Social Climate

Who is ‘truly Filipino’?

/ 05:22 AM December 22, 2018

On the matter of whether Miss Catriona Gray — our newest (surely there shall be more) Miss Universe — is truly Filipina, with her mixed race and multi-country upbringing, let me bring up the 2013/14 National Identity survey in 32 countries of the International Social Survey Program (ISSP).

The survey interview tested eight attributes of national identity by means of a battery of questions, thus: “Some people say that the following things are important for being truly Filipino. Others say they are not important. How important do you think each of the following is?” Respondents could answer Very Important, Fairly Important, Not Very Important, Not Important At All, or Can’t Choose.


In the Philippines, the survey was done by Social Weather Stations on a representative national sample of 1,200 adults on Feb. 19-23, 2014.  Here are the SWS findings on the tested attributes of a true Filipino (“isang tunay na Pilipino”), arranged in order of the percentage calling it very important.

  1. Born in the Philippines, 83 percent. The Philippines is No. 1 in the ISSP group, far ahead of No. 2 India (68 percent), in calling place of birth very important. Only four other countries have majorities saying this. The ISSP average is only 39 percent, or a minority.
  1. Speaks Filipino, 81 percent. The Philippines is tied with Georgia for No. 1. Next come the United Kingdom (76), France (75), Czech Republic (74), Switzerland (73) and the United States (73). The ISSP average of 59 percent, or a clear majority, makes knowing the language the top attribute for having “true nationality.”
  1. Feels Filipino, 79 percent. The personal feeling of being a true national of the country is the second most important attribute in ISSP as a whole (average 54 percent). Georgia (84) is No. 1, and the Philippines is No. 2. In the 60s are France, Estonia, Iceland, Hungary and Taiwan. Ten of the 32 countries have percentages below 50.
  1. Is a Filipino citizen, 78 percent. The Philippines is No. 1 in ISSP, followed by No. 2 United States (72), in demanding citizenship. The ISSP average is 52. Fourteen of the 32 countries have percentages below 50.
  1. Has Filipino ancestry, 77 percent. The Philippines is No. 1 in ISSP, followed by No. 2 Georgia (71). Nos. 3 and 4 are Turkey (58) and India (53) in calling ancestry very important. All other countries are below 50. The ISSP average is 32—which suggests to me that only one-third of people in the world (for whom we have data) might feel embarrassed that mestizas are winning beauty contests.
  1. Lived in the Philippines for most of one’s life, 74 percent. With respect to residency, we are also No. 1 in ISSP, followed by Georgia (57), Turkey (54) and Russia (52). All others are below 50. The ISSP average is only 39.
  1. Belongs to the main (i.e. Catholic) religion, 73 percent. The Philippines is No. 1 in ISSP, followed by Georgia (69), which is Eastern Orthodox Christian, and Turkey (68), which is Muslim, in seeking commonality of religion. Then come Russia (42), Israel (41), and India (40). All others are below 40. The ISSP average of only 22 makes religion the weakest attribute for being a true national of a country.
  1. Respects Philippine political institutions and laws, 65 percent. The Philippines is No. 5 in ISSP, after No. 1 Norway (84), No. 2 France (83), No. 3 Sweden (78), and No. 4 Denmark (66). Respect for laws is our weakest demand, and yet it is still far above the ISSP average of 52. The percentages are below 50 in 16 countries.

Place of birth, speech, personal feeling, citizenship, ancestry, residence, religion and respect for laws: We Filipinos are rather purist in defining what is true nationality.


A very merry Christmas to all!

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TAGS: Catriona Gray, Mahar Mangahas, Miss Universe 2018, Social Climate, SWS survey, truly Filipino
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