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Conversations – Landscape: Silencing the babaylan

July 22, 2009 in Babaylan and Community Healing, Conversations and Stories, Definitions, Historic Context by admin

First in a series, posted in 2008 at Global Balita

Landscape
by Gemma Cruz Araneta

Silencing the babaylan

The BABAYLAN, a native priestess or spiritual leader in the days of datus and rajahs, has always been a subject of fascination to latter day Filipina feminists. There is no self-respecting conference on the empowerment of women that does not conjure the spirit of the babaylan directly after the national anthem is sang. So beguiling is the babaylan, members of the gay population insist that they are the rightful descendants and heirs of those enchanted women , a contention belied by a variety of historical evidence ranging from ancient epics and ritualistic formulae to the travel chronicles of Pigafetta and de Loarca who came to these shores with Magellan and Legazpi, respectively.

Antonio Pigafetta did not know they were called babaylan and referred to them as “viejas”, old women, because that was what they were. By the time a woman became a full-fledged babaylan, she was already middle-aged and menopausal for it took almost a lifetime to master that gift those sacred rituals and songs and to assimilate the wealth of ancient wisdom. That being the case, self-styled modern day babaylans like dancer Myra C. Beltran and singer Grace Nono, are probably too green to
aspire for such prominence. After all, the babaylan was a pillar of native society together with the datu, the panday and
bayani ( warrior); they were not only spiritual leaders but also guardians and harbingers of culture values and tradition.

Pigafetta wrote about how the “viejas” danced on a cambay cloth, chanting and drinking wine, playing reed trumpets (flutes probably) to pay homage to the sun . One of them sacrificed a pig, which revolted Pigafetta, and dipped the tip of her reed flute in the pig’s blood and marked the forehead of her busband, companions and community members…The vieja (babaylan) did not mark the Spaniards with pig’s blood, a bold and meaningful statement that went above Pigafetta’s head.

Complete text available on in the Global Balita archive.

Links accessed 7/19/2009

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Conversations – Signs and Symptoms of Decolonized Filipinas in the US

July 10, 2009 in Babaylan and Community Healing, Decolonization and Filipino Identity, Definitions by admin

Signs and Symptoms of Decolonized Filipinas in the US
by Leny Strobel

1. She understands European and American colonial history and its psychic and epistemic violence on herself and her people.

2. She understands that her presence in the US is a product of this history. The narration of US history as it relates to the Philippines should be understood as an imperial and colonial narrative in need of critique and revision.

3. She does archeological psychic work to uncover, discover, or reimagine, what her Filipina indigenous memory is trying to teach or reveal to her.

4. Filipino indigenous memory reveals intuitive knowledge about who she is as an indigenous woman. Indigenous Filipino theorizing includes language-based concepts like Kapwa, Loob, Damdamin, Diwa, Dangal, Paninindigan — that gives a decolonized Filipina a narrative that anchors her identity and her life work in Filipino values.

5. She recognizes that the framework of indigeneity and decolonization can serve as a powerful critique of modernity and its discontents. After all, modernity is the newbie on the block (only 500 years old and yet has brought more havoc on the planet than anything before it).

6. A decolonized Filipina knows herself as a “self-in-relation” (kapwa) rather than the product of the western and liberal notion of the self as an “individual with free will” acting out of its self-interest.

7. A decolonized Filipina understands that the location and position of her Fil Am community need to be reframed away from the model of assimilation into US society. The assimilationist model has long been debunked as an unviable and an unsustainable one.

8. A decolonized Filipina in the US understands that she lives on stolen land from indigenous peoples on this continent. What are the implications of such realization? What is the connection between the taking of the Philippines by colonizers and the taking of this continent?

9. A decolonized Filipina understands the uses of history in order to be an effective and powerful woman in the US context. If NVM Gonzalez is correct in saying, “To be a good American, you must be a good Filipina first,” how does a US-born Filipina begin to articulate what it means for her to be a good Filipina?

10. A decolonized Filipina has a global perspective that is informed by what the rest of the planet has to say and not just the US perspective.

Link accessed 7/19/2009, backdated for archive purposes.

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Definitions: Decolonization

July 6, 2009 in Babaylan and Community Healing, Decolonization and Filipino Identity, Definitions by admin

In 2007, Leny Strobel developed a list of traits possessed by individuals who have awakened into a different sense of being, often as part of their reconnection with their Filipino heritage and growing awareness of babaylan practices.

