So what is a Filipina?
The original inhabitants of the archipelago known as the Philippines are of Malay origin. For centuries Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern traders visited the Philippines often leaving more than just a cultural influence.
The Philippines was under Spanish control for 400 years and the Filipina has adopted many of the Latina characteristics and have a unique beauty all their own.
The Philippines is not considered part of the Latin world today but has been strongly influenced by its Latin past. Discovered by Portuguese explorer Magellan on his historic circumnavigation of the world the Philippines was named after King Philip of Spain who was funding the expedition.
It has been said that the Filipinos were not encouraged to learn Spanish due to a change in colonial policy. Despite this the preferred everyday counting system is Spanish and the currency is the Peso.
The National Filipino language is very rich in Spanish words and while the language does not grammatically incorporate gender they have adopted many gender endings. They will use Filipino for male and Filipina for female.
In Central and southern Philippines a handsome man is guapo and a pretty girl is guapa. Further South around Zamboanga in Mindanao there is an area where the people speak a language very close to Spanish called Ciabacano.
Filipino cuisine is also richly influenced by both Spanish and South America (the Philippines was actually administered from Mexico). Dishes such as Paella, Apretida, Aroscaldo, Menudo and Calderita are considered Filipino.
In traditional Filipino music and dance there is unmistakably a Spanish sound and it is considered an integral part of their cultural heritage. The traditional dress style is also Spanish but as in most Latin American countries the younger generation prefer the American fashions.
The Filipino have also adopted much of the Latin values and attitudes. Perhaps the biggest legacy is Catholicism which is embraced by vast majority of the Filipinos.
At the turn of last century control of the Philippines past to American hands and it has often been said that the Philippines spent 400 years in a Convent and then 40 years in Hollywood.
English was quickly adopted as a second language and most people you will encounter will have a good command of the language so basic communication is seldom a problem. Most Filipino people admire and aspire to Western culture, in particular American.
The Philippines is outwardly one of the most Western countries in Asia yet I have heard it said that if you scratch the surface of a Filipino you will find an Asian. The Philippines still shares many cultural traditions and values with its neighbours.
The cuisine is a blend of Malay and Chinese with strong Spanish influences. American fast food is also extremely popular. American fashion rules but there is always a subtle hint of Latina in the way they dress.
American music rules but again old Latin influences are often found in home grown music. Any new Western music featuring Latin sounds is guaranteed to be popular in the Philippines
The Filipina is a product of all these influences both genetic and cultural. Their amazing beauty is a result of the infusion of many different ethnic influences coming together to produce the beautiful hybrid we call a Filipina