Thursday, July 28, 2011

Filipinos and Counter-Cultures (A Commentary for "Filipino Hippies")

Here's a blog post of my colleague in Communication Arts, Ms. Paula Solmerano, about counter-cultures. I don't have that much idea about it, but I guess in the prevailing social issues and attitudes can be inserted here as additions to what she posted, of course, with her permission. You can see the original post HERE


Filipino Hippies
The world must need more love, because the last hippie has yet to die.
-Jesse Walker

            Counter-culture as defined in most references is a culture or way of life of particular people living in a society whom oppose or reject the dominant culture, norms, or behavior existing in that society. Some sociologists believe that culture in a society is never without a counter-culture. [And that is correct. Yet social issues today are so confusing that no one can distinguish what is the culture and what is the counter-culture.] To date, the most popular counter-culture was the ‘hippies’ which began their cultural revolution in the West during the 1960’s.  [which also brought about the Sexual Revolution that started the opening of the Pandora's box of contraceptive mentality and also the liturgical abuses that were practiced as a misinterpretation of the documents made at the Second Vatican Council.] However, locally speaking, some counter-cultures also existed and continues to exist in the Philippine society.

            One manifestation of cultural opposition is evident in the Philippines’ religion history during the pre-colonial period. Even before Catholicism becomes the dominant religion in the country, in the past, it can be considered as an opposition to the then prevailing religious system—Animism.  Animism can be used to describe the indigenous spiritual traditions practiced by people in the Philippines during pre-colonial times. It is a collection of beliefs and cultural mores anchored in the idea that the world is inhabited by spirits and supernatural entities, both good and bad, and that respect be accorded to them through nature worship. These spirits are known as ‘diwatas’. In this belief, some worship anitos and others even practice magic. This religion, in the past, holds the record of dominance for the whole archipelago but when Catholicism started to spread in the northern part of the country, the shift of the once principal to a minor religion ensues.

             In short, today’s leading religion, Catholicism, was then part of minor subculture in Philippine society which in the course of history, developed to be the main religion in its opposition and desire for propagation. Nowadays, only a handful of indigenous tribes continue to practice Animism. [and a number of people also practice its Western counterpart, Wicca, which is considered a cult by the Catholic Church.]

            As an example now of the present existence of cultural opposition in the country, youth again can be fairly counted. It seems that Philippines has its own “hippies”—only more socialites in sense--with the like of Katipunan ng mga Kabataang Kadre (KKK), an underground socialist youth in Mindanao. These young people, described as dynamic, bold and daring, is a sector, composed of various sub-sectors, which transcends to different sectors and classes of the society (Antoine, 2010).
            On the anniversary of Bonifacio Day, year 2009, the socialist oriented youth from the Bangsa Moro people, Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao and from the majority nationality, proclaimed the creation of a new underground, revolutionary socialist, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist youth society called the Katipunan ng mga Kabataang Kadre (KKK) or the Society of Young Cadres. This society is mainly based in Mindanao with elements in various parts of the country. It reflects the desire of the young revolutionaries to slowly unlearn and out-grow the Stalinists and Maoist orientations that they inherited. This is also to help create a counter –culture against the rising culture of careerism, opportunism, commercialization, and reformism that they view as the main culprit of havoc and confusion in various social sectors. (  Furthermore, according to the socialist youth there is a need to organize and mobilize all the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist youth under the banner of revolutionary socialism towards the realization in Mindanao, Philippines, and the world. [Looks like the idea is a fusion of Islamo-indegeous and communist thought, I presume.]

            Clearly, this example somehow violates one of the main considerations in defining what a counter-culture is: being not necessarily a social movement and members are often unorganized. However, the mere existence of the citizens having the same outlook against the existing social concerns of Philippine society presently already proves a fact that such culture exists in the country prior to the formation of their movement. This youth socialites stand for what they believe as the more proper way of living life and how social system in the country should change and not be tolerated anymore by its people. Indeed, an opposition of what is constantly happening in Philippine society. [Uh-huh]

            Lastly, the counter-culture that has been existing in the past, present, and in high chances, still continues to exist in the future shows the manifestation of Filipino colonial mentality. [Take, for example, the Sexual Revolution, which ushered in the ST films here in the Philippines, which in turn paved the way to pornography and voyeurism, and now, the RH Bill.]  At first thought colonial mentality may seem to be irrelevant in discussing Philippine society, but as Manuel L. Quezon said, “It is not, at least not entirely.” [Though some of Quezon's critics argue that he was a Janus-faced politician--facing the Filipinos, he speaks of his ardent desire for independence, on the other hand (or should I say face), he speaks with the Americans about other plans. Thus, Quezon is a counter-culture himself, much like Jekyll and Hyde]
            In an article of Manuel Quezon entitled Philippine Racism, he discussed the significance to highlight colonial mentality as part of Filipino culture. For some reasons, it already has became a characteristic of Filipino culture which therefore promotes a different  yet common subculture in the country—people who account a big part of their life by patronizing everything colonial and  deride anything that gives pride to what truly is “Filipino”. This culture is simply evident through the lifestyle some Filipino follow and their standpoint of beauty, in both aspects—physical and material. Sadly, even in media, this kind of lifestyle is portrayed. [and, sadly, even mimicked for the sake of ratings.]
             Furthermore, Quezon said, “The colonial mentality constitutes a weakness in the structure of our national society which we can ill afford.”. If one were to argue that this is a mere mentality or behavior, not a counter-culture of Filipino nationalism why therefore it affects society so much that it cannot afford to completely manifest in the culture of the country? The answer is because; it is indeed already a sub-culture continuously opposing the dominant nationalistic culture which ought to really rule. However, it may not be imperative that this kind of culture in Philippine society be eliminated, only minimized. As a result of the mentality, a sub-culture materializes and its defect in Philippine society can cause it to crumble.
            Aside from these three cases presented, the existence of counter-culture in Philippine society can also be pointed through a number more examples. These examples only prove that Philippines, just like any other country, has experienced, and still experiencing, counter-cultures.

Antoine. (n.d.). Philippines. Retrieved July 23, 2011, from
Quezon, M. L. (n.d.). Philippine Racism. Retrieved July 23, 2011, from
Religion in the Philippines. (n.d.). Retrieved July 23, 2011, from 

Blogger's Note: Paula Solmerano is currently a Communication Arts Junior at the University of Santo Tomas. At the time of this post, she works as a trainee and an undercover reporter for ABS-CBN Sports. Ms. Solmerano also blogs at Beneath a Dreamer's Apophthegm

Taking from here, Ms. Solmerano was right. There are existing counter-cultures which do not only shape society, but divides it into two or more schools of thought. 

The greatest example we can tackle here is the issue of contraception and the other issues related to it. Advocates of contraception are further divided into splinters of thought: on one hand, those who favor contraception as essential medicines and nothing more; on the other, those who favor contraception who also are advocates for abortion, divorce, same-sex marriages, euthanasia, secularism, neo-atheism, and even religious bigotry. In the three latter advocacies, there are still more collateral damage which they are pursuing--the discrediting and taxing of religious organizations, specifically the Catholic Church; the "education" of young minds to adhere neo-atheism; and much more. 

There is a loophole in these, however. It seems they only target Catholics--prelates, clergy, religious, and laity--just because, for them, they have the guts of opposing all of these, and they are the most rational among the religious institutions in the country, and basically, across the globe. Besides, what can they get from the other religious groups aside from their support? 

Aside from this prevailing word war on venues and in the Internet, there are many more counter-cultures that continues to make this country a house divided. 

Anyway, Thank you, Paula, for letting me do a commentary about this. 


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