What makes Fiction truly Filipino?

Just like everyone else who's written / posted on the subject (not just now but in the past - it's not a new topic of discussion, and not just on Speculative Fiction, but in general), I have my own own opinion. Here it is:

If it's

1. written by a Filipino / Filipina or by someone of Filipino / Filipina descent (in whatever language, except perhaps mathematical, programming, and mark-up languages); or
2. written about a Filipino / Filipina (in whatever language, except perhaps mathematical, programming, and mark-up languages); or
3. written about the Philippines - past, present, future, alternate history, alternate dimension (in whatever lang- well, you know the drill);
4. written in a Philippine dialect

then it's Philippine Fiction!

Pretty simple, no? Too simple, you say? Okay, let's take a closer look.

Criterion 1: written by a Filipino / Filipina or by someone of Filipino / Filipina descent

In My Not-So-Humble But Still Potentially Flawed-By-Virtue-Of-Being-Human Opinion (IMNSHBSPFBVOBHO for short), I believe that if by blood you're Pinoy or Pinay, you're part of the overall Filipino experience. No one person can claim to represent ALL Filipinos, anymore than any one guy can claim to speak for all guys.

(Actually, lots of people can claim to represent all Filipinos or speak for all guys, but IMNSHBSPFBVOBHO they are speaking based on their personal experiences and personal thought processes, which may not necessarily hold true for all the people they claim to represent.

So my solution - take 'em all as Philippine Fiction. Some may be better than others, and some may be outright crap, but then, the same can be said for fiction in general. But I'm gleefully digressing.)

So I go for the gestalt approach. They're ALL Philippine Fiction, and by reading and evaluating the parts or the whole, we get a good picture of what Philippine Fiction is. As far as subject and theme - no limits.

This may, of course, be different from what we'd like it to be, but that's another issue entirely.

Why so inclusive? I'm just an inclusive kind of guy. After all, there were waves of settlers before the Spaniards - the Malay / Indonesian bunch, the Chinese folks, the Indians (from India, not America), and so on. We trace our citizenship through blood as well so I figured bloodline was a good measure.

What if it's a person of pure Indian descent whose family came over generations ago, and is considered a Filipino citizen? Yep.

Criterion 2: written about a Filipino / Filipina

Yes, this includes stuff written by foreigners who have not become naturalized citizens of the Pearl of the Orient.

It may be a flawed mirror, but it is fiction, and it's about us (or one of us), so I include it.

Criterion 3: written about the Philippines

Similar to Argument 2, it's about the setting this time, not the characters.

Criterion 4: written in a Philipine dialect

If you're not Pinoy or Pinoy descent, if you don't write about Filipino characters or write based in a Philippine setting, but you do write something publishable in Ilocano or Cebuano or Chabacano - kabayan!

You may have noticed that I use language as an including factor. I don't really think that language / dialect should be an excluding factor, because while it's debatable some languages can express certain ideas "better", I believe that there are other aspects ng pagka-pinoy that transcend language. It may take a whole paragraph or novel to outline what is denoted and connoted by certain words like "loob" and "barkada" and "inihaw na bola ng kambing", but it can be done. There are limitations and strengths to all languages, and it is the challenge of the writer to communicate his or her story in whatever language he or she choses.

So that's my opinion. You're all open to your own, of course.

In fact, it's very pinoy to have your own opinion. And to voice it too.

No comments: