When I try to imagine what the Philippines looked like before the 1520’s, I always see an unclear image of a group of uncivilized people hunting or fishing or doing rituals. What was the archipelago really like during that time? They say we already had our own culture before the Spaniards and the Americans colonized the country, but they immensely influenced our culture. As a result, Filipinos developed the colonial mentality or the outlook that Filipinos are inferior to other races, which is present until today. This Filipino trait should be changed.
The Filipino culture we know has been influenced by different cultures. One example is the baro’t saya and barong Tagalog that originated during the Spanish era. A different country brands us and what’s worse is we accept it. We have even placed in our minds that a culture different from ours is better. Things made by other countries are better than things made by Filipinos. A lot of Filipinos do not listen to OPM. Even some Filipino singers prefer singing English songs. A lot of Filipinos do not watch local television shows and movies. A lot of Filipinos prefer clothes and food from other countries. We think that people from other races like Americans and Europeans are better looking than Filipinos. We visit landmarks in other countries yet we do not visit our own.
I’m not saying that influences from other countries should be ignored. They actually helped our country flourish. I’m also not saying that we should not appreciate the world outside the Philippines, but it doesn’t hurt to value our own culture more than others. It is actually more respectable if we do so. We should change our mentality towards ourselves and other people. We should be proud of the Filipino culture.