Does anyone have the right to tell Liza Soberano how “Filipino” she is?

People are criticising Filipino actress Liza Soberano for not being “Filipino enough” to play a lead role in the television drama Bagani. This is interesting because, really, there really is no one single authority on who is and who isn’t “Filipino”. Some may say that the Bureau of Immigration is the final authority on who is. But that only goes as far as citizenship. Many Filipinos who have taken residence and even citizenship overseas — and there are millions of them — still identify as being “Filipino”. Who’s gonna challenge that?

The fact is, Filipinos still have a long way to go towards defining their own character as a people. For those who criticise Soberano, it seems skin colour is a primary criterion. For them, “Filipino” is a race. If that is so, what does that make Filipinos who are patrons of the country’s billion-peso skin whitening industry? If a Filipino gets a nose job to turn her nose from being pangò (flat and broad) to being matangos (narrow and pointed), does that transform her into a “lesser” Filipino?

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Soberano can’t help being born to her parents and being mestiza (of “mixed ethnicity”) as a result. In fact, being so gave her a huge advantage in the Philippines’ entertainment industry which caters to an audience that evidently favours fair-skinned performers. Indeed, the role models provided by Philippine showbiz is what pretty much fuels its vast cosmetics and cosmetic surgery industry.

The confused nature of the way Philippine society deals with its diverse ethnic brew is what makes the brouhaha over Soberano’s role in Bagani quite laughable. This is obviously a society that lacks ascendancy to define who is and isn’t counted as one of its members. Filipinos need to find a better and smarter way of defining themselves. Excluding Soberano because of her skin colour is just plain ridiculous and, quite frankly, a bit primitive.

10 Replies to “Does anyone have the right to tell Liza Soberano how “Filipino” she is?”

  1. The biblical account of Sodom and Gomorrah is recorded in Genesis chapters 18-19. Genesis chapter 18 records the Lord and two angels coming to speak with Abraham. The Lord informed Abraham that “the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous” (Genesis 18:20). Verses 22- 33 …

  2. Some of the Filipinos, had inherent Spanish blood. Some are of Spanish heritage. Some are of American heritage. Other nationalities, has mixed with the Filipino blood, already. Especially the OFWs, who were raped, seduced or are mistresses of their employers. some are of Chinese and Japanese blood.

    We cannot define a Filipino, by its looks, anymore. Many are living in Europe, married to Europeans, and had Eurasian children. Many are living in America, some are married to Americans, and had Filipino American children. and so forth and so on…

    1. …and I bet 75% of them are whores hoping Whitey will grant them a ticket outta this here dump and give them media-genic offspring

  3. Liza works hard and pays taxes the same way we do, she helps the needy om the streets and gives to charity from her pocket and from her endorsements. Nobody has the right to discriminate her. If some people wants to create awareness regarding issues about skin color, don’t focus on one person who only does her job amd is good at it. Thank you for the article.

  4. Questioning someone’s “Filipinoness” is classical hypocrisy that satisfies that one way of getting dopamine, by putting down others to claim moral superiority and feeling good about it. Same with shaming of intelligent people and English speakers.

  5. This issue might just have been intentionally fed in social media to generate noise and then public interest for Liza’s upcoming tele-serye. And then while people, in the meantime, are at it, new endorsements for the casts are in the works. Now, more starstruck ignoramuses just made the people behind the Kapamilya network more than happy! Brilliant!

  6. I think what these people mean by Filipino is “katutubo” or “large amount of indigenous blood.” I suppose their argument is that a “katutubo-looking” person would have been a more accurate portrayal, but instead, chose those with higher amounts of foreign blood. It’s akin to having a black Caesar or a white Nelson Mandela.

    They shouldn’t have gone as far as compromising her identity as a Filipino, though. Filipino, American, German, etc. are nationalities. Malay, Mediterranean, Nordic, East Asian, etc. are races.

  7. Much of human behavior can be explained by watching the wild beasts around us. They are constantly teaching us things about ourselves and the way of the universe, but most people are too blind to watch and listen.

  8. The recent Filipina candidates in beauty contest aren’t “pure” Filipino, yet they’re supported. Gee.

    Bagani is an fictional universe with heavy influence of filipino culture, yet it shouldn’t mean its exclusive for filipino actors only.

  9. “…what does that make Filipinos who are patrons of the country’s billion-peso skin whitening industry?”

    It appears to be a case of something somewhat similar for the proponents involved, though in a reverse situation of the above when it suits them.

    Some say it wasn’t about Liza but more about the creators’ idea of casting mestiza actors, then having them drenched with tanning make-up, to make them appear dark-skinned Filipinos. Still, some say, that, Bagani (the show) though set in a fictional world, it still remains about Philippine mythology.

    Obviously the producers/creators are banking more on the star power of their actors rather than the whole project itself – script/storyline, over-all production…

    But wait, let Liza speak, for those who criticise her whose primary criterion for being a pinoy is skin colour, she has this to say:

    “And who says were not pinoy? My Father is full filipino. I was raised by two filipinos since the age of 4. I looooove sinigang i think thats as pinoy as pinoy can get.”

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