Filipino is the name of both the people of the Philippines, and its national language. Filipino the language is based on Tagalog, but includes some words borrowed from Spanish, English, and a number of words from the many different dialects spoken in the Philippines.

Take note that the plural of Filipino is Filipinos. People often use Philipino, Philipinoe, and Filipinoes; all of which are wrong. An alternative spelling which is commonly accepted is "Pilipino", which is the Tagalog spelling.

The native people of the Philippines1 were not always called Filipinos. The term Filipino originally referred to a Spaniard born or residing in the Philippines. Other Philippine inhabitants were called Indios2 as were those indigenous to other Spanish colonies in Latin America and Mexico. For over 300 years, the Spaniards never called the native people Filipinos, as a constant reminder of inequality. It was not until after Philippine independence from Spain, gained in the Spanish American War3 of 1898, that indigenous indivduals were called Filipinos.

1named for King Philip II of Spain.
2A descriptor, not a slur.
3The first real overseas war fought by the U.S. to eventually gain control of a part of Asia.

Filipinos from the non-Tagalog speaking parts of the Philippines know that Pilipino, the so-called national language, is simply Tagalog. Visayans, in particular, hate having to speak Tagalog, and many educated Visayans find it demeaning to have to speak Tagalog. Tagalog was selected to become the "national" language purely by political reasons. After all, before Tagalog became the "national" language, Cebuano was the most widely spoken language in the Philippines and probably still holds that distinction.

Cebuano is often times referred to as Bisaya, but that is inaccurate. There are several other Bisayan dialects or languages which include Ilonggo, Waray, and Capul.

Fil`i*pi"no (?), n.; pl. Filipinos (#). [Sp.]

A native of the Philippine Islands, specif. one of Spanish descent or of mixed blood.

Then there are Filipinos, -- "children of the country," they are called, -- who are supposed to be pure-blooded descendants of Spanish settlers. But there are few of them without some touch of Chinese or native blood.
The Century.


© Webster 1913

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