The Filipino mix, IPs and regionalism

Halo-Halo Specialby Karl Garcia

In Joe America’s blog article Filipino is not a race (link)  He correctly states that Filipino is a nation and being Filipino is a nationality, but what is the race of the Filipino. Joe first mentioned an article by Irineo in this blog:

Irineo wrote an article titled “Being in Filipino” that started with Shakespeare (“to be or not to be”) and wound its way through Europe and across the Pacific to the Philippines where the Game of Thrones emerged from a tribal culture overlaid with the aspirations of conquering Spanish and American overlords (“live and let live“).

He wrote, near the end of his article: “The hardheadedness of many Filipinos might be due to shifting ground they still stand on.”

That struck me as an extraordinary bit of wisdom, particularly as I see my own views hardening as they come under pressure from people who insist I agree with them, lest they slap labels on my forehead meant to diminish me to the stature of a worm slithering through the earth. The more labels they slap on my forehead, the more determined I am not to even listen anymore. I think a Spanish overlord or priest in 1823 might have the same affect on those at the bottom of the formal racially based caste system that existed at the time.

You see, that’s what Irineo did. He sent me directly to get a better reading on “Filipinos“, a word that until now I had interpreted in racial terms. But that is not true, I learned. ‘Filipino’ is not a race just as ‘American’ is not a race. Racial distinctions in the Philippines ended after the Philippine American War when the Spanish caste system, based on race, was eliminated.

“The system was used for tax purposes. Indios paid a base tax, mestizos de sangley paid twice the base tax, sangleys paid four times the base tax, and the blancos or whites (Filipinos, peninsulares, mestizos de español, and tornatrás) paid no tax. Negritos who lived within the colony paid the same tax rate as the indios.” [Wiki]

In this extreme heat with record breaking heat index,we love to eat halo-halo for desert.

In elementary they made it simple first came the Aetas using the land bridges (proven never existed), then the Indonesians, then the Malays thern the Spaniards came. But we learn that even before the Chinese, the Arabs, the Hindus have set foot in our lands. Ten years before Magellan used the Pacific route to discover the Philippines, the Portuguese already set foot on our shores.

So many people from all over has set foot in our islands,no wonder we are a mixed race. Now this can also be called the Filipino mix.

The Filipino genome

National Geographic among others Had this Genographic Project (link), briefly described here:

“Since its launch in 2005, National Geographic’s Genographic Project has used advanced DNA analysis and worked with indigenous communities to help answer fundamental questions about where humans originated and how we came to populate the Earth. Now, cutting-edge technology is enabling us to shine a powerful newlight on our collective past. By participating in the latest phase of this real-time scientific project, you can learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible.”

Based on that genographic project here are the the results for the Filipino Genome:

Native American 2%
Eastern Asia 36%
Southeast Asia & Oceania 53%
Southern Europe 5%
Southern Asia 3%

The reference population is based on people living in the Philippine archipelago. The large Southeast Asia/Oceania component is indicative of some of the earliest settlers of the islands of Southeast Asia some 40,000 years ago, when much of the Philippine and Indonesian archipelagoes were connected to mainland Asia. The East Asia component, in contrast, is associated with the migrants from China and Taiwan who expanded south, spreading Austronesian languages and rice cultivation some 3,000 to 4,000 years ago.

Not only National Geographic has a genome project,here is a youtube video of a paticipipant in a project of – she is 1/8 Filipina living in the US:

Funny thing is she had zero percent trace if her Irish great grand parents,and was surprised that she had African,Middle Eastern and even Native American among others in her veins.

