I'm reading Mosley's recount of Manila and actually find some of the details very amusing. This log will attempt to describe what I think of his recount and my personal reactions to it.

It is only now that I am slowly placing myself in the shoes of the people riding HMS Challenger. They entered the Philippine shores through Zamboanga which is located at the southern provinces of the island. They went up north and passed by Basilan, Iloilo, Camiguin, Cebu and then Manila which was probably their final stop. Their entrance was through Manila Bay.

It is interesting to note that what Mosley notices first are the clothing. He describes what we call "camisa de chino" and "barong Tagalog".



Camisa De Chino



Barong Tagalog



These Filipino national costumes as they are historically called can are still worn today. The design is mostly influenced by Chinese and Hindu settlers as we may notice the similarities between a Chinese shirt and a Hindu Kurta. There are some Barong Tagalogs made with pineapple leaves or "piña". They call it "husi" in the native tongue. Nowadays "husi" is used for really formal occasions. Nowadays Barong Tagalog made of linen and other kinds of modern fabric are often used in the workplace.


After this recount Mosley describes the Filipinos eating duck eggs or what we call in the native tongue "balut". I am amused by how he describes his disgust because I can imagine what a foreigner would feel like witnessing someone eating duck eggs since I'm not such a fan of it myself.



He describes their experience in Manila mostly around cock-fighting which used to be a popular past-time then. I could imagine rowdy Filipino men yelling their taunts and waving their bets. This probably happened along the coastline of Manila Bay which we now call Roxas Boulevard.


Manila Port



I always take interest in how a foreigner experiences visiting my country for the first time. If Mosley took note of clothes and cock-fighting, a recent conversation with an American Engineer we asked to help fix one of our machines at work shows his interest about the weather and availability of shopping areas.


I often think about how my country was colonized by and influenced by many different other nations that I always ask somewhere in the middle of these thoughts the question, "So who and what is a True Filipino?"


I encountered these questions a lot when I was in highschool. We'd read books written by our national hero Jose Rizal who was executed during the Spanish rule for rebelling against their government and fighting for the freedom of the Filipino nation. These freedom fighters find their cause to still be quite prevalent even in the 20th century. For me, Ninoy Aquino stood out. He was assassinated for the very same reasons except we weren't fighting a different nation, we were fighting ourselves.


The Filipino's identity crisis never really ends until one is able to acknowledge their roots. Until one can accept and understand the country's history unfolding in this manner. I think a lot of the Filipinos detest the history because it mostly depicts Filipinos as victims. You see Filipinos now working in other lands almost void of their knowledge on Filipino culture and heritage. You see some of them totally change form with all the plastic surgeries they have made on their physique. You no longer see Filipinos wearing traditional clothing as they go to the malls.


It's sad because the question never gets answered. Who is a True Filipino?


I hope at least I can answer this question for myself and be comfortable with the answer. Because I believe that until one is comfortable with their own identity, we will never be able to know the potential we can fully unleash.


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