Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Philippines as a unique nation

Geographically, the Philippines is in Asia, but by race and culture, the Filipinos are a harmonious blend of East and West. Our Western heritage, largely acquired from Spain and America, has made us distinctly different from other Asian nations.

The Philippines, a democratic country in Southeast Asia that declared its independence from Spain on June 12, 1898 but only obtained its full sovereignty on July 4, 1946, has a total land area covering 300,000 square kilometers (115,830 sq. miles) and distributed in 7,107 islands. According to the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority, 15,854,922 hectares or 53 percent of the country's total land area were forest lands while the remaining 14,145,078 hectares or 47 percent were alienable and disposable lands as of December 2000. The three major island groupings are Luzon (7 regions, 38 provinces), Visayas (3 regions, 16 provinces), and Mindanao (6 regions, 25 provinces).

Unique in the World

The Filipinos are also the only nation in Asia who speak English and Spanish and have a literature written in these two foreign languages. As a matter of fact, Filipinos take pride in being the third largest English-speaking nation in the world.
The Philippines is the most literate nation in Southeast Asia. The main cause for the high literacy in the Philippines is the passionate love of Filipinos for education. As the last governor-general of the Philippines, Frank Murphy, said: "No people ever accepted the blessing of education with more enthusiasm than the Filipino." -Kira Blank

What's unique in the Philippines?

Most Asian countries around you ( you naively call them "Asian brothers and sisters") are 'masungit', racist and brutally nationalistic. They do not like foreigners/other races there- even (or especially) other Asians ( unless very very rich). Not you. You are the only ones that like foreigners to come and stay, and not only because of money; you just accept them as one of your own.You mingle with them, make friends with them and marry them.

You are the only Asian country that is so nice. If children are of mixed race, you love them and accept them.Other Asian countries around you reject them and discriminate against them.

Then, culturally, you really do not belong anywhere and no one is like you. Your face is Asian, but your name is Jonalyn Rodriguez, Nilton Atienza, etc. An Asian should have a name like Ping Ling Tong, Or Byun Hyun Moon, or Said Faisal Bek, or Hiroshi Yamamoto.

I met Filipinos with German, Dutch and Polish last names. Swanson, Volks, Nayre.

Jaworski? Who else would have a senator like that in Asia? Only you.

And a Christian Asian? An Asian should be a Buddhist or a Hindu or a Muslim. Strange. Who else is like you? Nobody.

You have an Asian appearance, think and write like Americans, but have a warm , passionate, irrational Spanish/Latin heart. Anybody else like that? Americans are not like that; Asians are not like that.

You also do not belong with other Spanish colonies because very few people in your country speak Spanish. What kind of Juan Rodriguez does not speak Spanish? Only you.

Most people in Asian countries around you have stone-like faces with no expressions, and cold, cold hearts, but your faces move and eyes move and you use your hands when you talk, just like Italians or Spaniards. Who is like that? Only you.

So, what is so unique about you? You can just try and look for any other country that is like you and you will not find it.

Well, on the second thought, maybe, East Timor is like you- another Christian/Catholic, Asian, Latin nation but it is still very new and not known. And maybe Guam- people there are also English/ Austronesian- speaking Jose Rodriguezes. But in the real mainstream big nations' family, you are unique, all right.

Actually Filipinos are predominantly Christian in the Asia region where other nations are Islamic, Buddhist, Shinto, Confucian, polytheistic, and animistic in beliefs. The Philippines has served as Christianity's lone citadel beneath Asian skies and the light from which the gospel of Jesus Christ has been preached to other Asian countries.

The Philippines is the first Republic in Asia, being the first Asian nation to achieve independence by revolution and establish a Republic, led by Emilio Aguinaldo in 1898 -1901. It was the first Southeast Asian nation to secure independence by the voluntary decolonization of a colonial power after the 2nd World war in 1946. It led the world in waging a "People Power" revolution to oust a dictator by peaceful and prayerful means in 1986.

The Filipinos are unique for culturally assimilating four heritages- the indigenous Asian, the European, the Latin and the American heritage. Our history is indeed unique for the variety, the intensity and the duration of our historical, cultural and scientific relations with other nations. As many foreigners notice, Filipinos easily accept and adjust to any culture. Our openness to outsider enable us to understand and be understood by other nation easily.


The National Statistics Office (NSO) placed the Philippine population at 79.5 million at the start of 2002. This number is expected to grow by 1.7 million or over 2 percent annually to 81.2 million by the end of 2002. This makes the Philippines the world's 14th most populous country in the world behind China, with 1.3 billion people; India, 1 billion; United States, 288 million; Indonesia, 218 million; Brazil, 176 million; Pakistan, 149 million; Nigeria, 147 million; Russia, 143 million; Bangladesh, 136 million; Japan, 127 million; Mexico, 100 million; Germany 82 million; and Vietnam, over 81 million. About 93 percent of the Philippine population is Christian, while the rest belongs to Islam and other religions. In 1799, Spanish historians said there were only 1,502,574 people living in the Philippines.

The National Statistics Office projects the Philippine population to be 94,013,200 in 2010.

Contrary to popular beliefs that women were as twice as many as men in the Philippines, the NSO said there are in fact more men than women in the country. In its latest estimate for 2002, the NSO said there were some 40 million Filipino men and 39.5 million Filipino women, resulting in a population discrepancy in sex of half a million.

In a survey conducted by Social Weather Stations (SWS) in November 2001, 57 percent of the 1,200 respondents said they were very proud to be Filipinos while 34 percent claimed they were proud of their national identity. Only 9 percent said they were not proud and 1 percent claimed they were not proud at all of becoming Filipinos. The respondents also cited the following qualities of the Filipinos: God-centered, industrious, faithful, has convictions, responsible, peaceful and law-abiding, and loving and caring.

According to the book Top 10 of Everything, the Philippines had the world's 5th largest Christian population. As of 2000, the Philippines reportedly had 72.225 million Christians, comprising 93 percent of its total population then. Countries with larger Christian populations than the Philippines were the United States, Brazil, Mexico, and China. Most Filipinos remain Catholics. The Protestants comprise only 8 percent of the population although they were growing at a faster rate than any other religion in the country.

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