For more than just the colonization from Spain, many Filipinos relate more to Latino culture than Asian, despite their genetic background.
In his book “Latinos of Asia”, Anthony Christian Ocampo lists the many reasons that he, as a Filipino identifies with Latinos.
Religion plays a BIG role.
Catholicism is everywhere, The Virgin Mary is everywhere. Like something you’d see in Latin America,” Ocampo told NPR about his home country.
So does español.
Here in the U.S., many Filipinos grow up in Latino neighborhoods, further cementing the cultural bond. Plus, it’s not that much of a culture shock for Filipinos when your vocabulary is basically the same. Most Filipinos can tell you what mesa, cuchara and tenedor mean because of the huge overlap in language.
Filipinos are also often mistaken for Latinos due to their physical appearance and Spanish last names.
“Filipinos are really hard to place. We don’t really have a distinct look. We can look Chinese, we can look Mexican,” says Ocampo.
As a result of all of these factors and more, the population of over 3 million Filipino-Americans often identify more with Latinos than their so-called “own race,” causing us to wonder what truly defines race to begin with.
Read more about the overlap between Filipino and Latino culture here.