Netizens Complain about UP Summa Cum Laude’s Ethnicity: “Are Chinese-Filipinos So-called ‘True’ Filipinos?”

Tiffany Grace Uy

When in Manila posted about Tiffany Grace Uy, the UP student who just made history. She broke the record for the highest General Weighted Average since 1927! While some commenters expressed shock and admiration, some were quick to throw racist remarks. Others simply pointed out her ethnicity.

Butthurt Pinoy, a satirical blog, posted a photo of our readers’ comments following our feature of Tiffany.

Netizens Blame Her Ethnicity

A number of comments in the article were not intentionally racist, but proves that many Filipinos do not recognize Chinoys as fellow Filipinos.  Case in point:

“A perfect example of a Pinoy student. Maybe another icon.”

“She’s Chinese.”

“She’s not Pinay.”

Another commenter, Hilda F. Dordas, was unhappy with another “Chinese blood” listed in the history of UP. According to her, UP is supposed to be a place for Filipinos and for the poor.

But if ethnicity plays such a big part in determining who the “real Filipino” is, then who will be suited to be called a Filipino? Who is certain that all of their ancestors are 100% of Filipino ethnicity? If surnames determine who the real Filipinos are, what about Spanish surnames that were simply assigned to the Filipinos?

As a Chinese-Filipino myself, I was shocked to see racist comments: comments asking Chinoys to “go back to China,” comments questioning our allegiance in case a war breaks out, and comments blaming the Chinoys for the economic ills of the country.
I wonder why our allegiance has to be questioned in the first place. Having grown up with hundreds of Chinoys, I have yet to met at least one Chinese-Filipino who considers China as his or her home. I have yet to meet a Chinoy who pledges his or her allegiance to China. For many of us, the Philippines is the country we were born and raised in.

Chinoys have also repeatedly been on the Philippine’s side and took part in fighting and dying for the freedom that we now enjoy.
In Teresita Ang See’s lecture, The Fires of Revolution: Shared History, Shared Destiny last September 14, 2012, she cited numerous examples of the Chinese and the Filipinos who fought side by side against the foreign colonizers.
She talked about the 4,000 Chinese migrants who united with the natives of Jolo against Spain. While we know from the textbooks in our history classes about La Liga Filipina, a relatively unknown fact is that La Liga Filipina was formed in the house of a Chinese-Filipino, Doroteo Ongjunco. Some of the financiers were also Chinese mestizos. The Katipunero’s Ang Kalayaan, was printed in the house of  yet another Chinese mestizo, Pio Valenzuela. The GOMBURZA priests were all of both Filipino and Chinese ethnicity. The trece martires, or 13 martyrs of Cavite were all Chinese mestizos. Aguinaldo was also quoted praising General Jose Paua, a Chinese who recruited and led 3,000 Chinese revolutionists against Spain. Aguinaldo said, “Many Chinese sympathized with the cause of Philippine revolution, not a few also joined the revolutionary army and carried arms.” (Source)


I still believe that the Chinese-Filipinos are true Filipinos. With the debates and the tension involving China and Philippines, should Filipinos still question the allegiance of the Chinoys like what national artist F. Sionil Jose suggests?

In the article When in Manila published recently, 7 Debunked Myths about Chinoys that You Need to Know, I wrote about how the most troubling myth about Chinoys is that they are not “true” Filipinos:

The failure to acknowledge the Chinese-Filipinos as true Filipinos is the root cause of racism and xenophobia. Many Chinese-Filipinos have decided to stay here for good. The Philippines is the country they call home. Nationalistic quotes like “Filipino for Filipinos” and “Itaguyod ang sariling atin” seem great–until people demand exclusivity regarding who the “true Filipinos” are. Who are the “true” Filipinos? This is not a question of citizenship, of ethnicity, of jus sanguini or jus soli. It is a question of belongingness and exclusivity.  I think it should be about choice.

We do not choose the countries that we are born into. But we do get to choose what country we pledge our allegiance to, what country we choose to stay in.  Are these decisions less important than the color of our skin or the size of our eyes? Shouldn’t our choices count more than circumstances we could not control?

What about you? What do you think of the netizens’ reactions?