The Whiter You Are the Prettier You Are?

     I heard somewhere once that the poor in the Philippines want to be American and the rich want to be Spanish.  I guess that’s where the word “conyo” came from although its direct translation to English is not really flattering by any means.  It’s a shame that it seems nobody wants to be  Filipino, but why is that?

   I saw this blog and it somehow answered some of my questions.


Reasons why Filipinos believe “The whiter you are, the prettier you are…”

This blog is in response to Zonah’s blog (read her entry)and her question: “am really wondering bakit sa kultura natin ang maputi, straight ang hair ay siyang tinatawag na maganda? Where do we get this concept?” My answer is way too lengthy to be posted as a reply or comment… so I thought I’d post it as a separate blog.

Here it is…

You are not alone in this sentiment… “That white is beautiful…” or “the whiter you are, the prettier you are…”

Even my husband asks me this same question… “Why do Filipinos and the Filipino women are too busy acting like they are white…? In fact, I think most of them even think they are white! Why is that, huh…?”

Quite frankly, I am offended by this question… But sadly, it is true… I have to admit… my husband is right in thinking that, we as Filipino people are guilty of acting like we are white. This attitude is very apparent, especially among Filipino elite… and even the not so elite ones.

I am guilty of this, which I vehemently deny. No, I don’t have white skin. I only have a hint of Spanish blood, and I grew up in a leaky nipa hut… So I most definitely do not belong to the privy, selected few… The part that I am guilty of acting like I am white, according to my husband, is the fact that I do not know my place. I do not carry myself according to my stereotype. I think my ego gets in the way. I consider myself just as good as everyone else, regardless of race or color. But maybe my husband is right, on the point that I forget that being a female and a Filipino are already two strikes against me… and I do not know my place…

In the workforce, I was highly ambitious and went after jobs that I was not supposed to get. (But back then I did not know any better…) I got the job anyway… But I think Mr. Luck was on my side. … Or maybe, I was just at the right place, at the right time… and in some cases… knowing the right people… But in the end, it always went back to the issue of me being Filipina and not knowing my place… Or maybe, as much as I do not want to admit, I still have a lot of growing up to do…

For a week or so now… I have been reading our history… the Philippine history… I am doing this to re-educate myself about my roots, my upbringing, my values, and my beliefs… including the bullshit ones that I based my life on. The values and brainwashing that’s been ingrained in my subconscious, way before I had the power to recognize them as such…

If you recall… the Philippines have been ruled by the Spaniards for over 300 years… And YES, the Spaniards are white people from Europe!!! During this reign… they have transformed the Filipino people. Back then, we were not even called Filipinos. We were just a collection of different tribes, from different islands, speaking different languages. We were described to possess these physical attributes: “medium height, although tall men are to be found among them; especially in the mountain districts. Skins are of a brownish colour, with black eyes, prominent cheek bones, the nose flat rather than arched or straight, nostrils wide and full mouth inclined to be large, lips full, good teeth, and round chin.” (

The Spaniards called us derogatory names such as brown monkeys, Indio, wild people, etc…

The Spaniards gave us our culture, our values and our religion. They even gave us our Christian names or Spanish names and last names. Today, almost 500 years later… we still have this same culture, the same values and religion… and the Spanish influences are still alive and well.

Did you know that the name Filipino was originally given to the white Spanish colonists born in the Philippines? ( I certainly was shocked to find this out! I have never ever questioned the origin of our race… I mean why we are called Filipinos?

However, the name Filipino has drastically changed, especially during the Philippine Revolution, by which the nationalist movements have adopted Filipino to mean the entire population of the Philippines, including the indigenous Malay people. Today, the name Filipino is the exact opposite of its original meaning.

When the Spaniards established the Philippines as one of their colonies, they stationed Spanish men consisted of the ruling class and clergy men in different areas within the Philippine archipelago. While the clergy men busied themselves converting the people into law abiding and God fearing Christians; and the ruling class establishing government, they also started mixing with our race. To be blunt… they started impregnating the Filipino women. I’m not saying they impregnated all childbearing Filipino women that they could get their hands on… Let’s just say that because of this union, voluntary and involuntary, the Filipino race started to evolve. With Spanish genes mixed in our blood lines, our skin color has changed from brown to tan, and then tan to fair skin, depending on the amount of Spanish genes the person has in his bloodlines…

Given this… of course! The Spanish people are going to preach and inculcate in our ancestors brains, in our brains, that those Filipino people whose skin color are similar to theirs are indeed beautiful! Thus, the widely spread of Filipino beliefs that the whiter you are, the prettier you are… And let us not forget the many Chinese people who now inhabit the Philippines, who also have mixed with our race… they also pride themselves of being white…

… And then the Spaniards sold us to the Americans for $20,100,000.00 in the early 1900s… Another white ruling class… similar ideals and beliefs that made the current ones stronger…

Fast forward to now… in the year 2008…

This belief of being “white and beautiful” is further strengthen by the continuous brainwashing and programming being carried out by corporations, owned by the powerful elite, whose business is to sell beauty products and the likes to the Filipino people.

The fact is… there is plenty of money to be made among unhappy people, people who are discontent about their looks and skin color, people who have low self–esteem… people who are not happy with themselves.

We need to recognize that we have been programmed to think this way… We have been programmed to think that “the whiter you are the prettier you are…” Therefore, if you are dark skinned, you are ugly. A very poor… shallow… and ignorant view… But this, my friend, is just one of the ways that the elite and powerful corporations control us… It is on purpose that we feel inferior… and unhappy about ourselves…

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