FILIPINOS SMILE A LOT EVEN IN ADVERSITY
When the strongest tropical hurricane, storm Yolanda devastated several provinces and flattened towns in some Visayan provinces, survivors were shocked at first instance but after a few fatalistic hours, went about scouring for lost things then would smile a lot. Since calamities present incongruities, the basic component of comedy, some people, mostly victims, would even find time to laugh! And here is a race which knew difficulties and pain but would rather look at the other way, sigh, make a sign of faith and chuckle almost about everything.
The ancient Filipinos have known subjugation early in their civilized life. When the Arab merchants came and inadvertently settle among the natives, the islands instantly became Arabic. No rebellious resistance there. The Chinese junks came and introduced their merchandize triggering barter as a way of life. No objections too. Oriental culture merged with Western formulated one. The islands virtually at the onset became cosmopolitan in its projection notwithstanding its basic ancient almost tribal complexion.
Then European explorers arrived, the Portuguese then the Spaniards. For almost 500 years, Spanish culture predominated the islands until the archipelago achieved a sense of nationhood. This was courtesy of the relatively advanced form of government which Spain imposed on the native community. The natives merely assimilated into a borrowed culture and even succeeded in matches and competition. To a certain extent, the natives would even win and achieve higher marks than their foreign counterparts.
Then the Dutch came for a while, then the British and eventually for 50 years, the Americans. The Filipinos were beneficiaries of multiple cultural exposures through these invading foreign forces. Filipinos embraced American Hollywood the way they venerated the Spanish concept of what Jerusalem was. They had so much fun. And finally before World War II exploded, the Japanese imperial army came and forcibly shared their traditional influence. That did not only make the Filipino smile a lot, it taught him to laugh out loud!
While easily Filipinos belong to the Malay race, their cultural and emotional disposition differ than those he shared his brown complexion with like the Malaysian, Indonesian, Cambodians, Sri Lankans, Fijians, Micronesians. The former are serious, staid and solemn. A representative from each if at all ranged in a row together with a Filipino would easily betray the latter. Filipinos always carry a smile on his face no matter what the situation is—whether in pain or in plain pleasure.
Not that Filipinos are grossly gay and culturally damaged as to make even their perceptive howl like hyenas, but they are light hearted. They are hospitable to a fault, very accommodating and generous. Ask any invader and they would subscribe that Filipinos are darn good fellows and down to earth people.
When Filipinos laugh, it comes from intelligence. When they smile, it comes from the heart.