The Filipino mestizo: the class divide in the age of discrimination  Filipino mestizo is a term used in the Philippines to describe people of mixed Filipino and any foreign ancestry. The word mestizo is of Spanish origin, and was originally used in the Americas to only describe people of mixed European and Native American ancestry. In Spanish times it was like this:

  • Negrito: person of pure Aeta ancestry
  • Indio: person of pure Austronesian ancestry
  • Sangley: person of pure Chinese ancestry
  • Mestizo de Sangley: person of mixed Chinese and Austronesian ancestry
  • Mestizo de Bombay: person of mixed Indian and Austronesian ancestry
  • Mestizo de Español: person of mixed Spanish and Austronesian ancestry
  • Tornatrás: person of mixed Spanish, Austronesian and Chinese ancestry
  • Filipino/Insulares: person of pure Spanish descent born in the Philippines
  • Americano: person of Criollo (either pure Spanish blood, or mostly), Castizo (1/4 Native American, 3/4 Spanish) or Mestizo (1/2 Spanish, 1/2 Native American) descent born in Spanish America (“from the Americas”)
  • Peninsulares: person of pure Spanish descent born in Spain (“from the Iberian Peninsula”)

We can all say that we are all mestizos. If in Canada they have the first Nations (link),In US they have the native Americans(link) we have the IPs (link). In Mindanao they are called the Lumads,but elsewhere they are clustered as IPs. We have laws to protect their ancestral domain,their heritage and to prevent their extinction.

In the epicserye Amaya we were given the idea of how they lived during the Pre-Spanish Period. Royalties from Luzon Visayas and Mindanao were shown and of course where there is royalty there are slaves. Take out the supernatural, I believe that is how we lived.

Before the BBL controversy fitst there was the MOA-AD bill, which the SC junked (link). This involves protection the Ancestral domain of the Moros,but what about the lumads. Consultation of Lumads is very important before any Bangsa Moro Bill will be  signed into law.


From National Identification, Communication and Learning article (link):

Most of the more than 100 languages in the Philippines are linguistically classified as Philippine languages, to which certain languages from Sulawesi also belong. Exceptions are the Spanish creole language Chavacano with around 600.00 speakers – and English.  Northern Philippine languages include Ilokano and Kapampangan; Tagalog, Cebuano and Bikol are Central Philippine languages; Maguindanao and Maranao are Mindanao languages. Some Lumad languages lie outside the main language groups. As of 2000, languages with at least one million speakers were:


  • Tagalog with around 26 million speakers
  • Ilokano with around 8 million speakers
  • Kapampangan with around 3 million speakers
  • Pangasinan with around 2.5 million speakers
  • Northern Bikol with around 2.5 million speakers
  • Southern Bikol with around 2 million speakers


  • Cebuano with around 21 million speakers
  • Hiligaynon with around 7 million speakers
  • Waray-Waray with around 3 million speakers


  • Maranao with around 2 million speakers
  • Tausug with around 1.8 million speakers
  • Maguindanao with around 1.8 million speakers

Visayan languages and Tagalog are also spoken much in Mindanao. The national language Filipino is based on Tagalog and is spoken by around 45 million of the ca. 100 million Filipinos. Modern Filipino spoken on the streets is strongly influenced by the Filipino spoken in Metro Manila and spread via television and movies. The official language English is spoken by around 60 million Filipinos with varying proficiency, while Spanish has all but disappeared. Filipinos often code-switch between Filipino or their own local language and English.


Since we have many regions, a regionalistic attitude has been displayed through out history. This may be because of our different languages derived from the native tongue of the different places of origin.  Andres Bonifacio from Tondo failed in his revolution because the Caviteño Aguinaldo did not cooperate.

Fast forward to the modern ages. In the US if theyare not your province mate, chances are if you find out they are illegal immigrants you would report them to INS.

In prisons, you have provincemates forming gangs. It may not be thast bad in the recent past, but there is still regionalism. It is unfortunate we need Yolanda type disasasters or EDSA type revolutions to do bayanihan. Bayanihan the only glue we have to prove to the world that we are resilient.


We are Filipinos, no matter what our ancestry maybe, where ever we are, dual citizens or not, we are Filipinos. We stick together when the need arises.

Thank you to Karl Garcia for this article!

Irineo B. R. Salazar, 29 April 2016, München

More readings on the Filipino Genome

More on similar genome projects

20 thoughts on “The Filipino mix, IPs and regionalism


    Ancient DNA testing solves 100-year-old controversy in Southeast Asian prehistory

    Two competing theories about the human occupation of Southeast Asia have been debunked by ground-breaking analysis of ancient DNA extracted from 8,000 year-old skeletons.

    by HeritageDailyJuly 7, 20180 Comments5335
    Southeast Asia is one of the most genetically diverse regions in the world, but for more than 100 years scientists have disagreed about which theory of the origins of the population of the area was correct.

