(Editor’s note: This is the winning speech of Patricia Evangelista. If you are a Filipino, you must read it.)
WHEN I was little, I wanted what many Filipino children all over the country wanted. I wanted to be blond, blue-eyed, and white.
triciaI thought — if I just wished hard enough and was good enough, I’d wake up on Christmas morning with snow outside my window and freckles across my nose!
More than four centuries under western domination does that to you.
I have sixteen cousins. In a couple of years, there will just be five of us left in the Philippines, the rest will have gone abroad in search of “greener pastures.” It’s not just an anomaly; it’s a trend; the Filipino diaspora.
Today, about eight million Filipinos are scattered around the world.
There are those who disapprove of Filipinos who choose to leave. I used to. Maybe this is a natural reaction of someone who was left behind, smiling for family pictures that get emptier with each succeeding year. Desertion, I called it.
My country is a land that has perpetually fought for the freedom to be itself. Our heroes offered their lives in the struggle against the Spanish, the Japanese, the Americans. To pack up and deny that identity is tantamount to spitting on that sacrifice.
Or is it? I don’t think so, not anymore.
True, there is no denying this phenomenon, aided by the fact that what was once the other side of the world is now a twelve-hour plane ride away. But this is a borderless world, where no individual can claim to be purely from where he is now.
My mother is of Chinese descent, my father is a quarter Spanish, and I call myself a pure Filipino — a hybrid of sorts resulting from a combination of cultures.
Each square mile anywhere in the world is made up of people of different ethnicities, with national identities and individual personalities. Because of this, each square mile is already a microcosm of the world. In as much...