The conceit of Kapampangans

-A A +A

By Robby Tantingco

Peanut Gallery

Monday, December 3, 2012


DO FILIPINOS hate us Kapampangans because we are conceited, or are we conceited because Filipinos hate us?

I am raising the question because a recent article in The Philippine Daily Inquirer has again whipped up a storm among the newspaper’s anti Kapampangan readers.

The article is about the British Occupation—that period in 1762-64 when British forces tried to occupy the Philippines but were prevented from going beyond Manila by Simon de Anda, the Spanish general who organized a resistance movement, based in Bacolor, Pampanga and composed of mostly Kapampangan volunteers.

That article generated more than 1,500 shares on Facebook and Twitter, with 450 likes and 250 comments. It was, according to Inquirer correspondent and article writer Tonette Orejas., one of the most read articles in the newspaper that day. To think that it was just a small write-up about local history on the inside pages in the Regions section.

And it isn’t the first time it happened. I remember Tonette’s article about Tarik Soliman, the first Filipino to die defending the country (a fact that nobody knows), which landed on the front page for two consecutive days. It reaped a whirlwind of protests from the usual anti-Kapampangan readers, who could not accept it even in the face of overwhelming historical evidence?

About a month ago, the Inquirer again ran a front-page story on Kapampangan candidates for sainthood (Felipe Sonsong, Juan de Guerra, etc.), which provoked yet another round of protests.

Their prejudice against Kapampangans is so ingrained that they will never accept a Kapampangan becoming a hero or a saint.

Obviously, there is a strong anti-Kapampangan sentiment in this country. This prejudice probably began with the Macabebes defending the Spaniards against Gen. Aguinaldo’s revolutionary army, and then helping the Americans capture Gen. Aguinaldo himself. The Tagalogs took it hard, never forgot it, and never forgave us for it.

To them, all Kapampangans by extension are dugong aso, i.e., so blindly loyal to their colonial masters they would turn even against their fellow Filipinos. Never mind if the first Filipino to die defending the country was a Kapampangan from Macabebe, if Kapampangans were among the first to stage rebellions against the Spaniards in the 1500s and 1600s, and if Pampanga was one of the first provinces to join the revolution against Spain in 1896!

Never mind if the founders of the resistance movement against the Japanese in World War II were Kapampangans, and never mind if Tagalogs, Ilocanos, Visayans and Bicolanos also supported the colonizers at some point in history. And yes, never mind if the real traitors in the capture of Aguinaldo were not the Macabebes but two defectors from Aguinaldo’s own army, a Tagalog and an Ilocano!

To the rest of the country, Kapampangans were, are and will always be untrustworthy. We sabotaged the birth of Philippine independence then, we sabotaged the Philippine economy now (thanks to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo).

And so when the Inquirer came out with the article last week about Kapampangans’ defense of Spain against England, our usual critics came out charging again, guns blazing and mouths frothing.

“Sayang!” wrote one reader, “kundi pala sa mga Kapampangan na yan, katulad na tayo ng Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia at ibang former British colonies!”

Wrote another, “Kapampangans are traitors and have disgusting personalities, mayabang, maluho, and malandi. Don't marry a Kapampangan!” “And never elect a President again from Pampanga! They will sell our country to the highest foreign bidder due to their dubious loyalty and love of money to fund their ostentations, for Kapampangans are known to be maluho and hambog!”

“Right! And they have the most number of prostitutes too!”

“It’s in their blood. Ito ang tribung may suot na bayong lagi sa ulo at handing ipagkanulo ang kapwa nila Pinoy para sa sarili nilang kapakanan.”

“Hoy, wag nyo kaming gawing tanga katulad ninyong mga dugong aso!!! Hindi kayo Pilipino kundi aso!! Pweeeh!!”

Only Kapampangans can make other Filipinos mad like this. If they can only overcome their prejudice, their ignorance, their envy and their laziness, and reexamine history, they’ll probably not be so hypertensive. Or maybe some people are just mean and unkind.

But I think part of it also is because we Kapampangans ourselves provoke this kind of reaction.

There’s a word in the Kapampangan dictionary that’s unique to us: sunu. I can’t find any equivalent word in other regional languages, not even in English. When you say, “Isunu ke pin” the closest translation would be “He will not stop me from doing what I want to do. I will even overdo it.”

It is our nature as Kapampangans not to shrink from battle, much less from criticism. In fact, our usual response to criticism is “Isunu ke pin.” You call us mayabang? Then mayabang we will be. You consider us dugong aso? Then expect no loyalty from us.

Even Tarik Soliman in 1571 did not merely challenge Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. With characteristic Kapampangan braggadocio he told the Spanish conquistador, “I’d never be your friend, never! Even if lightning strikes me, even if it cuts my body in half, and even if my women leave me!” Then, instead of going down the stairs, he leaped out of the window and waved at the crowd outside. Very Kapampangan!

Nothing, and no one, can intimidate us. The ancient Kapampangan adage still rings true today: “Queng leon, queng tigri, e cu tatacut. Queca pa?” We feel no guilt and offer no apologies for the role the Macabebes and our other Kapampangan ancestors chose to play in history. We totally understand the historical circumstances that prompted them to do what they did.

What ethnic group in this country did not make compromises in time of war? Even Diego Silang sought help from the British to fight the Spaniards. And who ordered the killing of patriots Bonifacio and Antonio Luna? Do you hear Kapampangans cursing Emilio Aguinaldo?

We Kapampangans love tooting our own horns a lot, because we are proud of our cultural identity too much, and also because we are trying to raise our solitary voice above the cacophony of condemnations that are trying to drown us out.

As a people, we have a siege mentality, a fear of the extinction of our race. When you look at the map of Pampanga, you realize how small our province has become (it used to occupy the entire midsection of Luzon island). Its unique culture and unique language make it an island that barely stays afloat on a heaving sea of Tagalogs, Ilocanos, Zambals, Aetas, Pangasinesenses, etc.

This stressful situation is prompting Kapampangans to respond by banging their drums loudly—which comes across as conceit and arrogance.

We shout to the world that we are the best, the first, the most in everything, but actually, it’s a cry for help.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on December 04, 2012.

Opinion

DISCLAIMER: Sun.Star website welcomes friendly debate, but comments posted on this site do not necessary reflect the views of the Sun.Star management and its affiliates. Sun.Star reserves the right to delete, reproduce or modify comments posted here without notice. Posts that are inappropriate will automatically be deleted.

Forum rules: Do not use obscenity. Some words have been banned. Stick to the topic. Do not veer away from the discussion. Be coherent and respectful. Do not shout or use CAPITAL LETTERS!

Today's front page

Sun.Star Pampanga front page for August 01, 2014

Other front pages

Sun.Star Jobs
  • goodearth
  • Filipino Abroad
  • Sinulog
  • Sunstar Multimedia
  • Festivals
  • Calamity Report
  • Pnoy
  • ePaper
  • Obituary
  • Habemus Papam
  • SunStar Celebrity
  • Sun.Star Zup!
  • Technology
  • Pacman blog
  • tell it to sunstar
  • Philippine Polls