    One theory believed the indigenous Hòabìnhian hunter-gatherers who populated Southeast Asia from 44,000 years ago adopted agricultural practices independently, without the input from early farmers from East Asia. Another theory, referred to as the ‘two-layer model’ favours the view that migrating rice farmers from what is now China replaced the indigenous Hòabìnhian hunter-gatherers.

    Academics from around the world collaborated on new research just published in Sciencewhich found that neither theory is completely accurate. Their study discovered that present-day Southeast Asian populations derive ancestry from at least four ancient populations.

    DNA from human skeletal remains from Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos and Japan dating back as far as 8,000 years ago was extracted for the study – scientists had previously only been successful in sequencing 4,000-year-old samples from the region. The samples also included DNA from Hòabìnhian hunter-gatherers and a Jomon from Japan – a scientific first, revealing a long suspected genetic link between the two populations.

    In total, 26 ancient human genome sequences were studied by the group and they were compared with modern DNA samples from people living in Southeast Asia today.

    The pioneering research is particularly impressive because the heat and humidity of Southeast Asia means it is one of the most difficult environments for DNA preservation, posing huge challenges for scientists.

    Professor Eske Willerslev, who holds positions both at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, and the University of Copenhagen, led the international study.

    He explained: “We put a huge amount of effort into retrieving ancient DNA from tropical Southeast Asia that could shed new light on this area of rich human genetics. The fact that we were able to obtain 26 human genomes and shed light on the incredible genetic richness of the groups in the region today is astonishing.”

    Hugh McColl, PhD student at the Centre for GeoGenetics in the Natural History Museum of Denmark of the University of Copenhagen, and one of the lead authors on the paper, said: “By sequencing 26 ancient human genomes – 25 from South East Asia, one Japanese J?mon – we have shown that neither interpretation fits the complexity of Southeast Asian history. Both Hòabìnhian hunter-gatherers and East Asian farmers contributed to current Southeast Asian diversity, with further migrations affecting islands in South East Asia and Vietnam. Our results help resolve one of the long-standing controversies in Southeast Asian prehistory.”

    Dr Fernando Racimo, Assistant Professor at the Centre for GeoGenetics in the Natural History Museum of the University of Copenhagen, the other lead author, said: “The human occupation history of Southeast Asia remains heavily debated. Our research spanned from the Hòabìnhian to the Iron Age and found that present-day Southeast Asian populations derive ancestry from at least four ancient populations. This is a far more complex model than previously thought.”

    Some of the samples used in the two and a half year study were from The Duckworth Collection, University of Cambridge, which is one of the world’s largest repositories of human remains. Professor Marta Mirazón Lahr, Director of the Duckworth Laboratory and one of the authors on the paper, said: “This study tackles a major question in the origins of the diversity of Southeast Asian people, as well as on the ancient relationships between distant populations, such as Jomon and Hòabìnhian foragers, before farming. The fact that we are learning so much from ancient genomes, such as the one from Gua Cha, highlights the importance of amazing collections such as the Duckworth.”


    Header Image – Skull from a Hòabìnhian person from Gua Cha archaeological site, Malaysian Peninsula. Credit : Fabio Lahr


    The day Marawi died – Dear President, please do not blame the Meranaos – Samira Gutoc

    ..We, Meranaos, are being blamed for the Marawi crisis that has displaced almost 300,000 and counting. Terrorism in Marawi City is a stranger because radicals usually meet underground. This is the first time they surfaced in the city as a group. I know this because I am part of a security monitoring group that has monitored incidents of violence by the MG. They have done sporadic crimes against Shiites, gays, men in uniform, and suspected intelligence agents. (READ: Filipino millennial joins ISIS in Syria)

    We have religiously convened multi-sectoral meetings on combating crime and terrorism with fellow member newscasters speaking against radicalism almost every week. (READ: One with Marawi)..

