Let’s face it. Bad as they were, our Spanish conquerors did not spend all day dreaming up ways to make us miserable. They made us miserable by their very existence, milking our labor and resources to feed their empire. Still, we have to admit that their centuries as our overlords left us some good things too.
Here are five things that may just wash the bitter taste of subjugation from our mouths.
5. The Battle of Mactan
Alright, they didn’t really give this to us, per se, but it’s on the list anyway because it’s one of the few military victories we have.
Our war chiefs were not the best in the world, relying more on passion than any actual strategy or tactics, but this time, natives armed with spears, blades and bows won the day against one of the most formidable fighting forces of the age. Sure, they raped us for the next few hundred years,but on that day, we laid the smack down and made the Spanish our bitches.
Spain did not really feel the need to educate us indios, but they did need to teach our elites a bit of literacy. After all, there was no sense in having collaborators who couldn’t send you written reports of native uprisings and friar gossip, or couldn’t read orders demanding more slave labor.
This came back to bite them in the ass when our educated elites started the propaganda movement, and began agitating for equal rights and representation in the Cortes. It was all done politely, to be sure, but it planted the seeds of revolution, and taught us to write the Spanish equivalent of fuck you.
Fermentation is a natural process, and it doesn’t really take a rocket science to make hooch: our ancestors were getting drunk on rice wine and coconut toddy long before Magellan’s dad had his first wet dream. Anyone who has had tapuy, lambanog or basi knows, though, that novelty aside, they’re pretty vile drinks that trade potency for flavor.
Beer brought us to the threshold of civilization when the first brewery in Southeast Asia was established 1890, promptly taking us away again within hours. If there’s any doubt that beer is the manly man’s drink, consider that Bonifacio and his band of brawlers ignited the Philippine Revolution six years later.
Come on, it’s a cultural excuse to be unproductive after lunch. What’s not to like?
This Spanish habit of taking a midday nap is such a part of our psyche that parents enforce it every afternoon, threatening their children with spankings with various implements like rubber slippers and leather belts.
Nobody ever whipped a kid to force him to attend Sunday Mass, but parents will readily flay a child within an inch of his life if he doesn’t lie down and pretend to be asleep for at least an hour after lunch. That is how important siesta is.
Not prostitution, obviously. We’d have figured that out for ourselves, but the word itself is a thing of beauty.
No word can resonate across our hundreds of ethno-linguistic groups and convey so many different emotions than puta. It’s the glue that holds our society together. When at a loss for words or unsure how to react, this is generally a safe route to go (in terms of expressing emotion, though, and not actual safety.)