An Origin Story of Sinophobia in the Philippines: Fear as a Colonial Transmission BY Diego Luis
The most violent episodes in the history of the Chinese overseas occurred in the Philippines during the seventeenth century. A cohort of Spanish historians has recently explored the intricacies of discrimination and assimilation among this vulnerable population, but the story of how the Filipinos of Luzon (primarily Tagalogs and Kapampangos) came to assist Spanish acts of ethnic cleansing remains to be told. In this talk, I argue that Sinophobia among Filipinos did not emerge independently of the formation of Spanish colonial society. Foregrounding pre-Hispanic Filipino relations with Chinese traders, Chinese acts of co-colonization, and growing Spanish dependence on Native auxiliaries, forms a prism through which to understand why Filipinos joined Spaniards in destroying the Parian and slaughtering its residents in 1603. This talk employs a rereading of Spanish colonial sources—in the tradition of New Conquest History (championed by Matthew Restall)—to generate new narratives of the tumultuous first decades of colonial Filipino history. The result ultimately challenges the traditional primacy of Sino-Spanish relations in the Philippines and centers Filipinos as the primary agents of this history.
Chinese Communities in the Urbanization of Iloilo City, Philippines: History, Identity and Cultural Formation BY Randy M Madrid
The paper traces the history of the establishment of Chinese communities in Iloilo beginning the 13th and 14th centuries with the founding of the port-city of Ogtong (Oton) that served as a port-of-call of the Nanyang Trade to the construction of the Arevalo shipyard during the early part of Spanish colonization and eventually through the formation of Chinese quarters called pariancillo during the late 18th century as well as the ultimate control of the city’s retail trade on the onset of the 19th century. Contrary to the popular belief that Iloilo City’s urbanization is primarily spurred by the British trade expansions in the overseas colonies, which include the opening of ports to international shipping and commerce, this paper assumes a different perspective by looking into facets of the region’s precolonial and colonial (intra-island and inter-island) trade as the tour de force that provided impetus to urbanization. By delving into archival evidences associated with the brisk Asian trade and correlating them to Spanish urbanish, a historical connection between the port city of Iloilo and the trading ports in Southeastern and Southern China (Quanzhou, Xiamen and Guangzhou) has been established. Apparently, Chinese labor and capital have been instrumental in the first urban concentration, which deliberately resulted to the emergence of the first urban middle class, the Chinese mestizos, who controlled the region’s textile and ultimately sugar trade. Overall, Chinese identity and cultural transformation are unravelled in different periods of Iloilo’s urban history, which can be interlinked with migration, subject formation and Chineseness.
The Chinese in Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, and Cuba: Lessons in Identity, History, and Culture for the Chinese in the Philippines BY Richard T. Chu
The Chinese in the Caribbean, specifically those from Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, and Panama, have had long histories dating back to the nineteenth-century when British and Spanish colonial powers started to bring them from Guangdong province. The primary goal was to provide labor for the sugar canes, guano nests, mines, etc. Around 1870s, Havana boasted to having the biggest Chinatown in the Caribbean, with more than 10,000 Chinese. Trinidad and Tobago’s population of Chinese waned after but many Trinidadians have Chinese mixture in their heritage, while Panama today has the highest percentage (6 percent) of Chinese in the country among Latin American countries. What stories, approaches, and lessons can be learned from comparing their histories to that of the Chinese in the Philippines? This paper specifically looks at the question of identity and how they were shaped by geo-political and socio-economic factors. What similarities do the Chinese in these three countries, whether “long-term” or recent immigrant, share with our experiences in the Philippines? What can we learn in the way scholars (both professional and amateur) studied these communities as we set up our own research agenda in studying the Chinese in the Philippines?