    We would not even have wanted to dignify his usually sarcastic statements but this is a time of suffering and call for oneness as a nation. Instead, we would have wanted he visit evacuation centers and see the mothers and children sleeping on floors and elderly survivors who continued fasting despite the odds. (READ: Duterte cancels Marawi visit due to ‘foul weather’)

    We are a society that has survived 400 years and battled colonizers from America and Japan and asserted our unique identity in the 1935 Dansalan Declaration.

    Despite being vanguard of the peace here, Marawi saw a horrific martial law take away 150,000 lives in the 1970s in Mindanao – a nightmare of destruction…

    We urge he invest in civilian military relations instead of treating this as a movie of who wins and who loses.

    • – EXCERPT:

      Filipinos from Luzon, Manila, and from other islands in the Visayas who experienced first-hand violence during Martial Law under Ferdinand Marcos, Duterte’s model president, gagged on statements coming from Duterte supporters buffered with “I am from Mindanao…” It is a statement so powerful, it can silence any Filipinos outside Mindanao who do not possess the privilege to speak in behalf of Marawi City, of Mindanao. In a country separated by islands, people are territorial. And we all know, as an unwritten rule, that if you are not from this island, from this territory, you know nothing. It is a convenient counter-argument that reeks of essentialism so it’s better for others to shut up.

      But let me tell you this or, perhaps the more appropriate, remind you of this: Duterte and his narrative of Mindanao to the Nation is just one of the 3 narratives from this island, which has long been the battleground for various resistance groups – from freedom fighters with legitimate causes, private armies, violent folk messianic groups, and now terrorists. Mindanao’s narratives – between Moro, settlers, and indigenous groups who are neither Moro nor Filipino settlers – have been won by people who wanted to bring lasting peace to region. Duterte and his supporters are dangerously amending this victory by homogenizing Mindanao’s narratives and assigning a representative voice that will speak to the Nation: that of the settler’s.

    • I pity this guy. He said he graduated from La Salle. It is clear as day he doesn’t know what Filipino is until this chap lives in America among Filipinos. Maybe this guy is blind to racism of Filipinos preference of half-bred half-white English snob imported German, New Zealand, Canadian and American beauty queens.

      Filipinos made their choice. If given the chance, they would go abroad surrender their flag and constitution and embrace European American flags then fly back to Filipinos and wave their European passport for all to see.

      This La Salle guy to open his eyes is to go abroad. There he will meet Filipinos who do not want to be called a Filipino it is even an insult if they are identified as Filipino when they spent so much on skin whitening lotion and still known to be from Filipino.

    • Leloy Claudia is saying …. “If Filipino cannot change their skin color and face, redefine the meaning of Filipino”.

    • Karl, Irineo and everybody,

      I have come to conclusion that “Filipino” or “American” or “European” should be a nationality. Race should be sub-category.

      BECAUSE, races are now mobile. They immigrate places where they are allowed and become that nationality for financial reasons. THERE IS NO AMERICAN RACE! American race is now much confused. There are Filipino-American, European-American, Black American, African-American … even Blacks are confused people. Others wanted to be called Black-American others wanted to be called African-American. Others just wanted to be called simply Black.

      Filipinos are more confused than Blacks. They tell Americans Filipinos are mix of Spanish, Chinese, European Ameican and Malay. Yet they look more like Malay than the Mix they mention. They just do not want to be identified as Filipino. Like Black, they wanted someone else because they do not like what and who they are. Filipinos wanted to be called generally as Asians because Asian as a race has better cachet than “Filipino”.

      Regardless Filipinos hate Chinese, when “Asian” is mentioned what comes to their mind is Chinese-looking, the Yellow Race. Because Asian has life-altering contribution to the world than Filipinos. Diwata for example, would have been a flop if it were not for Japanese professors breathing down the neck of U.P. “scientists”. Diwata was launched in Japan to space. U.P. “scientists” were mere assemblers like the “electronics” Filipinos export, Filipinos are mere assemblers of imported knocked-down parts with guidance from foreigners.

      Defining Filipino as nationality gives credence that Megan Young, Wurtzbach and foreigner-looking, foreign-last named Sinulog contestants as Filipino but as a race they are definitely not a Filipino. Inquirer’s Preen Magazine is promoting Filipino as not your traditional looking Filipino.

