What Spanish Colonization Left in the Philippines

Surely, no Filipino would ever forget how the Spanish colonization had been the darkest era in Philippine history. Imagine, being under the oppressive regime of the Spaniards for 333 years is truly a nightmare. It feels like you have been blinded drastically and then incarcerated in a very dark and isolated cave.

Thanks to our national heroes including Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Gabriela Silang, Apolinario Mabini, etc. They all bravely fought against the colonizers to free the country from the tyrannical government of the Spaniards.

However, as part of the rich history of the Philippines, it is also important to know what are the major things that the Spanish colonization had brought to the country.

1. Christianity

The Spaniards had three main goals when they colonized the Philippines: more wealth, more power, and spread Catholicism. During that time, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, the first-ever governor-general, eagerly pushed for a fast-paced process of Christianization in the archaeological country as a counter for the move of Islamic conversion, especially in the Mindanao region.

Well-built churches and replicas of Gods like Sto. Niño was also introduced during that time. However, some Filipinos are still using their traditional way of praying in nature with their wooden anitos that symbolize their deities. But, if we will compare Christianity now and then, I can say that the religion during that time was powerful to the point that it could control the government. Many friars were also abusive as per what Jose Rizal described in his two famous novels.

2. Literature

Before the arrival of Spaniards in the Philippines, the country already had a rich literature. They have the so-called Kuwentong Bayan (folktales) which consists of mito or myth (about the origin of humans and deities), alamat or legend (origin of things, place, food, plants, etc.), and salaysayin or folklore (about moral lessons). They also have epiko or epic, which is a story of the heroic deed of a person. Awiting bayan (folk music) such as oyayi, diona, soliranin, kundiman, and talindaw and karungang bayan (folklores) like salawikain, sawikain, bugtong, and kasabihan.

However, as the Spaniards came in, the first era of Philippine literature had been greatly influenced by religion. During that time, reading materials like the first-ever religious book Doctrina Cristiana and Nuestra Señora del Rosario were popular. The pasyon or a long poetic verse of Jesus Christ’s life is one among those materials that Filipinos are still using up to this date. But, if you’re asking what the most significant change in Philippine literature is, their way of writing became critical and bold especially during the time of Jose Rizal. Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo are two of the famous output of Rizal which both aims to raise awareness regarding the

3. Revolution

During the Spanish colonization, violating human rights seemed to be not a crime at that time. They abuse the Indios by giving them work with no pay and sometimes with a little rest. Indios were the native Filipinos during that time, but they are the lowest class of people for the Spanish societal hierarchy. Women were not also given equal access to education and everything. They are being treated as either a servant or in worst cases, sex material. Also, Filipinos during that time were not allowed to criticize the government which is definitely against the freedom of speech and expression that we have today.

Therefore, due to their drastic treatment of the country and its people, the Filipinos have been provoked to stand up and fight the oppressive giants. And for me, revolution is the most important thing that the Spanish colonization left in the Philippines.

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