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Sep 30th
Home Sections Humor & Satire The Great Debate among Botomites of Whether to Change the Name of the Philippine Archipelago or Not
The Great Debate among Botomites of Whether to Change the Name of the Philippine Archipelago or Not PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Humor & Satire
Saturday, 12 January 2008 02:50

By Bobby M. Reyes

The original thread of discussion in the was “Subject: Re: Maharlika, ang Dakilang Lahi.” Soon, list members were suggesting new names for the Philippine archipelago. The original post called for the Philippines to be renamed the “Maharlika.” Even Apo Satur Respicio, the aging pundit from Hercules, California, butted in and suggested instead the name of the “Magayon Republic.” The Bicolano word, “magayon,” means beautiful. Poet-pundit Fred Burce Bunao told me, however, that adopting it might create the wrong impression that the “Magayonic” (sic) people are gay, as many Westerners would pronounce it, “May-gay-on.” Mr. Bunao’s parents hailed from Albay Province in the Bicol Region.

Writer's Note: Both Apo Satur Respicio and Poet-pundit Fred Burce Bunao have gone to the Great Beyond.

This writer did not post in the Botomo Mr. Bunao’s remarks and his suggestion of a new name for the homeland. Actually, Mr. Bunao, who is older than Apo Satur, suggested a new name that would be a combination of the archipelago’s indigenous people like the Aetas and the Latino world, as Spain was conquered by the Romans, the lords of then the many kingdoms of Italy. Mr. Bunao wanted to suggest the name of “Aetalia.”

This writer has a suggestion of his own. In order to rename the Philippines, the new name must be based on a word or product that is common to almost all inhabitants of the archipelago – from Aparri to Jolo. This writer could think of only the “balut” (duck egg that already has a well-developed embryo) and, therefore, the best new name for the homeland might as well be “Balutkistan.” Adopting this name might pacify our Muslim brethren, as the name is similar to the names of countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and all the Islamic countries that used to be members of the now-defunct Union of Socialist Soviet Republics.

On the other hand, Engr. Alfred C. Gilo, my friend from Dingras (Ilocos Norte) and Panama City (Florida), suggests that we adopt the name “Ilocoslovakia.” Then the dean of Filipino columnists, Max V. Soliven (now deceased), actually coined it. Engineer Gilo said that the vinegar, “Sukang Ilocos,” is a common product being used by Filipinos from Aparri to Jolo; therefore, the suggested name would represent best the commonality of the people of the archipelago. Besides he argues that the Czech Republic and the Slovak nation would immediately identify with “Ilocoslovakia” and boost the homeland’s tourism. He said that after all, the Philippine flag looks like the Czech banner in design and color selection. Then the archipelago’s Catholics venerate the Santo Niño de Praga and Prague of course is the capitol city of the Czech Republic. And adopting “Ilocoslovakia” may help generate more transparency in the Philippine government, as there would be more Czech and balance in the fiscal affairs of the Filipino homeland.

Why, I said that Mr. Gilo’s mentioning of the Ilocano vinegar should merit support from some Filipino and Filipino-American journalists (kuno) like the perrytale writer and the Batongmaliit chronicler. According to veteran journalist Joseph G. Lariosa, there is the adage, “Pinabili lang ng suka at pagbalik ay journalist na.”

Or perhaps, Filipinos may like to adopt the suggestion of many Bicolano Filipinos to rename the country the “Abaca Republic.” After all, the Philippines is the number-one producer of the abaca fiber in the world. “Abaca Republic” would sound better than “Banana Republic,” even in the merchandizing of clothes, especially RTW brand names. Since abaca is also called “Manila hemp,” perhaps the national slogan would be, “Why go banana when you can go hemp?” But the disadvantage here is that hemp is another moniker for marijuana and our women may be dubbed the “Mary Janes”?

So, Dear Readers, do you have a suggested new name for the homeland? Please send to this writer at your respective suggestions, as we can do a sequel to this article.

