This week has been so excruciating for us here at the newsroom. Thanks to ‘Fil-Am idol’ Jasmine Trias who arrived in Manila just a few days ago. A week before that, the bosses were pestering me on how we could get Jasmine for an exclusive sit-down interview. I could not fathom how we had to go through all these brouhaha for a singer we call our own yet aspired to be the American Idol . The day after Jasmine arrived, headlines bannered “Jasmine Trias comes ‘home,'” “Homecoming for American Idol finalist.” This is after Jasmine herself said when asked if she was willing to stay in her supposed ‘home’: “I don’t think it’s possible at the moment. Besides, Hawaii is home for me.”
A month ago, during the Athens Olympics, all eyes were on Natalie Coughlin, the gold medalist swimmer whose grandmother, apparently, was a Filipina. Talks of getting her to play for the Philippines in the 2006 Asian games came about. An officemate agreed with me on how stupid the idea was. Being Filipino seems to have less and less meaning these days.
But who is and what makes a Filipino? For many of us, being born a Filipino citizen is the key. For some, just tracing your roots to one Filipino makes you one. As for me, citizenship is earned, not laid out on a silver platter. We work to earn the title of being true blue Pinoys.
Defining the Filipino is still a challenge for most of us but one thing I am certain, it’s not just ancestry or bloodline or eating adobo that defines us.