay sister city daw.

Sa wala pa sila niadto, ang spelling sa among lungsud is Jetafe, sapag-abot nila ila gi -pa change to Getafe, para jud pareha sa Getafe city sa spain, after ato, wala na, mao ra sab to.

Lorenzo

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Re: The National Character of the Philippines: European? Asian? Both?
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2007, 09:45:57 AM »

That may be true Happy, probably because of the patriotism of our people in the independence movement. However, I will attest that Spain's influence on the Philippines is everlasting--from the social etiquette that is in place, the religious nature, the language and the outlook of the nation. Filipinos, like many Latin American countries and Spain maintain a very fatalistic view of society and the world. Some historians in the west, particularly in Spain and in Latin American countries would even argue that the Philippines is a 'Latin American country in Asia' or in colloquial term 'a lost province of Spain'.

Last I heard, when President Macapagal-Arroyo visited Spain--she was cordially invited to the Royal Palace to meet the Spanish monarch--who stressed to our President of the necessity to revert Spanish as a national language in the Philippines. There definately is a nostalgia for the Philippines in Spain---though there really is a lacking of the versa on the Philippine counterpart.

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Re: The National Character of the Philippines: European? Asian? Both?
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2007, 10:04:22 AM »
History is one of my  fave subject...ganahan jud ko sige basa ilabi sa Phil. history..at least naay tay kaalam diin ta naggikan.
Thanks Onic for the article..I learned a lot.

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Re: The National Character of the Philippines: European? Asian? Both?
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2007, 10:20:21 AM »

I'm glad you liked it buena! Glad to have shared a little history here and there. :)

Lorenzo

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Re: The National Character of the Philippines: European? Asian? Both?
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2009, 12:19:16 AM »
Let's revive this thread. Again, so what do you guys think?



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