Alas-sais: you turn on your television set and watch your favorite telenovelas. You sit in the sala with your feet raised on your lamesa. While eating late merienda, you react to the most dramatic scenes of the series. This is how it is for most Filipino families. We may not see it but we are more Hispanic than we think. Here are some things that we share with our Spanish brothers.
Beyond language, we carry other traditions that we learned from the Spaniards. Because of the strong Catholic beliefs of the Spaniards, we now hold fiestas that really allow us to unite as one community, celebrating patron saints with rituals and other activities.
Christmas can never be as fun without noche buena. This Spanish word literally means “night of goodness,” wherein we gather together during Christmas Eve to celebrate and eat with our families. The tradition originated during the time the Spanish friars required Filipino churchgoers to fast until Christmas morning.
The Philippines is the only Christian nation in Asia, and we owe it to the Spaniards that we were introduced to the religion. Until now, many Catholic devotees practice reverence to their beliefs. Our values are based on Christian beliefs that really help us become a community that supports and helps each other.
If we sit down with someone who speaks Spanish, we would realize that we share most words with each other such as kusina (cocina), silya (silla), libro (libro), and other common words. We even count our numbers in Hispanic. There is no telling time without saying alas: alas dos, alas tres, alas cuatro, etc.
For most of the Spaniard’s stay in the Philippines, many Filipinos learned how to speak Spanish and have passed it on to their children. Up to now, students are taught how to speak Spanish as part of their higher education.
Garcia, Rodriguez, Camacho. These are Spanish-sounding surnames that Filipinos use. There are also some people who use Spanish names for their children. Juanita, Conchita, and Maria might never know where their names came from but calling them out will always be a resounding truth that we have close ties with the Spaniards.
It is said that if we take away things that we learned from the Japanese, the Chinese, and the Americans, we would still find our way to become a Filipino but taking away our Spanish ways would have us struggling to find our own identity.
To know more about how Hispanic can a Filipino get, you can read Vibal’s More Hispanic Than We Admit. Grab a copy here.