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Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Role of Ethnic Chinese in the Philippine Revolution by Borj

Note: this discussion was presented during the issues and problems in Philippine History class and most of the contents were based from books and researched articles.

Issues against Chinese in the Philippine history:
·         “Chinese are a conservative people, docile and quiet, obedient, always afraid of getting involved (especially in political issues), and the only thing they know how to do is to make money.”……
·         “Chinese had mostly stayed as neutral bystanders, uninvolved and uncommitted.”…….

Philippine Historical events involving Chinese:
Ø  Seventy-two years after Lapu-lapu defeated the Spanish in the battle of Mactan, in 1593; P’an Ho Wu led the more than 250 conscripted galley rowers to mutiny against the ship captain, Governor General Luis Perez de Dasmariñas, after realizing that they would die either from the atrocious conditions in the ship.
Ø  There were several Chinese rebellion against Spanish oppression that led to  at least six incidents of massacres of the immigrants, one was during 1639, which was carried out to squash a people’s revolt against the Spanish colonialists’ harsh treatment and persecution of the conscripted Chinese laborers who were forced to open up the frontiers of Calamba, Laguna.
Ø  Another Chinese participation in the Filipinos’ struggle against colonial rule was in far away Sulu in 1773. There were 4,000 Chinese immigrants who helped and supported the natives of Jolo in their struggle against Spain.

Known Chinese Mestizos and pure-blooded Chinese in Philippine History
The Chinese mestizos or offspring of Filipino-Chinese intermarriages were natural product of Chinse immigration to the Philippines.

§  Dr. Jose P. Rizal
§  Marcelo H. del Pilar
§  Graciano Lopez Jaena
§  Emilio Aguinaldo
§  Pedro Paterno
§  Gregorio Sanciangco
§  Roman Ongpin
§  Pio Valenzuela
§  Three Martyred Priest
§  Trece Martires
§  Julian Felipe

§  Jose Ignacio Paua- a pure blooded Chinese who became general of the revolution in Cavite and became one of the 52 signatories of the Biak-na-Bato Constitution in 1897.

These mestizos recognized themselves as Filipinos and they fought the revolution not as mestizos but as Filipinos. Being Chinese descent or mestizos, to them, was secondary.

Debunking the Issue:

1.       “Chinese are a conservative people, docile and quiet, obedient, always afraid of getting involved (especially in political issues), and the only thing they know how to do is to make money.”……
§  Chinese were known to be business minded people but during the revolution, most of them sympathized to the Filipinos and fought side by side with them while some of them financed the revolution. They were not afraid of getting involved in the uprising due to the atrocities that the Spanish committed on their race, and one example of this was the 1987 rebellion in Cavite which was joined by the Chinese people mostly residing there. The known leader of the uprising was Jose Ignacio Paua, a Chinese general who fought bravely against the forces of the Spanish army and was heavily wounded in his left chest but manage to fought back which terrified the enemies causing their retreat.

2.        “Chinese had mostly stayed as neutral bystanders, uninvolved and uncommitted.”…….
§  Most of the Chinese did not stayed as neutral bystanders, uninvolved and uncommitted people during the 333 years of Spanish rule in the Philippines; in fact they were part of the Spanish rebellion staged by the Filipinos and even by some Chinese descent. For almost a thousand years, it was part of their revolutionary traditions to stage a rebellion or revolt against oppressors and conquerors and even to their Emperors who ruled tyrannically to its subject. Though some of them escaped from the Colonizers atrocities most of them contributed in the revolution and their contributions to the cause can be divided into: Direct participation, financial assistance and material procurement or assistance like the assistance coming from the mainland China during the revolution which was did not happen because the ship carrying the assistance sunk and the other was captured. This overseas assistance was the help given by Dr. Sun Yat Sen who is also a revolutionary leader in China.

Pro’s of the study:
                Knowing the contributions of the Chinese people in the revolution, Filipino’s will certainly change their perspective towards them throughout the history. They were not just business minded people that settle along the Parian but also the part of the long history of struggle of the Filipino people against the Spaniards. They were also adversely affected and like the Filipinos before, also suffered great damage and personal losses.
It was not the Filipino who suffered the Spanish atrocities alone but also the Chinese. Knowing their history makes us think and rethink again that we’re not alone in the struggles. According to Dr. Antonio Tan in his work on the Chinese Meztizos: “the recorded history of the Philippines would be incomplete as a basis for understanding contemporary society unless it takes into account the Chinese mestizos’ contributions to our development as a nation”, and that was true, because they greatly affect the development of our culture and even our race due to the intermarriages.
                The aim of knowing the Chinese contribution was not to hide the facts or highlight them, but to mention the truth that like Filipinos, the ethnic Chinese also paid heavy prices during such periods of unrest in the country.

Con’s of the study:
                Knowing the contribution of the ethnic Chinese and the Mestizo Chinese highlighted their great contribution to the building of our nation which is obvious but we can’t hide the fact that they fought side by side with our Heroes because of some motives, not all of them fought because of their love for country but to free from the laws that limit their businesses.
                Aside from the motives, the term Mestizos was mentioned to indicate the existence of the middle class which was formed mostly from them and highlighted their so called contribution that without their race, revolution would be nothing. This pertains to the ilustrados who were produced by the middle class from Chinese descent and was mostly educated, a discrimination against the locals knowing that they were indios and have no total access to the education before.
                Mestizos should not pertain to this Chinese because, knowing that they live in the Philippines, they eventually become Filipinos. The term only dividing the unity of the Filipino race and was no good at all. Filipino, whether a mixture or pure, should be considered Filipino because he lives here and he is a citizen of the country.


                Chinese, pure or mixture had long settled here even before the Spanish Landed on the soil of Homonhon, they were naturally our economic partner and for centuries helped us fought against the oppressors. They should also be recognize not just as business minded people but as our friend in bitterness and glory for our history was not complete without them. Most of our great men and presidents have their Chinese ancestry but they became what they were not because of their blood but because they strive as a Filipino. Chinese people only need recognition from its friend and that the issues surrounding them changed. 

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