The Hispanic Identity of Filipinos: A Short History

This is a student guest blog post in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month and Filipino American Heritage month.

Author: Mark Francis Mabalatan ’21, Management and Political Science Major, 3+2 Master of Public Administration Program

333 years is quite a long time. For Filipinos, the 333 years the Philippines were subjugated to Spanish colonization were rife with conflict, both militarily and in identity. Like several other civilizations that first met Spanish conquistadors at their shores in the 15th and 16th centuries, the Philippines had unique, highly structured societies prior to European contact. These conflicts were exemplified by the story of The Battle of Mactan, where Ferdinand Magellan (Guillermo 261) was famously defeated by native datu (ruler) Lapu-Lapu (Guillermo 240), in my own ancestral province of Cebu (Guillermo 100). While the Battle of Mactan is a legend every Filipino is familiar with, the subsequent centuries gave way to a tidal wave of Spanish settlement, economic practices, and cultural rifts.

The first Spaniards in Cebu were 2,100 settler-soldiers from New Spain (Mexico), and the Philippines was administered as a Viceroyalty of New Spain until the end of Spanish rule in 1898. In that time, Spanish settlers changed almost every aspect of life on the islands. They changed our names. They changed our languages. They changed our religions. The effects of Spanish colonization were wide-ranging and emphatic, remaining to this day. So, is the Philippines a Hispanic country? Quite clearly, yes. But in the contemporary Hispanic consciousness, it is not understood as such – as if there was something that erased those 333 years of history.

As it turns out, the subsequent 48 years of American colonization is quite the eraser. The United States undertook an expedited process of undoing the Hispanization of the Philippines to make way for its Americanization of the islands. Despite this, the fact remains that the cultural DNA of the Philippines is Hispanic, making many aspects of the Filipino experience Hispanic and the experience itself Hispanic. The father of modern Philippines, José Rizal, wrote all his foundational works in Spanish. We tell time in Spanish. 80% of Filipinos are Catholic. The holiday known in the Philippines as Undas is a carbon copy of Dia de Muertos in Mexico and other Latino countries. Cebuano, also known as Bisaya and the native language of my family, contains thousands of Spanish words. However, the beauty of our culture is not derived from our colonization, but how we rose out of it. Distinctly Filipino music and dance styles such as Cariñosa, featuring dancers in brightly colored, flowing dresses called Maria Claras, bears a striking resemblance to jarabe tapatío of Mexico. Traditional Hispanic family values, including respect for elders, close family ties, and pride of the home country, are powerfully evident in many Filipino families.

Every year, October 1st to 15th serves as a metaphor for Hispanic identity of Filipinos. During this time span, there is a two-week eclipse of Hispanic Heritage Month, which lasts from September 15th to October 15th, and Filipino-American Heritage Month, which lasts the entire month of October— Hispanic, but not completely. History defines the present and the future, an axiom especially significant to ethnic groups. So what does Filipino history say about the country’s Hispanic identity? As Filipino-American sociologist Anthony Christian Ocampo, author of The Latinos of Asia: How Filipinos Break the Rule of Race, plainly states, “You can’t just forget the three-and-a-half century Spanish influence in the Philippines.”

See below for to learn more about the Hispanic identity of the Philippines, Filipinos, and Filipino-Americans:

Books

Bulosan, Carlos. America Is in the Heart: A Personal History. Vol. 2014 edition, University of Washington Press, 2014. EBSCOhost, https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=sso&db=e700xna&AN=1052322&site=ehost-live

Francia, Luis. A History of the Philippines: From Indios Bravos to Filipinos. Overlook Press, 2014. https://setonhall.on.worldcat.org/oclc/878963486 Request through ILL or Suggest for Purchase!

Guillermo, Artemio R. Historical Dictionary of the Philippines. Vol. 3rd ed, Scarecrow Press, 2012. EBSCOhost, https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=sso&db=e089mna&AN=413501&site=ehost-live&custid=s8475574&ebv=EB&ppid=pp_100

Ocampo, Anthony Christian. The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race. Stanford University Press, 2016. EBSCOhost, https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=sso&db=e000bna&AN=1115879&site=ehost-live

Rizal, José. El Filibusterismo: Continuacion Del Noli Me Tangere. Boekdrukkerij F. Meyer-Van Loo, 1896. Project Gutenberg, http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/30903

Rizal José. Noli Me Tangere. Project Gutenberg, http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/20228

Articles

Videos

Latinx Law Students Commemorate Centennial of 19th Amendment with Heritage Month Panel Event 

In the spirit of the “Mi Voz” initiative developed by the Unanue Institute, the Seton Hall University Hispanic Heritage Committee, and the Seton Hall Archives, we seek to spend this month creating connections, exploring resources, celebrating voices, and opening doors. We are pleased to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month with the first of a series of student guest blog posts written by members of  the Seton Hall Latin American, Latina/o/x, and Hispanic community.