Signs and Symptoms of Decolonized Filipinas in the US:

1. She understands European and American colonial history and its psychic and epistemic violence on herself and her people.

2. She understands that her presence in the US is a product of this history. The narration of US history as it relates to the Philippines should be understood as an imperial and colonial narrative in need of critique and revision.

3. She does archeological psychic work to uncover, discover, or reimagine, what her Filipina indigenous memory is trying to teach or reveal to her.

4. Filipino indigenous memory reveals intuitive knowledge about who she is as an indigenous woman. Indigenous Filipino theorizing includes language-based concepts like Kapwa, Loob, Damdamin, Diwa, Dangal, Paninindigan — that gives a decolonized Filipina a narrative that anchors her identity and her life work in Filipino values.

5. She recognizes that the framework of indigeneity and decolonization can serve as a powerful critique of modernity and its discontents. After all, modernity is the newbie on the block (only 500 years old and yet has brought more havoc on the planet than anything before it).

6. A decolonized Filipina knows herself as a “self-in-relation” (kapwa) rather than the product of the western and liberal notion of the self as an “individual with free will” acting out of its self-interest.

7. A decolonized Filipina understands that the location and position of her Fil Am community need to be reframed away from the model of assimilation into US society. The assimilationist model has long been debunked as an unviable and an unsustainable one.

8. A decolonized Filipina in the US understands that she lives on stolen land from indigenous peoples on this continent. What are the implications of such realization? What is the connection between the taking of the Philippines by colonizers and the taking of this continent?

9. A decolonized Filipina understands the uses of history in order to be an effective and powerful woman in the US context. If NVM Gonzalez is correct in saying, “To be a good American, you must be a good Filipina first,” how does a US-born Filipina begin to articulate what it means for her to be a good Filipina?

10. A decolonized Filipina has a global perspective that is informed by what the rest of the planet has to say and not just the US perspective.

Contributed by Leny Strobel, originally posted on Kathang-Pinay, 24 October 2007.

Links accessed 7/5/09.

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Definitions – Kalayaan (freedom)

June 28, 2009 in Definitions, Kapwa and Other Indigenous and Filipino Values by admin

In her talk Indigenous Filipino Values: A Foundation for a Culture of Non-Violence” prepared for the forum “Towards a Culture of Non-Violence,” Katrin de Guia defines several key concepts which underpin babaylan practices.

KALAYAAN (FREEDOM, INDEPENDENCE, THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX)

Kalayaan— freedom, liberty and independence is a sine qua non for Filipino personhood. To understand this ancestral Filipino (human) value is important for a culture of non-violence. Why? Because violence usually arises from the attempts of one person or group to control another person or group. But control runs counter to the kapwa orientations where the norm is voluntary giving, including and sharing; where problems are resolved through consensus building and mediating rather than through fist or force.

Emancipation may be the best word to describe what the Filipino value kalayaan is all about. Reynaldo Ileto, who studied the pre-Spanish Filipino writings, concluded that Filipino children enjoyed traditionally great freedom while growing up. Indulged by their parents, they were allowed to learn at their own speed, experiment with life as saling pusa, and slowly discover and mold who they really were as human beings (kapwa tao).

Basically it’s a fine thing, this training towards openness, creativity and freedom. However, the underlying assumption of such a training towards self-determination is that a child, who had been indulged by the whole clan, would grow up to be a tolerant, emancipated and open-minded adult. True— when the setting is the kapwa culture! However, without training in such things as respect, propriety, humility and compassion (kapwa), the liberties bestowed on a child can mold it into an irresponsible and permissive adult, someone ruled by outright selfishness. A pampered child, without the self-regulating mechanism of sensitivity towards others (pakiramdam) becomes spoiled rotten. This is what happened to many illustrado and mestizo kids, who were raised in an atmosphere of materialistic indulgence, paired with the imperialist values of ego-hood. John Lennon made a song about that “I – Me – Mine.” That is where today’s “unbridled greed” has its footing. Instead of the Shared Self, we face the Expanded Ego.

While the Shared Self is soft like water, the Expanded Ego is hard as stone. There is no long lasting impact when water meets water. But when stone meets stone you have a violent reaction. Something will break!

