Branding and judgment, we cannot put those two in separate bowls. Simply because when we brand we judge and vice versa. We have brands of clothes, medicines, and food because we mark each of them lesser or greater than the others. It has become human nature to put a wall and differentiate ourselves from the rest. Whoever started it influenced a whole great deal of humanity because today we have 2 major distinctions-the rich and the poor. With this tagging comes a society who loves exclusivity, and in our search for belongingness we become discriminatory and mean. Even in our small group of islands, we compete on who is more sophisticated, more educated, intelligent and classy.
Manila. I set foot in Manila with my husband and kid and with no plans. No plans on where to go and no plans on what to do. We jumped on the plane thinking of doing spontaneous acts during our vacation. We just wanted to see Manila, one of the stuff on our bucket list. Husband and me have both grown in the small island in the Visayas and have only been in 3 or 4 islands so far-and we have more than 1,700 islands in this country. We were both thrilled about this trip because we have been set to go to Enchanted Kingdom courtesy of my brother. As it turned out, our trip went great. We met a few of my husband’s relatives there, and we had quite a VIP treatment.
On our first day in Manila, we went malling. As if Cebu malls were not sufficient, but truth is, we just wanted to go some place familiar and no other place greater than the inside of a mall. I almost forgot that we were in Manila that I often speak vernacular to the store clerks and cashiers. They just go open their mouths as a hint that they did not understand me, and then I go talk in English which is worse. A Filipino talking to a stranger Filipino in english is a show-off, that is a fact. I find it weird though that Cebuanos are more comfortable talking in English than in our national language. As for me, I did not want to embarrass myself speaking improperly in a language and being laughed at.
It has been of annoyance to a few people living in Luzon that some Bisaya prefer English than Tagalog. But yes, Bisaya do that because we talk English more than Tagalog. A brother of mine was bullied on his first few months working in Manila just because he is a “Bisaya”, until such time that he got promoted and they call him “Sir”. I am not sure how the battle of supremacy started, and I begin to wonder why there’s a necessity for that. If we have to label ourselves from the region where we come from, how can we be united as a nation? The elite and the exclusive. We oh so love being part of a league and we begin to associate our lives primarily to that. We are just one nation, we are Filipinos. We belong to a very big group. Isn’t that exclusive enough?
Many Tagalogs and Bisayas go along pretty well. Some get married and some are best friends. But until we stop listening to intonation and accent we shall always be victims and culprits of labels and branding. Who is more intelligent, rich and pretty? I don’t want to start with that.