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Abstract: The Philippine archipelago is made up of over 2,000 inhabited islands and populated by 100 million people speaking over 150 languages. How is it that such a geographically and linguistically diverse population became a nation of Filipinos? An investigation into the origins of the Philippine nationalist movement beginning in the late nineteenth century highlights the effect of colonialism on political and social thought in the Philippines. By conducting primary source analysis through the lens of Hroch’s phases of nationalism, the historical trajectory of Philippine nationalism is shown to be rooted in both anti-colonial and revolutionary discourse.
After centuries of colonial domination by Spain, leaders such as José Rizal and Emilio Aguinaldo sought to capture the shared cultural trauma of peoples around the archipelago. What unified the people of the Philippines into a nation of Filipinos was the shared experience of colonialism and the cultural memory of abuses therein. It is this shared experience that allows for the conception of the patria, or ‘homeland’, amongst the members of the Philippine nation.