Filipino people of Spanish ancestry

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Filipino people of Spanish ancestry
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Total population
3,110 Spanish immigrants in the Philippines[1]
Filipinos with Spanish ancestry: unknown
Regions with significant populations
Metro Manila, Cebu City, Iloilo City
Languages
Mostly Filipino and English, some Spanish-speakers still exist
Religion
Roman Catholicism
Related ethnic groups
Spanish people, Filipinos, Filipino mestizos

Filipino people of Spanish ancestry are Filipino people whose ancestral make-up is either fully or partially of Spanish ancestry. These Filipinos are mostly descendants of the migrants to the Philippines during the colonial period, mixed with other Filipino ethnic groups such as Tagalog or Cebuano, among others.

Today, the actual percentage of Filipinos with Spanish ancestry is unknown, as is that of all other types of mestizos (Asian, American, Hispanic, etc.) that reside inside and outside of the Philippines. This is because past governments and the modern National Statistics Office do not account for the racial background or ancestry of an individual.

History[edit]

Background[edit]

Admixture has been an ever present and pervading phenomenon in the Philippines as early as the arrival of the Spaniards on the late 16th century. The arrival of Spanish abruptly halted the spread of Islam further north into the Philippines and intermarriage with Spanish people later became more prevalent after the Philippines was colonized by the Spanish Empire.[citation needed]

A Japanese, Indian, and Chinese presence had been recorded in the Philippines since the 9th century that mixed extensively with the local population.[2][3][4] During the Spanish colonial era, large-scale migrations of Chinese to the Philippines resulted in even more intermixing.

Spanish colonization[edit]

A Filipina of Spanish ancestry, in the 19th century.

The Spanish colonization in 1565, prompted the establishment of Spanish rule over the Philippines that lasted for about 333 years. Spanish people came mainly from Mexico and Spain, and the Philippines was ruled as part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, with its capital in Mexico City until Mexico's independence in 1821, when the Philippines started to be governed directly from Spain.

Early Spanish who were born in Spain (Peninsulares) and Mexican settlers (Criollos), the latter being mostly of either European or Mestizo heritage known as Americanos (Americans), were mostly explorers, soldiers, government officials, and religious missionaries, among others. Many of them settled in the islands and eventually married or inter-bred with the indigenous population.

In some provinces in Luzon, Mindanao and the Visayas, the Spanish government encouraged foreign merchants to trade with the indigenous population, but they were not given certain privileges such as ownership of land. From this contact, social intercourse between foreign merchants and Filipinos resulted in a new ethnic group. These group were called Filipino mestizos (mixed-race individuals). Some of their descendants, emerged later as an influential part of the Philippine society, such as the Principalía (Nobility).

Between 1565 and 1815, Hispanics from Mexico and Spain sailed to and from the Philippines as government officials, soldiers, priests, settlers, traders, sailors and adventurers in the Manila-Acapulco Galleon, assisting Spain in its trade between Europe and Latin America (Spanish America) and Latin America and the Philippines.

People of other ethnicities, such as Amerindians (Mexican Indians) and Africans, also settled in the Philippines after serving as members of the crew on Spanish ships. Some of these individuals married Filipinos of different ethnic groups and classes and integrated into Philippine society. This contributed to the assimilation of the Hispanics into everyday society and according to an 1818 census, about 1/3rd of the inhabitants of the island of Luzon were mixed with varying degrees of Spanish ancestry and that the vast majority of military personnel have Latin-American origins.[5]

Racial integration[edit]

As opposed to the policies of other colonial powers such as the British or the Dutch, the Spanish colonies were devoid of any anti-miscegenation laws. Moreover, the Catholic Church not only never banned interracial marriage, but it even encouraged it. The fluid nature of racial integration in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial period was recorded by many travelers and public figures at the time, who were favorably impressed by the lack of racial discrimination, as compared to the situation in other European colonies.

Among them was Sir John Bowring, Governor General of British Hong Kong and a well-seasoned traveler who had written several books about the different cultures in Asia, who described the situation as "admirable" during a visit to the Philippines in the 1870s.

"The lines separating entire classes and races, appeared to me less marked than in the Oriental colonies. I have seen on the same table, Spaniards, Mestizos (Chinos cristianos) and Indios, priests and military. There is no doubt that having one Religion forms great bonding. And more so to the eyes of one that has been observing the repulsion and differences due to race in many parts of Asia. And from one (like myself) who knows that race is the great divider of society, the admirable contrast and exception to racial discrimination so markedly presented by the people of the Philippines is indeed admirable."[6]

Another foreign witness was English engineer, Frederic H. Sawyer, who had spent most of his life in different parts of Asia and lived in Luzon for fourteen years. His impression was that as far as racial integration and harmony was concerned, the situation in the Philippines was not equaled by any other colonial power:

"... Spaniards and natives lived together in great harmony, and do not know where I could find a colony in which Europeans mixes as much socially with the natives. Not in Java, where a native of position must dismount to salute the humblest Dutchman. Not in British India, where the Englishwoman has now made the gulf between British and native into a bottomless pit."[7]

Language and Culture[edit]

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Spanish people
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Regional groups

Other groups
Diaspora
Languages

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Religion
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Most common languages spoken today are Tagalog (with many words borrowed from Spanish), and English, which is used in the public sphere. Many other Filipinos also speak other Philippine languages.

Today, only a minority of Filipinos speak Spanish, only some mestizos from older generations, those with links with Spain, America or other Spanish-speaking areas and recent immigrants, have preserved Spanish as a living spoken language,[8] although many Spanish cultural traits still remain, most notably the adoption of Christianity among the majority of Filipinos. Thanks to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a Spanish-speaking filipina the Philippine government has reinstated the instruction of Spanish at schools with a view to generalising its instruction nationally.

In addition, Chavacano (a creole language based largely on Spanish vocabulary) is spoken in the southern Philippines and forms one of the majority languages of Zamboanga Peninsula and Basilan.

Notable people[edit]

In the Philippines, there are some people who trace their roots back to the first Spanish settlers of the country through their surnames.[9] Due to the introduction of the Catálogo alfabético de apellidos in the mid-19th century, it has become increasingly difficult to validate ancestral claims made by those who hold Spanish surnames.[10] Today, some of those with precise ancestral ties can be found in politics, commerce, arts, entertainment industry and professional sports. Others have emigrated and later returned or settled down in another country.

Among the most notable Filipinos with direct Spanish ancestry are:

References[edit]

  1. ^ There are 3,110 immigrants from Spain according to INE, 2012-01-01 
  2. ^ Philippines History, Culture, Civilization and Technology, Filipino
  3. ^ The Cultural Influences of India, China, Arabia, and Japan | Philippine Almanac
  4. ^ Ancient Japanese pottery in Boljoon town | Inquirer News
  5. ^ Jagor, Fëdor, et al. (1870). The Former Philippines thru Foreign Eyes
  6. ^ L. Hunt, Chester, "Sociology in the Philippine setting: A modular approach", p. 118, Phoenix Pub. House, 1954
  7. ^ Frederic H. Sawyer, "The Inhabitants of the Philippines", p. 125, New York, 1900
  8. ^ "Race Mixing and Westernisation in Latin America and the Philippines". Analitica.com Venezuela. Retrieved 2002-08-23. 
  9. ^ France-Presse, Agence. "Spain’s Queen Sofia arrives in Philippines". 2 July 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "The semantics of 'mestizo'". 27 July 2012. GMA News. Retrieved 24 August 2013.