The Philippines

The Philippines was named after the Crown Prince Philip II of Spain. He was reputed to be an extreme introvert, austere, humorless, and unpopular. Dubbed the "Spider of the Escorial" because he seldom left his palace, Philip II reigned over the vast Spanish empire handed down by his father, Charles V, and was a leading patron of Catholicism. He was elegant and slender and, in his youth, good-looking. Philip's reign, however, marked the decline of Spanish power, leading one historian to describe him as essentially mediocre and paralyzed by indecision. (From Bong Barrameda's Pinoy Trivia Vol. 2, Anvil Publishing, 1993).

Related article: What's in an Infamous Name?

The Filipino

The term Filipino originally referred to Spaniards and Spanish mestizos born in the Philippines. Espanoles-Filipinos was the term that these people called themselves. Later, the native indios and Chinese mestizos also called themselves Filipinos in the belief that education and wealth gave them the cloak of Spanish culture. (From Bong Barrameda's Pinoy Trivia Vol. 1, Anvil Publishing, 1993).


It is believed that the term Pinoy to mean Filipino originated from the early Filipinos who came to the United States. The Manongs (uncles) as the "oldtimers" were also known called themselves Pinoys to distinguish themselves from Filipinos living in the Philippines. (Contributed partly by Dawn Bohulano Mabalon whose family has been using the terms Pinoy/Pinay since the 1920's.)


No one is certain where Flip came from to mean Filipino. Continuing discussions in soc.culture..filipino, soc.culture.asian.american and in the Pinoy-L mailing list make it certain that flip was originally a derogatory word for a Filipino similar to gook, kike and chink. Some pundits say flip came from either 'fucking little island people' or 'funny little island people' or 'flippin' little island people' or 'funky little island people'. In early to middle 1980's young Pilipino-Americans (as opposed to Filipino-Americans) began to use the term for themselves to make known their identity as Pilipino-Americans (the use of Pilipino instead of Filipino seems to be also another identity issue). Flip thus became an empowering word of identity. However, many are against owning the word because of its derogatory origins.


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