The Seton Hall Latin American Law Student Association (LALSA)’s 5th Annual Sangria Social will occur Monday, Sept. 21st 4-6pm via Zoom.  Register to attend.

In celebration of Latinx Heritage Month and in commemoration of the centennial of the 19th Amendment’s, LALSA invites current students, alumni, friends, faculty, and allies to Women of Color in Political Movements: Celebrating an Under-Recognized Power 100 Years Later. Join us as we learn from and engage with our distinguished panelists for a discussion about the impact that women of color have made in political movements, the history behind Equal Rights Amendment, and the future of gender equality in politics and beyond. 

We are humbled by the opportunity to learn from the following panelists:  

  1. Professor Michael Coenen — Professor of Law at Seton Hall Law, and U.S. Constitutional Law Scholar  
  2. Professor Cathleen D. Cahill — Associate Professor of History at Penn State University 
  3. Kerlyn Espinal — New Jersey Department of Education – Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Cultural and Historic Commissions  
  4. Amelia Adams — Chair of 21 in ‘21 and New York Equity Advocates Advisory Board Member 
  5. Maria Del Cid-Kosso — Director of Legislative Services, Office of the Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Health 
  6. Assemblywoman Maritza Davila — New York State Assembly District 53 

Register for the event at this to receive program details and login information. 

Who We Are:  

The Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA) at Seton Hall University School of Law is a non-profit organization committed to the following goals: Fostering individual achievements; Providing necessary services to the law school community; Addressing legal issues of the minority community. 

Our mission is to educate the law school community on the benefits of diversity and create awareness of the challenges that Latino communities currently face.

LALSA achieves its goals by providing academic, professional and social support for all students by recognizing the achievements of Latino students and alumni, so that lessons may be learned, mentorship relationships created, and friendships established among the current LALSA members. 

Suggested Readings:  

One of our distinguished panelists, Dr. Cathleen D. Cahill, is an author and Professor of History at Penn State University. Her newest publication, Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement, will be published in November. LALSA is recommending this book for purchase by the SHU Libraries.

If you would like to make your own Latinx/Hispanic Heritage book suggestions this month, you can do so by filling out the Latinx Book Survey.  

If you’re interested in learning more, we have also collected the following amazing recommendations from our panelists: 

The following are titles SHU Libraries does not yet own. You can Suggest a Latinx Book Purchase or Request a Copy through Interlibrary Loan.

TV Show
One Day At A Time (Available on Netflix) not available for purchase by libraries due to licensing restrictions

Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15th to October 15th. For more information about the Seton Hall University Hispanic Heritage Month events and participants, visit the homepage.

Caribbean American Heritage Month

Happy Caribbean American Heritage Month! To learn more about Caribbean culture, life, and history, we partnered with SHU’s West Indian Student Organization (WISO) and compiled a list of reading recommendations. Below is a list recommended by Ijah Penn, the treasurer of SHU WISO. To see more reading recommendations, you can go on Instagram and follow #caribbeanreads, and you can get involved in SHU WISO or learn more about their organization by following their Instagram: shu_wiso

Additionally, Chelsea Barrett, Business Librarian and Africana Studies liaison, compiled a new Research Guide on Caribbean Studies. Please check it out and provide feedback!

1. Land of Love and Drowning (2014)- The author Tiphanie Yanique represents St. Thomas and the U.S Virgin Islands. The story is a book of twisted and dark family secrets that plague the Bradshaw women over 60 years in the early 90’s in the U.S Virgin Islands. The novel is available as a print book in the library.

2. Elizabeth Nunez is a Trinidadian author who writes about internal cultural and societal struggles and the complex identities of her characters reflect the turmoil of these challenges. Two of Nunez’s works listed below can be found in the SHU library catalog as ebooks: Even in Paradise (2016),  and Not Everyday Use (2014).

3. The Dragon Can’t Dance (1986) by Earl Lovelace is a novel that discusses the difficulty of postcolonial Trinidad. The story is told through one man’s preparations of an elaborate dragon costume for Carnival as he attempts to shed the struggles of his life after Emancipation.  This book can be found in print in the library.

5. A Brief History of the Seven Killing (2014) is written by Marlon James, who represents Jamaica. The novel is a suspense-filled fictional story about Jamaica’s history and the political climate of the 1960’s through the 80’s. This book can be found in print in the library.

6. Esmeralda Santiago is a prominent Puerto Rican author in the United States. She writes memoirs that encapsulate her own assimilation into this American culture and way of life, which allow others with similar experiences to relate and feel represented. Her writing showcases themes of self-discovery, immigration, working-class immigrant experience and biculturalism.

