Lost and Found: Filipino Identity

8 12 2009

Throughout the semester in Knowledge Activism, I have talked about the issue of Filipino Identity. One of the memorable activities we started out the year with was the stereotype activity. In this activity, I saw that many of the stereotypes on Filipinos were demeaning and angering. Yet looking at all the words that people came up with, from complacent to meager, I found some to be true within myself. This was disheartening, mainly because I hate to be part of the norm and think we as individuals should always try to step out of the box and seek something new. So this semester I decided to focus on separating myself from these stereotypes and trying to not be so classifiable, predictable, and repetitive. I wrote bi-weekly blogs about my experiences, and also examined our class to see what I could find about the definition of Filipino Identity.

Throughout the semester, I began to see that the Filipino identity that we as a class originally came up with was in fact, bunk. Despite what I was led to believe, the people I encountered in class and have met throughout my life are not what the stereotypes claim. Instead, this group is made of individuals – artists, singers, dancers, writers, fighters, musicians, and academics. I have grown to see that Filipinos are not so easily classifiable, and yes we are capable of much more than what people expect of us. This fact was exemplified in one of our final classes together – our Bake Sale. I helped organize this event, and leading up to the day, I had no clue whether it would be a success or not. But as the bake sale commenced, I really was able to see what talented students make up our class. Students cooked amazing food, talked to complete strangers about our relief efforts, sold food to teachers, and really had an amazing time. Our bake sale was a huge success, not only because of the money we were able to raise for relief, but for the our ability to come together as a class and display our unique talents to one another. Looking at all the amazing Filipinos we are surrounded with in our lives – from superstars such as Manny Pacquiao and Chad Hugo, to friends we talk to and hang out with in Knowledge Activism class – we are constantly breaking the Filipino mold every day.

I am proud to say that I have grown from this class as an individual. I no longer see myself as a conformist to tired stereotypes, but a unique person that belongs to group known for their diversity. If I were to explain the Filipino identity to someone, I would have to describe a multitude of identities, and may start by talking about my Knowledge Activism class.

~Ray Rebong

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