Filipinos are special. Sure, I’m bias and I’ll readily admit that. But let me explain why. I could go on about how we created lumpia and how the world will forever be indebted to us because of that. I could mention that Filipinos are some of the most artistically talented folks on the planet. I could explain about our rich culture and the beautiful history we have as people. However, I’ll give you one reason and one reason only. Filipinos are dope because we are able to relate to so many different groups of people.
While I worked at South Seattle College, two of my closet colleagues were Puerto Rican and Cuban. Geographically speaking, the Philippines is much farther away from Puerto Rico and Cuba; but our cultures still have a lot of overlap–mainly because Spain colonized all three countries.
Speaking of islands, Filipinos also can vibe well with many Pacific Islanders (though I’m not sure if that’s because of our compatible cultures or for the fact that Pacific Islanders generally can vibe with almost everyone). The big families, the large gatherings with food, the emphasis on respect for anyone older than you, all of which makes Filipinos and Pacific Islanders a solid combination.
Of course Filipino Americans connect with Black folks. There’s a long history of Filipinos and African American collaboration from music, family, and even war. The most notably would be during the Philippine American War, where Black servicemen deserted the U.S. army and joined the Filipino rebels fighting against U.S. imperialism.
Furthermore, Filipinos have had strong ties with many Native American communities as well. So much so, the term Indipino was used to describe children of Native Americans and Filipinos.
And let’s not forget the fact that Filipinos and Mexicans are basically primos.
Granted this is generally speaking, all anecdotal and I’m sure there are examples where Filipinos have not connected with other groups of people but by and large I’ve found this to ring true. I think much of this can be attributed to Filipinos’ happy disposition, desire to reciprocate, and overall easy going nature.
What I think is so cool is that Filipinos can relate to so many of these groups but all of these groups may not necessarily connect with each other on that same level. In that respect, we almost serve as a bridge between cultures. With all of the discord on this planet, finding reasons to unite is more important than ever. So if different ethnic groups can only agree on two things: they have Filipino friends and lumpia is bomb, then I believe Filipinos are helping the world become a better place. And that makes us special. We should always remember that.