      TRADITIONAL LOOKING FILIPINO IS A MINORITY which is the majority in the Philippines and FOREIGN-LOOKING FILIPINOS AS MAJORITY which actually they are the minority. IT IS REVERSE DISCRIMINATION that “DISCRIMINATION” will soon be redefined as discrimination of the majority.

    • “Diwata for example, would have been a flop if it were not for Japanese professors breathing down the neck of U.P. “scientists”. Diwata was launched in Japan to space. U.P. “scientists” were mere assemblers like the “electronics” Filipinos export, Filipinos are mere assemblers of imported knocked-down parts with guidance from foreigners.” and I have been a mere consultant for a long time, with progressively stronger roles and responsibilities. What are the lessons from that?

      1) most of us and I mean Pinoys abroad and Filipinos at home have to improve our communication skills. We are good at complaining but not at defining what is wrong.

      2) from defining what is wrong, the next step most of us need to go is problem-solving skills. Define where we want to go from bad to better to good.

      3) finally most of us have to learn how to convince others to work with us, to find common ground for disparate interests. Consensus-building.

      The main weakness most of us have is leadership skills, something LCPL_X clearly identified months ago. Now where could we have learned them in a culture that lacks them sorely, the history of the country proves it? By ourselves, each of us. Instead of complaining about how bad leaders are at home. Yes they are mostly mediocre, but would we be able to do better? I doubt it, especially since leading Filipinos can be hell. The best Filipino leaders are often women – we men often the losers.

    • Asian-Pacific respondents are less bothered by the questions on race and nationality MRP posed. These are the migrant people from Southeast Asia and these include coastal Chinese and Taiwanese, Burmese, Indonesians, Vietnamese, Filipinos. They care more that their land of settlement be cognizant of the diversity of their points of origin as positive subjects of discussion for the welfare of the succeeding generation in their new land of settlement. That some compatriots make the headlines has only a fleeting shelf-life.

    • Nephew, am re-composing my email reply to you on this subject. Suffice to say, your article above is a solid framework to reply and react to this subject of the Filipino DNA. I favor the Bellwood model as lens because of the strong ethnolinguistic flavor (closer to present regional realities).

    • thanks Unc,
      i deleted a lot from the one i asked you to review, upon suggestion of Irineo.

    • Nevertheless Would be happy to review your revised version, nephew.

  3. Here is a premise: FILIPINO is a NATIONALITY is not a RACE !!!
    Corollary to above: AMERICANS is a NATIONALITY is not a RACE !!!

    But if an American with a drop of Filipino blood becomes a pop singer or beauty contestant or an actress it stops being an AMERICAN NATIONALITY but becomes a RACE because FILIPINOS as a NATIONALITY will claim THAT American as Filipino because of its blood, therefore, it becomes a race.


    Therefore, FILIPINO becomes not a NATIONALITY but a RACE.
    Therefore, FILIPINO is a NATIONALITY is a farce.

    As what Dear Erap always say “Weder-weder lang yan!”

    • A Filipino is a nationality …
      A Filipino is a race …
      Depends when it is convenient.
      Therefore, the premise that Filipino is a nationality is false.

    • Logic is useful sometimes MRP..But often humans are not logical at all..So situations such as you pointed out occur.Filipinos are not the only nation to do this..Irish do,Italians do, Chinese do etc etc…

      Occasionaly the reverse happens. Eg The British being careful to not define people from the former colonies as British to avoid awarding them all the right to migrate back to Britain..The Americans did this with the Philippines as well..Ummmmm

      So waht matters ? That nationality is a human defined thing not a defined by logic

  4. What a great synopsis of the various elements of “being Filipino”. I for the first time understand “mestizo”, and agree it is a term that may have had relevance 100 years ago, but not today. My son is half Waray Waray with 1/64th Dutch and the rest German by way of America. It’s nonsense to classify people in a judgmental way based on heritage. The world is integrating fast, and the nations that refuse are increasingly backward; the richness found in fabrics of many colors is fantastic.

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