Katrin M. de Guia performed her pioneering research on the Filipino culture-bearer artists all over the country while earning her PhD in Filipino Psychology (Sikolohiyang Pilipino) at the Unversity of the Philippines. She will be a featured speaker at the Center for Babaylan Studies 2010 Conference

Links accessed 6/24/09

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Definitions – Kagandahang-Loob (shared nobility)

June 28, 2009 in Definitions, Kapwa and Other Indigenous and Filipino Values by admin

In her talk Indigenous Filipino Values: A Foundation for a Culture of Non-Violence” prepared for the forum “Towards a Culture of Non-Violence,” Katrin de Guia defines several key concepts which underpin babaylan practices.

KAGANDAHANG LOOB

The last core-value of the Filipino personhood is kagandahang-loob or “shared nobility.” The dictionary renders the term kagandahang-loob as a very general concept that emphasizes the beauty of something. It’s meaning is so broad that the notion stands for “anything good about something”. It is also translated as generosity. Kagandahang-loob acts like an anchor that grounds kapwa and pakiramdam in the enduring ancestral beliefs and convictions of Filipino IKSP. These are basically: God is good. Life is about learning, creating and sharing. It is good, even if there are hardships. Every sunrise brings a new day, a new horizon. There is always hope.

Kagandahang-loob, this “shared inner nobility” or “shared humanity” is a Filipino value that would nudge a person towards genuine acts of generosity; towards a nurturing that has its origin in genuine feeling for others– empathy.

The Philippine historian Reynaldo Ileto pointed out how important the strife for a noble character was among the historical Filipino heroes.

He wrote that these bayanis reminded their followers that nobility had to be re-won every day. They also taught that it was ok to be rich, as long as the external signs of power were matched by an equally beautiful character.

How does nobility translate into every day activities? An unobtrusive kindness and caring? A sense of feeling responsibility for others? A compassion for all living beings? Are these characteristics important for cultivating a culture of non-violence? What do you think?

In summary, the three core-concepts of the value-structure of the Philippine personality theory are kapwa, pakiramdam and kagandahang-loob, interpreted as Shared Identity, Shared Inner Perception, and Shared Humanity. These values outline the profound humanistic inclination of the Filipino. And it is plain to see how such values are a seedbed for a culture of non-violence.

As for the other values of Enriquez’ Value System Of Philippine Psychology, we will skip most of them. But there is that one societal value kalayaan, which merits attention. This value stands for the untamed need of all living species to be free.

What are societal values? These are convictions that are deeply rooted in the ancestral heritage of a people. Such dispositions direct the personal values of an individual in profound and unquestioned ways.

Katrin M. de Guia performed her pioneering research on the Filipino culture-bearer artists all over the country while earning her PhD in Filipino Psychology (Sikolohiyang Pilipino) at the Unversity of the Philippines. She will be a featured speaker at the Center for Babaylan Studies 2010 Conference

Links accessed 6/24/2009

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Definitions – Pakiramdam (knowing though feeling)

June 26, 2009 in Definitions, Kapwa and Other Indigenous and Filipino Values by admin

In her talk Indigenous Filipino Values: A Foundation for a Culture of Non-Violence” prepared for the forum “Towards a Culture of Non-Violence,” Katrin de Guia defines several key concepts which underpin babaylan practices.

PAKIKIRAMDAM (KNOWING THROUGH FEELING)

Pakiramdam is often described as an all-important “shared inner perception” that compliments the “shared identity” of kapwa. It is an emotional a priori that goes with the Filipino personhood (as Enriquez called the Kapwa Personality). Pakiramdam operates behind all Filipino values. This steering emotion triggers the spontaneous voluntary actions that come with the sharing of the Self. It is the keen deep inner feeling that initiates all deeds.

Because of kapwa, this Pinoy feeling— pakikiramdam— is a participatory process, where emotions tend to be experienced mutually. Since most Pinoys can boast a “heightened awareness and sensitivity”, Enriquez’ student Rita Mataragnon declared pakiramdam a Filipino “emotional a-priori.” Filipinos are good in sensing cues (magaling makiramdam), she said and pointed out that both, the empathic “feeling for another,” or the talent of “sizing up each other” were active emotional processes that involved great attention to the subtleties non-verbal behavior.

Heightened sensitivity is a good survival tool in a society where not all social interactions are carried out with words. Here, only the carefully feeling out another can help one navigate the ambiguities of life’s encounters— like knowing when to join a group or how to blend in with people. Pakiramdam provides the tacit leads how to act appropriately in such situations and may well be regarded as the cognitive style of Filipinos— a unique social skill that is intrinsic to the Filipino personhood.

