What is a Pinoy?

I got this article from a mailing list. It was written by a certain Perry Diaz who I found out is writing for myPinoyworld.com.

December 08, 2005


Perry Diaz

What is a Pinoy

Recently, a Filipino-American asked me a seemingly simple question: “What is a Pinoy?” My response was as simple as it could be, “A person of Filipino ancestry.” And, to my surprise, he responded: “My ancestors have been roaming the Earth for hundreds of thousands of years stopping to people islands and continents. Like them I have continued the journey. You can label me anything you want but in my heart I am still African. I have dug deeper for my true roots. I am a brother to all the people that you will meet on this planet for our ancestors came out of the same womb.” Well, I really don’t have any problem with his philosophical response except that he took the question completely out of context.
Of course, a Pinoy is a human being — a homo sapiens — that originated from Africa several million years ago. Didn’t we all learn that in grade school?

To begin with, “Pinoy” was coined by Filipino farm workers in the United States in the 1920s to identify themselves, sort of a code word. Today, “Pinoy” is a word that basically identifies a person of Filipino descent anywhere in the world. For some reason, however, there are people who are seemingly Filipino but would not identify — or see — themselves as Filipino… or Pinoy.

Some Pinoys would admit to being anybody but Pinoy. I heard of Pinoys who would rather say they’re Hawaiian or Polynesian. Some would say they’re Chinese, Asian, Spanish, Chinese-Spanish, Pacific Islander or any other ethnicity but Filipino. Some would rather be called Malay, Austronesian or Malayo-Polynesian. And there are some who would like to change the name of our country to something else — like Maharlika — so that they don’t have to think of themselves as Filipino. But would that make them different or better? So, what exactly is a Pinoy? I thought about it and here’s what I think Pinoy is:

A Pinoy is person who works overseas and remits his earnings to his family back home so that his children would get a good education and live comfortably. Today, there are more than 8 million Pinoys working in more than 120 countries around the world. Their annual remittances to their families were in excess of $12 billion a year not including the monies — estimated at another $10 billion — which were remitted outside of the banking system.

A Pinoy is a person in the medical profession who goes to the Philippines on a medical mission to treat the poor Pinoys. Every year, numerous medical missions from the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia go to different provinces to perform surgical procedures for those who can not afford to pay for medical treatment.

A Pinoy is a person who sends $20 every month to pay for the education of a poor boy or girl. There are several Filipino non-profit organizations in the US, Canada, Europe and Australia dedicated to helping poor children in the Philippines get an education.

A Pinoy is a 10-year old Filipino-American from Texas who sold his drawings to raise money to build houses for the poor in the Philippines. Tex Ona raised $4,000 to build four Gawad Kalinga homes.

A Pinoy is a young Filipino-American who mortgaged his home to build a Gawad Kalinga village. Joey Coronel and hundreds of Pinoys around the world have contributed to Gawad Kalinga to build homes for the poorest of the poor.

A Pinoy is an Englishman who fell in love with the Philippines and moved to the Philippines. Dylan Wilk, a young multi-millionaire Englishman has contributed and helped build thousands of homes in Gawad Kalinga villages.

A Pinoy is an American couple — Dan and Nancy Harrington — who founded the Books for the Barrios to provide quality education for Filipino school children in the barrios. Today, their innovative “Model of Excellence” program has been successfully implemented in numerous schools in the Philippines.

A Pinoy is a poor young Chinese who migrated to the Philippines and built a business empire. Today, Henry Sy gives back to his adopted country by putting one percent of his companies’ earnings to SM Foundation, which is into school buildings, low-cost housing and medical missions.

A Pinoy is a Filipino expatriate who retires in the Philippines and invests his savings to help the economy of the Philippines. There is a growing number of Filipino-Americans and other expats in other countries who choose to retire in the Philippines.

A Pinoy is a person with the “bayanihan” spirit and goes out of his way to help another Pinoy in need. Numerous Filipino organizations around the world are involved in raising funds to help the disaster victims in the Philippines.

A Pinoy is a Muslim mayor who inspires his people — Muslims and Christians alike — to work together. Today, thanks to Mayor Abubakar “Totoy” Paglas, the people of Datu Paglas, Maguindanao live in peace helping one another in the spirit of “bayanihan.”

A Pinoy is not just a generic human being who descended from Africa. A Pinoy is not necessarily of Filipino ancestry. A Pinoy could be an American, Chinese, Spanish, Englishman or any person on Earth. A Pinoy could be a Christian or a Muslim. Indeed, Pinoys are a unique group of people. They are diverse, yet homogeneous in their aspirations — and hope — for a better Philippines. They all have one thing in common: they love the Philippines. And in their hearts, they are Pinoy.

Published by

Erwin Oliva

Putting a dent on the universe one day at a time