The Different Ethnicities of Filipina Women
As I posted photos of Filipina women in various social bookmarking sites, there were those who reacted negatively to my posts, arguing that my shared photos should be categorized as “mixed Asians” and not women from the Philippines.
Hence, I am writing this article to clarify my point-of-view regarding the issue.
I think that the image of “real” or pure Filipinas with Malay origin – characterized by their olive tan skin, flat noses dark brown or black hair, with a lack in height – is an incorrect and inexact depiction of reality.
The ethnicity of Filipinas (and all Filipinos, in general) has been one that is ever evolving. And I believe it is changing much faster than our neighbors in the Southeast Asian region such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
Why is it so? The Philippines has a long history of inter-mingling with other nations and ethnicities.
Even before the Spanish colonizers came in 1521, Filipinos have established trade with the Chinese and Arabs. The arrival of Magellan started the 300-year rule of Spain from the 16th to 19th century. During the Hispanic era, there have been short periods where the country was overrun by the British and the Dutch.
The Treaty of Paris opened nearly half a century of direct American colonization (from 1900 to 1940). The Second World War spanned nearly half a decade of Japanese aggression (from 1940 to 1945).
The post-war era opened up the Philippine economy to all Western capital (predominantly American), which is the reason why some nationalist historians tag the country as a “semi-colony”.
The global diaspora of Filipinos looking for work abroad – starting in the 1970s – further changed the ethnicities of the younger generation of Filipinas.
At present, there is an estimate of 10 million Filipino overseas contract workers. Labor migration due to low wages and lack of employment opportunities is one of the main sources of income (through remittances to their families) for a sizable portion of the population.
Remittances by migrant workers are the country’s main economic lifeline, ensuring a steady stream of dollar supply for our import-dependent, export-oriented economy. But that is another story.
Let’s go back to our topic. The migration of Filipinos, coupled with the influence (and at most times, interference) by foreign powers on our country forever changed the ethnicity of Filipinas. They could be categorized into the following.
1. Mestizas (with Caucasian blood). They are characterized by a fair light brown skin, sharp nose, and the usual rounded eyes. In the reel world, mestizas include actresses Anne Curtis (half-Australian), Marian Rivera and Coleen Garcia (half-Spanish), Rhian Ramos and Bea Alonzo (half-British), and model Misa Campo (half-Dutch).
2. Chinitas (with Chinese blood). The Philippines have a long history of trading relations with China, which dates to the pre-Hispanic era. Chinitas are characterized by straight hair, white skin and slanted eyes. Among them is actress Heart Evangelista.
3. Japinays (with Japanese blood). A fine example is model Natalie Hayashi.
4. Morenas (Dark-Skinned). There are Pinays (a slang for Filipino girl), who are mixed with other ethnicities but retain their natural olive tan skin, like radio disc jockey and model Karen Bordador and celebrity endorser Angel Locsin.
While I have a preference for lighter-skinned Filipinas, probably due to the influence of TV and movies with their Westernized concept of beauty, I am not a believer in the saying: “Beauty is only skin deep”. I think inner beauty is more important. In choosing a partner-in-life or a friend, what matters most is her philosophy, her attitude and how she treats other people especially those who have less in life and endure more pain and suffering.