Katrin M. de Guia performed her pioneering research on the Filipino culture-bearer artists all over the country while earning her PhD in Filipino Psychology (Sikolohiyang Pilipino) at the Unversity of the Philippines. She will be a featured speaker at the Center for Babaylan Studies 2010 Conference

Links accessed 6/24/2009

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Kapwa People

June 25, 2009 in Definitions, Kapwa and Other Indigenous and Filipino Values by admin

In her talk Indigenous Filipino Values: A Foundation for a Culture of Non-Violence” prepared for the forum “Towards a Culture of Non-Violence,” Katrin de Guia defines several key concepts which underpin babaylan practices.

KAPWA PEOPLE

People, who practice kapwa in their life can be recognized by their genuine, people-centered orientation (magkatao), their service to others around them (matipon, matulungin), and by their commitment to their communities (pamathalaan). Among their barkada, they often are inspiring leaders and community organizers. As foot soldiers, they are the reliable ones, the ones who step forward to volunteer. They are quick to lend a hand and share their skills and knowledge freely (i.e. by teaching children, working with the urban poor, or facilitating community workshops on crafts, etc.) Their help usually comes with a big, gratis smile.

Community building and peace building is second nature to the people of such a bearing, as kapwa inspires them to facilitate at meetings, organize events and actively participate in civic affairs. How this kapwa works on a global scale can be seen in the people’s movements that unseated corrupt leaders— especially the People Power in 1986, which garnered for the Philippines the first-ever nomination of a whole country for the Peace Nobel Prize in 2000.But the same kapwa orientation also won the Philippine-Spanish War for Filipinos (even if it was followed by betrayal— the abuse of the trust that often invades the openness of kapwa.)

A notion of war may not fit into a forum on peace keeping and a Culture of Non Violence. But as historical figures like Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King or the Dalai Lama show—for the non-violent peace process you truly need the abilities to create networks, to build consent and to mobilize masses. And the kapwa orientation can come in mighty handy when you do that! Only if you manage to spread your peace ideas in a non-forceful manner (where you don’t buy or bully people, but where you motivate them with your good intentions and convictions) you will be effective in promoting a culture of non-violence. Then you are like running water hollowing out solid stone.

Back to kapwa: As the heart is central to the body, the shared Self nurtures the Filipino personality (or personhood.) But kapwa does not reside alone at the core. It manifests in pakiramdam, the pivotal interpersonal value that characterizes Filipino emotion. Enriquez named this emotional quality “shared perception.”

What is such a shared awareness all about? Pakiramdam matches the ocean-like expanse of kapwa with an equally large field of sensitive awareness.

Katrin M. de Guia performed her pioneering research on the Filipino culture-bearer artists all over the country while earning her PhD in Filipino Psychology (Sikolohiyang Pilipino) at the Unversity of the Philippines. She will be a featured speaker at the Center for Babaylan Studies 2010 Conference

Link accessed 6/24/2009

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Definitions – Pakikipag-Kapwa (Shared Identity)

June 25, 2009 in Definitions, Kapwa and Other Indigenous and Filipino Values by admin

In her talk Indigenous Filipino Values: A Foundation for a Culture of Non-Violence” prepared for the forum “Towards a Culture of Non-Violence,” Katrin de Guia defines several key concepts which underpin babaylan practices.

PAKIKIPAG-KAPWA (SHARED IDENTITY)

The core value of Filipino personhood is kapwa. This idea of a “shared self” opens up the heart-doors of the I to include the Other. It bridges the deepest individual recess of a person with anyone outside him or herself, even total strangers. Here, it is not important if you are rich or poor, or status in society. “People are just people in spite of their age, clothes, diplomas, color or affiliations” said the Visayan artist Perry Argel.

Kapwa is the “unity of the one-of-us-and-the-other”, according to Virgilio Enriquez, who declared the concept as a Filipino core value. He upheld that kapwa implied moral and normative aspects that obliged a person to treat one another as fellow human being and therefore as equal. Such a position was “definitely inconsistent with exploitative human interactions,” he insited. But he also foresaw that this Filipino core value was threatened by spreading Western influences, when he wrote: “…once AKO starts thinking of himself as separate from KAPWA, the Filipino ‘self’ gets to be individuated as in the Western sense and, in effect, denies the status of KAPWA to the other.”

Today, most people who hear the word “kapwa” think of their neighbor. But standard Tagalog dictionaries like Vito Santos’ render kapwa as “fellow being” and “other person.” And older, Spanish dictionaries translate kapuwa as “both” and “the one and the other”, or “others.”