Below are just a few samples of her writing and contributions:

Esmeralda Santiago. “El Hombre Que Yo Amo.” Ploughshares, vol. 26, no. 2/3, 2000, p. 146. EBSCOhost. Link to Read Full Text.

Video: “Esmeralda Santiago discusses her novel When I Was Puerto Rican.”

More selections from Santiago’s writing are also available to read in this print book, Boricuas: Influential Puerto Rican Writings — An Anthology

 

#BlackBirdersWeek In Review

May 31-June 5, was the first ever #BlackBirdersWeek, a social media education campaign devised by Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, and co-founded by Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, Sheridan Alford, Danielle Belleny, Chelsea Connor, and Tykee James.

Announced on May 29th, the goal of the campaign was to bring awareness to the Black hobbyists, naturalists, scientists, who enjoy birding. It also sought to highlight the challenges and dangers that Black people face when participating in outdoor activities. The event was inspired by Christian Cooper, science writer, comics writer, and a Black bird watcher, who was involved in a racially charged incident in Central Park on May 25, 2020. Read more.

Some hashtags you can still look up to find great accounts, images, facts, and resources

#BlackBirdersWeek
#BlackInNature
#BlackWomenWhoBird
#BlackAFinSTEM

Some Black birders of note to follow on social media

Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman
Danielle Belleny
Chelsea Connor
Tykee James
J. Drew Lanham
Jason Ward   (Watch his Birds of North America series on Youtube) 

Articles by Black Birders

Black Birders Week (Inside Higher Ed)
Nine New Revelations for the Black American Bird Watcher (Vanity Fair) Birding While Black (LitHub)

Bird watching ebooks in our library catalog

Some prominent bird organizations that endorsed #BlackBirdersWeek
National Audubon Society
American Birding Association
American Bird Conservancy

Anti-Racist Readings

As members of an academic community, we strive to continually better ourselves and the world through learning and education. These books, recommended by academics and experts all around the world like Ibram X. Kendi, Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, may help you challenge your own internalized biases and understand the pervasiveness of racism in history that colors society to this day.

Read the University’s Statement Regarding Unrest Across the Nation.

Anti-Racism Readings in eBooks from the Library Collections

Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-Create Race in the Twenty-First Century by Dorothy Roberts

How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman

The Autobiography of Malcolm-X

We Have Not Been Moved: Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America

Black and Blue : the Origins and Consequences of Medical Racism

The Construction of Whiteness: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Race Formation and The Meaning of a White Identity

White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness by Ruth Frankenberg

“Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum

Uniting #SetonHall2020 and Beyond: Personal Narratives of COVID-19

The University Libraries partnered with Professor Angela Kariotis-Kotsonis in CommArts to develop the Personal Narratives of COVID-19 Oral History project this semester.

We continue to seek your stories of what this time has been like for you with the goal of staying connected as a community. Now that we have begun to receive submissions, we’d like to feature some from those in the 2020 graduating class and encourage more to submit their stories! Capture a 1-3 minute reflection of your experience during this time, and your narrative will become part of Seton Hall history.

Submit your narrative to the project.

Together Again: Select Personal Narratives from the Class of 2020

 

CommArts 16th Annual Student Art & Design Exhibition

Every year the Walsh Gallery hosts CommArts’ Annual Student Art & Design Exhibition. This year, despite the closure of the gallery due to COVID-19, we still want to honor the work of our students, especially some selections from students of the graduating class of 2020.

View the full digital exhibition at the_space.

Jonathan Petiote (SHU 2020)
Bioluminescent Jellyfish
Class: Drawing As Design
Professor Kolankowski
This project was to use Prismacolor colored pencils and create a luminescent bright colored environment in black paper. My focus was to have a setting of sea creatures such as jellyfish.Jellyfish are the types of sea life that makes colorful lights at the ocean.

Andrew Cates (SHU 2020)
Design Practicum
Professor Krus
This self-portrait series stemmed out of frustration with not being able to have a traditional graduation in May. I wanted to try and capture some of the emotion that myself and some other graduates would be feeling, and also show what a graduation would look like if it did happen right now. I hope I’ve showed some of the longing our graduating class feels for the reward of hearing your named called and walking across the stage with my current events take on the classic graduation portrait.

Claire Evans (SHU 2020)
Cooped Up
Social Impact Design
Professor Lhowe
Cooped up is a project visually and interactively communicating the plight of industrially farmed chickens. The aim is to bring the audience face to face with uncomfortable truths, inspire action, and promote awareness.

Luis Barreiros (SHU 2020)
Light in a Bottle
Design Practicum
Professor Krus
In this assignment I was tasked with making a design of anything I wanted while 3D modeling and render it with an animation. For this I chose to model a particle effect going into a bottle, once the light effect from the particles I was creating reached the bottle I made it so that it would “over flow” increasing the light intensity and basically “burn” the screen to end the animation.