Philippines

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Clear blue river on the Philippines island of Mindanao is nicknamed the “Enchanted River”

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A handful of sky deities from Philippine Mythology.

Mayari, the one-eyed moon goddess of war and beauty, Tala and Hanan, the morning and the evening stars, the protectors of the moon, and Libulan, a lunar deity, and his husband, Sidapa, slayer of Bakunawa the moon-eater.

Spanish colonialization has erased many of the Philippines’ lore and folktales. Out of the hundreds of poems and epics written, only two remain. The rest are lost  to the flames of Spanish priests. (Yet we treasure what we have.)

The Philippines was the first country in Asia to have ever rebelled against European colonizers.

today is the last day of buwan ng wika, or the month where Filipinos celebrate our heritage. Maligayang Buwan ng Wika!! 

Before you say you made a Filipino character or headcanon a character as Filipino

Please ask yourself what kind of Filipino exactly.

There are at least 175 ethnolinguistic groups (or ethnolinguistic nations, if you prefer the term) in the Philippines — quite an impressive number for such a small archipelago, yes? — with their own distinct languages, cultures and traditions, yet I keep seeing the same vaguely Catholic, Filipino-speaking flavorlessly pan-Filipino characters running around. Why?

Filipino is more of a national allegiance than an ethnic identity. Filipinoness is not a monolith. There is no such thing as just a Filipino. Filipinos are regionalistic and intensely clannish, and might even be antagonistic towards each other. For example: Tagalogs and Cebuanos are going to be different from each other and they will gladly tell you so, and these are both lowland-coastal Catholic ethnic groups.

To put things into perspective:

As was previously said, there are over 175 ethnolinguistic groups in the Philippines, only twelve of which number over one million members. Namely and in order from most to least populous: Cebuano, Tagalog, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Central Bicolano, Waray, Kapampangan, Albay Bicolano, Pangasinense, Maranao, Maguindanao and Tausug. The first nine are predominantly Catholic and the last three are predominantly Muslim. Each group speaks a different language and adheres to its own set of traditions.

The majority of Filipinos are from lowland-coastal Catholic (or some other Christian denomination) ethnic groups that have been subject to Spanish colonization, but there is also a sizeable and growing Muslim minority that had never been under Spanish control with cultures quite distinct from their Catholic brethren; might I add that the arrival of Islam predated the arrival of Catholicism in the Philippines? There are also the indigenous peoples that comprise over 100 ethnic groups but only an estimated 3% of the population. The term is a misnomer — the vast majority of Filipinos are indigenous — and what they mean to say is non-Hispanicized, non-Christianized, non-Islamicized, mostly upland/highland or hinterland-dwelling ethnic groups. There are exceptions, though, and some groups that are otherwise classified as indigenous peoples have largely converted to Christianity (i.e. Ibanag) or Islam (i.e. Sama-Bajau). The lines can be arbitrary. There can be any number of mixtures and overlaps between these three major groups.

Then, there are immigrant and mixed populations, such as the Spanish mestizos (who, contrary to popular belief, are a small minority of the population), Filipinos of American descent, Chinese-Filipinos, Japanese-Filipinos, Indian-Filipinos, Koreans and Indonesians. Of course, they will have their own culture and traditions. Some of these groups have been here for centuries and, as such, have adopted a syncretized culture that combines the foreign culture with Philippine culture, leading to even more diversity.

The Chinese-Filipino community alone is already very diverse in itself. It is very old, with contact between the people of what would become China and the Philippines being established since the 9th Century BCE and immigration taking place as early as then. Roughly 2% of the population of the Philippines is Chinese-Filipino and up to 27% is of Chinese descent. Within this group, you can have different combinations of place of origin, ethnicity and social status in China, wave of immigration, method of and reason for immigrating to the Philippines, number of generations from the mainland, and where they settled in the Philippines and level of insularity vs. integration, and each configuration is going to be different, wildly or mildly, from the others. Some are going to be very similar to the surrounding community while some would be practicing and preserving traditions which are long gone and forgotten even in its native China.

tl;dr: The Philippines is ridiculously diverse for such a small collection of rocks by the Pacific. Disabuse yourself of the notion that you can simply say a character is Filipino and be done with it. Choose one and research.

