Given the geography and history of the Philippines; are Filipinos Asian, Hispanic, or Pacific Islanders? This is a vexed topic. Well, apparently the answer is yes in all the cases. Filipinos are Asian, Hispanic, as well as Pacific Islanders. However, in this write-up, we will address this question in some detail.
Filipinos Are Asian
In official documentation and sources, the Philippines has officially been listed as a Southeast Asian Country since forever.
The United Nations has officially placed the Philippines on the list of Asia-Pacific States.
Similarly, Wikipedia has listed the Philippines as a Southeast Asian country.
However, People usually do not cite Filipinos as Asians.
Reasons Why Filipinos Are Not Considered Asian
Mainly, for two reasons, Filipinos are not seen as Asians.
- For their connection to the west
- For their religion
This is because historically, the Philippines was Spanish and US-occupied. Because of the Spanish occupation, the country is mostly Catholic.
Deeper Level Analysis Whether Filipinos Are Asian or Not
However, we will geographically, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically analyze and see whether Filipinos resemble Asians or not.
Geographically, the Philippines is very close to Asian states. For instance, Taiwan, an East Asian country, is merely 100 miles away from the Philippines. Moreover, the distance from Japan (Asian state) to mainland China is greater than that of the Philippines to China (400 miles).
Thus, geographically, we cannot exclude the Philippines from the member-states of Asia. Thus, definitely, with respect to geography, Filipinos are Asian.
Today’s generation of Filipinos comes from the mixing of Spanish, Chinese, and Indonesian lineage.
According to a famous anthropologist Peter Bellwood, the first settlers of the Philippines came from Taiwan and China around 4000 BC. It means that Filipinos and Chinese share the same ancestors.
Since the sea migration became viable, the Philippines has always been a destination for Indonesians, Chinese, and other Asian immigrants. The mixture of these settlers and their generations is what we see today’s Filipinos.
So, ethnically, Filipinos mesh with Asians.
Filipinos’ culture and traditions are very much in line with a lot of other Asian countries.
For instance, giving respect to elders, celebrating almost the same festivals as that of other Asians, taking shoes off before entering a house, and similar food and cuisines i.e. rice, desserts, and drinks, etc.
Thus, culturally also, Filipinos resemble Asians.
The most spoken and widely understood language in the Philippines is Tagalog. It has its roots in Chinese, Mandarin, Japanese, Malay; having the influence of China, Malaysia, Spain, and America.
Tracing the origin of a particular language requires thorough study and research. However, some reputed sources underscore that the languages spoken in the Philippines are closely related to some Asian languages (as discussed above).
Given the linguistic similarities and origins, we can safely say that Filipinos are linguistically Asian too.
Are Filipinos Hispanic?
Hispanic refers to the people, nations, and cultures that have a historical link to the Spanish language or the country of Spain. However, more commonly it applies to the countries once remained under Spanish colonial possession.
Spain occupied the Philippines for a very long time. If we can call Mexico Hispanic because Spain has occupied it for around 300 years, i.e. from 1521 to 1821; then, by this definition, Filipinos are also Hispanic as Spain has occupied the Philippines even longer than Mexico, i.e. almost 400 years.
So, definitely, during that time, there has been a lot of Spanish Filipino mixing and intermarrying. Thus, their progeny today becomes Hispanic ethnically and by default.
Are Filipinos Pacific Islanders?
Well, geographically, the Philippines is located in the Pacific ocean. The country is basically an archipelago (group of islands) located in the Pacific ocean.
Thus, based on the geographical location of the Philippines, Filipinos are definitely Pacific islanders.
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