From all these, Enriquez concluded that the original Filipino idea of “others” was inclusive. He wrote: “The English “others” is actually used in opposition to the “self,” and implies the recognition of the self as a separate entity. In contrast, kapwa is a recognition of a shared identity, an inner self shared with others.”

He also said: “A person starts having a kapwa not so much because of a recognition of status given him by others but more so because of his awareness of shared identity. The ako (ego) and the iba-sa-akin (others) are one and the same in kapwa psychology.”

This Filipino linguistic unity of the self and the other is unique and unlike in most modern languages. Why? Because implied in such inclusiveness is the moral obligation to treat one another as equal fellow human beings. If we can do this— even starting in our own family or our circle of friends— we are on the way to practice peace. We are Kapwa People.

Katrin M. de Guia performed her pioneering research on the Filipino culture-bearer artists all over the country while earning her PhD in Filipino Psychology (Sikolohiyang Pilipino) at the Unversity of the Philippines. She will be a featured speaker at the Center for Babaylan Studies 2010 Conference

Link accessed 6/24/2009

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Modern Practices – Pagtatawid: Praying and Crossing Beyond

June 19, 2009 in Definitions, Kapwa and Other Indigenous and Filipino Values, Modern Practices by admin

Praying and Crossing Beyond (exerpt, August 28, 2007 post)
by M. Villariba in Living and Learning Together

Q : Did you learn the word “pagtatawid” from your mother or grandmother?

At first I learned the use of the word “pagtatawid”, which is literally means crossing from grassroots women in Bay, Laguna who described the role of parents and elders in guiding the young to make the journey from birth to womb, from infancy to adulthood, from life to death. Pagtatawid has three stages: guiding a baby, as a parent, to become a human being, “maging tao”; guiding a person to be a good person , “maging mabuting tao” and assisting the person to complete one’s journey on this life to the next life, paglalakbay tungo sa kabilang buhay.

Q: Do you practice pagtatawid ?

A: Yes, but it took all of 50 years to learn, understand and do it! I will describe recent experiences in pagtatawid with faith, hope and love.

My formation categories are informed by the roles of pre-colonial settlements, when the Philippines was not yet a state. These are the roles of Babaylan, Datu, Panday at Kawal-Bayani. [1] As my experiences deepened, I realized that the babaylan had to develop the attitudes and skills of a datu, panday and kawal-bayani especially when they had to practice pag-uugnay and pagtatawid.

Learning from my grandmother Maria and mother Flotilda how to prepare family and kin during birthing to dying was a key to my discovery of pagtatawid. Then I became a feminist in the early 70s with three of my classmates in Ateneo graduate school tutoring me on what it meant to be a woman, sensuous and erotic. I read all kinds of literature on philosophy, religion, sociology, history and observed rural and urban families. I took a special course on paranormal psychology and trained under Fr. Jaime Bulatao, SJ, in Ateneo. He showed me how exorcism was done.

Q: Did your feminism help in becoming a babaylan?

For three decades from the early 70’s to the 90’s, I worked on my feminism. I believed in developing the wholeness of women, the pagkatao (being human) at pagkababae (being woman ) and liberating women from oppressive power relations, the pagpapalaya. But the feminist discourse was largely informed by radical and liberal Western ideas and it took me time to discover the indigenous, nonpatriarchal paradigm of Filipinos – kapwa-tao, the concepts of loob at labas na tao.

The feminist debates I got involved with did not initially articulate spirituality. I was part of the nationalist movement and the discourse was mainly Marxist, Maoist, and secular. I could not articulate the sacred coherently because I did not belong to a community who could affirm and validate my spirituality, a community with an epistemological authority. It was only when I conducted regular women’s education in the early 80’s that I realized the time was ripe for women to be openly spiritual. I found friends like Sr. Mary John Mananzan, Sr. Lydia Lascano and Sr. Rosario Battung who shared mystical experiences . When I turned 50 years old in 2000, there was enough epistemological evidence to pursue “babaylanship.” Women in my solidarity circles were already conversant with babaylan work.

When Ed and I lived in Europe in the late 80s ,I started my journals so that I could distill the lessons.

I observed women and men who were migrant datu, panday, kawal and babaylan across races and ethnicities. I explored the approach of reading people as living books. I developed active meditation. I practised shibashi, chi qong and much recently, tetada kalimasada – eastern disciplines of cultivating inner energy.

Q: Can you elaborate ?

A: The practice of pag-uugnay/ pagtatawid (connecting and crossing) is a sacred task.