The same applies to any ethnic group or race which you may wish to write or headcanon.

nytimes.com
Florence Finch, Unsung War Hero Who Took On Japanese, Dies at 101
During World War II, Mrs. Finch quietly undermined Japan when it occupied the Philippines, and was tortured for it. Then she quietly raised a family in the United States.
By Sam Roberts

“Women don’t tell war stories like men do,” her daughter said.

Finch described her heroic feats - supplying fuel to Filipino rebels, sabotaging supplies, smuggling food to prisoners, and enduring torture after she was captured - with the utmost modesty. Almost nobody knew she was a Coast Guard veteran, or that in 1947 she had won the highest honor afforded to civilians.

She died at 101 years old, and was laid to rest with full military honors last week. She’d died in December, but didn’t want her funeral to ruin Christmas.

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Amazing landscape here to gawk at - Palawan, Philippines. Pinnacles erosion in the rocks above the water and coral reef in the water.

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Marawi Update as of May 28, 2017, 2:19 pm local time 

As Ramadan has begun, thousands of people displaced from the fighting in Marawi are celebrating the holy month away from their homes, waiting for the fighting to stop so they can go back. To those still in the city, they wake up to gun shots, airstrikes, and pray that it will be over soon.

As of right now airstrikes and ongoing fire fight are still going on, however there has been more emphasis on airstrikes. The Maute group have been rounding up and killing Christians. Some were fleeing Marawi to Iligan but were stopped by Maute members where they separated the Christian citizens from those who were Muslim. They were told to recite Islamic prayers to prove they were Muslim and those who couldn’t were taken and killed. Eight bodies have been found, in a ditch, tied up, with gunshot wounds to their heads with placards saying “munafik”, traitor, by them, less than a kilometer away from a security checkpoint on the Iligan-Marawi border. They were bakers from a local bakery according to two women who identified them.

Those still trapped in the city are desperately hiding their Christian friends in hidden rooms, teaching them how to recite Islamic prayers in case their homes are raided and they are found by Maute members, to help them not be captured.

People who haven’t left Marawi yet but are fleeing to Iligan have been told by the military to wave white flags while walking through the streets of Marawi to show the military that they are innocent civilians passing through and not Maute members.

So far, 19 civilians including the 8 men found in the ditch, are currently known to have died. Among the 19 dead include 3 women and a young child found by the military near one of the universities during a rescue operation.

With the ongoing fights between the Maute group and the military thousands of citizens from Marawi are now displaced, unable to go home after almost a week since the siege. Food, water, and supplies are desperately needed in many places where the evacuee’s have escaped to.

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“Rite of Passage”

Before the Philippines fell in the hands of the Spanish conquistadores, The Maharlika was the feudal warrior class of the Tagalog Region.

For the Maharlika, to become a man and a warrior, a boy begins training at an early age to prepare himself for the rite of passage. During puberty and when the moon is visible in the day light, he must hunt a ferocious beast and return with its deadliest body part as trophy. The more dangerous the beast, the manlier he becomes.

The Maharlika Initiate performs a ritual of sacrifice using a white fowl’s blood to create markings on his skin, as he follows instructions carved on a bamboo cylinder. The blood marks temporarily give its bearer protection, enhanced strength and speed; it can also enchant weapons to acquire magical properties.

The Sarangay was one of the favorite prey of The Maharlika Initiate and although a herbivore, turns hostile and attacks when provoked or threatened; it stands up on its hind legs to intimidate the threat and the natives mistaken it for a half-man monster. The Spanish Conquistadores slayed the few remaining ones for bounty, resulting to their extinction. Their ivory horns were highly valuable exports, traded via the Manila-Acapulco Galleon in the 16th and 17th century.


*This is a work of fiction, intertwining myth and history into magic realism. Magical blood markings and the reimagined sarangay creature were based from folklore. The rite of passage and the extinction of the creature are metaphors for the non-progressive traditions/practices of the natives and the Spaniards’ attempt to destroy the pagan roots of the ancient Philippines while exploiting the land.

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I present to you: Pure photos of George Salazar and his mum looking all happy and excited in the audience of It’s Showtime