Here are the reproductions of some of the exchanges of opinion in the said Botomo thread, “Maharlika, ang Dakilang Lahi,” to wit:

Copper Sturgeon (AKA “TI” for Tumbagang Isda)



This is not a new issue, several countries in Europe changed names for the same reason.

For your benefit: The origin of the word Hispania is much disputed and the evidence is based merely upon what are at best apparent resemblances and the sketchiest of other supporting evidence. One theory holds it to be of Punic derivation, from the Phoenician language of colonizing Carthage. It may derive from i (meaning island), and shfanim (of the Semitic root S-P-N), literally translating to "Island of the Hyrax". Another theory, proposed by the etymologist Eric Partridge in his work "Origins", is that it is of Iberian derivation and that it is to be found in the pre-Roman name for Seville, Hispalis, which strongly hints of an ancient name for the country of *Hispa, an Iberian or Celtic root whose meaning is now lost, although it may instead derive from Heliopolis (Greek for "City of the Sun").

Substituting "Spanish" for Hispanicus or "Hispanic", or "Spain" for Hispania, though sometimes done by historians, is anachronistic and can be misleading, since the borders of modern Spain do not coincide with those of the Roman province of Hispania, or of the Visigothic Kingdom which briefly succeeded it. Although the Latin term Hispania was often used during Antiquity and the High Middle Ages as a geographical name for the Iberian Peninsula, its cognates "Spain" and "Spanish" have become increasingly associated with the Kingdom of Spain alone, after its formation in the 15th century under the Catholic Kings.

From Wikipedia for "Hispania"

There is little evidence in what you wrote actually. Conejos . . . hmmm.



Mr. Sturgeon actually replied to the posting of Ceferino (Kenneth) Benedicto, Jr., who posted the following remarks:

Nobody is claiming that we are Spaniards, duh!

Is that your take, i.e. the original post is to reclaim the native identity? What is the native identity, anyway?

The original post wanted to change the name Filipinas to Maharlika, which came from the Sanskrit word, Maha Lingam. The claim that Filipinas being named after the King of Spain was demeaning of the Maharlika, whom it was meant to mean noble or dakilang lahi . . . a misconception as earlier mentioned. Aside from the fact that it excludes non-Tagalogs . . . just look at the subject . . . It says Re: Maharlika, ang Dakilang Lahi.

In that case, Spain should consider changing its name too. Since España came from the Latin name Hispania meaning land of rabbits. Which now is more demeaning? To be named after a noble monarch, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, member of one of the longest-ruling royal families of Europe, the Habsburg, or to have a name describing your land as home to rabbits?




Earlier Jose Caedo posted his comments:


I hope you guys realize that the original post is to reclaim the native identity and not to go back into the old ways.

And the native identity has so many variations, since we are a multi-cultural nation, yes, all are Filipinos but nevertheless, some still claims Hispanic as their sole culture. You KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

But there are more who can claim native culturally and not lie, I have friends who are Manobo, Aeta, and Tausug who has no idea whatsoever what Tagalog and Lowland Filipino mean . . .

I have relatives who will continue to claim Hispanicity and yet cannot prove that direct relationship except through ancestry. Yes, it makes one BIG difference. Ancestry does not make it in the real world, only direct personal connection does.



Mr. Caedo replied actually to an earlier posting by TI, who wrote:



This is the reality of identity, Mexicans even of Spanish descent, like my friend whose father was from Barcelona, mother (was a) native Mexican mixed with Chinese (nope, they are not called mestizo, they are called criollo, less respected than mestizo!!), he is not Spanish, culturally or what ever you want to peg on him.

Something people will keep missing because of that personal prejudice that I try to remove here . . .  My personal prejudice, is simply: "Admit it!! You are Filipino and not Spaniard!" . . . This is from my grandmother whose brother fought for the Bulacan Katipunan, and fought the Americans . . . of course her father is Portuguese.


# # #

Atty. Jay Caedo, whom I visited in 2003 in San Franncisco, CA, with my then-host, Pep Red Vasquez, was a fellow alumnus of the Ateneo de Manila College of Law. He and Mr. Vasquez have also gone to the Great Beyond.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 February 2019 11:02

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