Jan 29, 2009

Filipinos: A People Who Love Horses?

No Nangato, Sukdalem
By Yungib A.V. Ramil
Januay 2009 Issue, Opinion Section, Page 4

FOR several years now I have been trying to popularize the idea that “Filipino,” the form of “Filipino” in the Philippine national language, is composed of two words: “pili” and “pino.” “Pili” means “chosen,” and “pino”means “fine,” “excellent” or “outstanding.” [“Pinoy” means super fine].

If you are of Filipino [“Filipino” ]ancestry and you got caught in moments of self-doubt or you suffer from a recurring sense of inferiority, remember the words “pili” and “pino.” Hopefully, they’ll aid in lifting your spirits up or in boosting your self-esteem. Take time to remind yourself that you are a special person no less than your neighbor or your co-worker, and that you are capable of excellent performance or achievement as anyone else.

“Baloney!” Remarked a well educated Filipina not so long ago when I shared with her the idea that “Filipino” is composed of the words “pili” and “pino.” She told me that she learned in high school and in college that “Filipino” was derived from the name of King Philipp II of Spain or from “Felipe.”

I told her that what she learned in high school or in college is correct from a historical point of view but that her understanding no longer applies. I reminded her that the Philippines became independent quite a number of years ago, and that she should now free to define herself or to give meaning to her being a Filipino in a way that would allow her to become the best that she can be…

Anyway, let us explore a possibility that is ingrained in the word “Felipe.” It is the Spanish form of a Greek word that means “one who love horses.” There you go. For Filipinos to become known as a people who love horses just might be an improvement to being known as a people who love fighting chickens.

Indeed, why should not Filipinos become more interested in horses?

About 35 years ago I had a chance encounter with a big Portugese-Hawaiian guy who preceeded to talk stories with me about horses. He looked at me and commented that with my body-build I should consider becoming a horse jockey! Who knows, if I had met the guy when I was in my teens, I could very well have become interested in horses, undergone training in handling and riding horses, and become a professional jockey. I suppose it would have been great to ride a racehorse like Secretariat and win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, or the so-called Tripple Crown in American horseracing.

To be sure, Filipinos are not without a significant tradition in raising and riding horses. In the Philippines [as in just about all other places in the civilized world] there was a time when horses and horse-drawn carriages where the principal means of transportation. When I was growing up in Ilocos Norte, there many operators of the “kalesa” and “karetela” [what the difference between the two?”]. This was especially so in Laoag. And when I was in college, I heard a lot of long-time and big-time of horseracing in Sta. Ana, Manila.

I have lived a quite long time on Maui. The only Filipino who I know raised a few horses several years ago is Herman Romero. It appears farfetched now, but who knows someday a Filipino might become famous in polo or rodeo or as a professional jockey and ride a champion racehorses at the Kentucky now, but who knows someday a Filipino might become famous in polo or rodeo or as a professional jockey and ride a champion racehorses at the Kentucky Derby and go on to win the Tripple Crown. After all the “Felipe” in Filipino means, “one who love horses.”

Posted by Rudy Ram. Rumbaoa
January 30, 2009

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