18 October 2023
Embassy Press and Information Section
WASHINGTON D.C. – The Sentro Rizal of the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C., in collaboration with the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) and the George Washington Philippine Cultural Society, recently organized an enlightening lecture titled “The Development of the Filipino National Identity.” This remarkable event featured Dr. Emmanuel F. Calairo, Chairperson of the Philippine National Historical Commission, and took place on October 12, 2023, at the Quezon Hall within the Philippine Embassy. This lecture was a significant component of the Embassy’s annual observance of Filipino American History Month (FAHM), which is celebrated throughout October.
During the event, Consul General Iric Cruz Arribas emphasized the profound importance of the concept of national identity, especially for the Filipino community in the United States. He underscored, “The concept of national identity holds immense significance, not only in the Philippines but also in nations worldwide. It represents the culmination of shared history, diverse cultures, values, and aspirations that unite us as a people. This importance is further magnified when we consider the over 4 million Filipino diaspora in the United States, spanning multiple generations with diverse migration backgrounds.”
Dr. Calairo delivered an insightful presentation on the evolution of the Filipino national identity, tracing its development from the pre-colonial era to the modern day. He highlighted the pivotal historical events that have influenced this identity and noted that it continues to evolve in response to the challenges posed by the digital age.
In conclusion, Consul General Arribas emphasized the importance of a genuine interest, particularly among the new generation of Filipino Americans, in learning about the history of the Filipino people. He stressed that understanding and appreciating the experiences and achievements of our ancestors is vital for acknowledging who we are as a people. “Our common history, he emphasized, binds all Filipinos, regardless of their birthplace, and forms the foundation of our identity.”
Dr. Calairo’s extensive background in historical research, education, and cultural advocacy, as well as his leadership in various academic organizations and institutions in the Philippines, underscores his commitment to preserving Philippine heritage and promoting a deeper understanding of Philippine history in his role as Chairperson of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).
Finally, it’s worth noting that Filipino American History Month (FAHM) is celebrated annually in the United States throughout October to commemorate the arrival of the first Filipinos in the U.S., who landed in Morro Bay, California, on October 18, 1587. This initiative was introduced by the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) in 1992, and the U.S. Congress officially recognized October as FAHM in the United States in 2009. ###
Consul General Iric Cruz Arribas welcomes the audience to the Embassy.