Pagtatawid starts with pag-uugnay because the babaylan must first be conscious of the Divine Presence. It demands mindfulness and considerable energy. It is like studying geography, learning navigation, and organizing enough resources to get to where another life is and returning safely. If one were to sail beyond this world, you need a sacred seaworthy boat, become a one-person crew with a mastery of the currents, a good sense of direction, passion and faith to complete the trip. It is the babaylan who does the connecting where she dances her way into a divine web and when the Divine Artist-Creator gives her a sacred line, she prepares and assists the person to reach the crossing.

[1] Zeus A.Salazar, Ang Babaylan sa Kasaysayan ng Pilipinas, Bagong Kasaysayan, Blg., Unibersidad ng Pilipinas,1999.

Links accessed June 17, 2009.

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Conversations – Cultural Foundations: Kapwa and Bayan

June 18, 2009 in Conversations and Stories, Definitions, Kapwa and Other Indigenous and Filipino Values by admin

Filipino Community Portrait (excerpt)
by MC Canlas

Cultural Foundations: Kapwa and Bayan

A fundamental Filipino cultural concept is kapwa, the unity of “self ” and “others,” a sense of “fellow being,” a recognition of shared identity or inner self shared with others. “Anyone looking for a core concept that would help explain Filipino interpersonal behavior cannot help but be struck by the super ordinate concept of kapwa,” wrote Filipino psychologist Virgilio Enriquez.

The Filipino immigrant is fond of asking a newly introduced Filipino, “Taga saan ka sa atin?” The question, literally “Where are you from in the Philippines?” is an essential part of Filipino identity formation. The usual response consists of one’s family name and the community he or she belongs to or identifies with. In my case, for example: “I am Canlas of San Fernando, Pampanga, but we moved to Quezon City when I was in my teens.”

The question, posed without malice or sense of intrusion, elicits a response that facilitates discovery of a common bond, or ka. Kababayan, for example, are town mates (ka + bayan, or town) and kamag-anak (ka + mag-anak, or family) are relatives. Filipinos naturally seek out levels and degrees of connectivity to build kapwa and sociocultural affinity that contextualizes their interaction and establish rapport.

Again, in my case, for example, likely follow-up questions would be, “Are you related to the Canlas of Santo Tomas?” ” Do you know the Calalangs in San Fernando?” “Was your family ever in Tondo, Manila? My mother’s mother is from there and she’s a Canlas,” and so on. Chances are the person asking me will discover that our grandparents were cousins or our parents attended the same school, for example, and say: “Ah, it’s a small world, we’re related!”

This emphasis on place of origin dates back to long before Filipinos were even known as Filipinos, a time when our ways of life, culture, and identity were tied to settlement patterns and environment. Settlements tended to be located along rivers, lakeshores, and seacoasts, and even those in the hinterlands tended to parallel mountain streams. In fact, names for various Filipino ethnolinguistic groups and geographical locations are derived from bodies of water. For example, Tagalog means “native of the river”; Kapampangan are “people of the riverbank,” Cebu comes from Sugbu, meaning “riverbank,” and Lanao, Maranao, Maguindanao, and Mindanao all come from danao, “lake of flooded areas.” This water-based culture, coupled with a sacred view of the mountains, constituted the material basis of the beliefs, customs, and traditions of the ancestors of Filipinos. The houses (bahay) were usually located near people’s source of livelihood, along the shore in coastal communities, and closer to the fields in the interior. People lived together in barangays of thirty to a hundred families, and social organizations developed around kinship and neighborhood connections.

Their sense of community, or bayan, is deeply rooted in extended family relationships and neighborhood bonds. The core traditions of family-based communities as expressed in their language and culture, leadership, and governance structures, and spiritual and social life have persisted for centuries despite colonialism, social upheaval, and natural disasters.

The connection between family and community is transparent in the lexicon. The term bayan is relative. Today, it may mean “motherland,” Inang Bayan; “nation-state,” Bayang Pilipinas; “town” or “municipality,” Bayan ng San Roque; “town center,” kabayanan; people or fellow citizen or belonging to the same ethno-linguistic group or region, kabayan or kababayan. The protector of the community is Bayani, while bayanihan, usually symbolized by a group of people carrying a house to another place, is a valued practice of cooperation, self-help, and mutual support among neighbors and extended families. Balikbayan is community and family renewing, either physically or spiritually to one’s homeland. Filipino returnees and tourists in the Philippines are called balikbayans.