Why I hate and can’t stand the term “Filipino” or “Philippines”.
Because it’s a name bestowed on our country and people that is still a heavy remnant of almost 400 years of colonization.
The term “Philippines” is a colonial name bestowed by our colonizer, Spain. The term “Filipino” isn’t what we were even called to begin with, the actual term was originally used for those who were born in the Philippines but were of Spanish descent. What they called us were simply “indios” or based on our ethnic groups name, but as a collective whole and what was most commonly used, we were called “indios”.
Where does the Philippines name come from? Originally, they named the islands, “Las Islas Filipina’s” after the King of Spain, Felipe II, who some considered a tyrant. Then when the U.S. bought us from Spain during the Treaty of Paris, and colonized us, they changed the name to “The Philippines Islands” as an English translation. Then eventually after they left, it was finally called, the Philippines or Republic of the Philippines. So even now since the 1500’s, we are still named after a Spanish King, a name bestowed upon during colonization, as a form of colonization.
So when fellow Filipino’s say they are so proud to be Filipino and love the Philippines, I cringe a bit inside, especially when I say it myself. Because we are just encouraging the name our colonizers bestowed on us and using “Filipino” as a term to refer ourselves to, which actually meant for those who are Spanish and born in the Philippines, which we aren’t. Point is, “Filipino nationalism” is a contradiction.
With that said, why is it that we still have that colonial name? Why haven’t we changed it yet to get rid of that remnant of our colonized past? There have been discussions and attempts to changing the name in the past. One was by then President Marcos who attempted to change it to “Maharlika”, however that never went through because of problems during Marco’s regime. Despite that though, there have been people today who want the name change that suggest the country be called Maharlika. However, the term Maharlika is rejected by many because the term was actually a social class of the Tagalogs before the colonization of Spain. It was a social class made up of the nobility and warriors, the “free people” who weren’t slaves or commoners. So calling the country Maharlika wouldn’t be right because majority of the people aren’t of nobility and aren’t warriors.