Thursday, September 13, 2007

Enrique Iglesias, Isabel Preysler and the Filipino Identity

So I watched the TV Española 2-part special on her "Hormigas Blancas", and I thought it was fantastic. I think many Filipinos, since I debuted her on my other celebrity site a few years (which until then, most didn't have a single idea that Enrique Iglesias' mom is Filipina) have a rather distorted viewpoint on her life, reflecting their being raised in Filipino movies which espouse a "mestizo elegance" lifestyle in which they, the public, and even the tv networks assume that affluent Filipinos walk around in luxurious silk bathrobes all the time, lounge around the pool drinking wine, and bossing their servidumbre around.

But of course that's not reality, Filipinos born in the middle to upper class still have to work hard for what they have, if that lifestyle in the movies were true where they were just lying around all the time, then for sure, the money would be gone in a second because they didn't have to time to work because they were too busy lounging around!Many Filipinos assume that Filipinos who migrated to Spain (like Junior Morales, and Isabel Preysler) speak only Spanish and don't know how to speak Tagalog, even if they grew up in the Philippines, and that's a ridiculous notion, stereotype, and belief, because you cannot be born and raised in the Philippines, talk to your neighbors and childhood friends, and attend Philippine schools by just speaking Spanish, of course they speak Tagalog. I do know that Isabel Preysler has hired Filipino women to be the yaya of her kids in Spain, and many members of her staff are Filipino, and Enrique Iglesias has said that he always heard Tagalog being spoken around the house growing up.

This assumption comes from the assumption that the Filipino identity is completely separate from the Latin/Spanish identity, forgetting that the Spanish identity has already been incorporated in the national Filipino identity along with the Malay elements, molding into one unifying culture - the Filipino culture.

Many Filipinos are also saying that Isabel Preysler is not Filipina, she's actually of pure Spanish blood, and that's not true either, and you only have to take one glance at her beautiful face and almond-shaped eyes to see that.

Isabel Preysler does speak Tagalog and English, and I know this because I've spoken personally to her in person before, and she is the nicest person you will ever meet. She's a true Filipina woman, and she always represents our country to the highest degree in Spain.

Filipinos also should stop referring to her as a Spanish mestiza, because even if she is, that doesn't make her special or unique or anything because a lot of our people are Spanish mestizos, not just among the rich because there is a lot of untraced Spanish ancestry in Spanish colonies due to the way things were, but that does not take away from the fact that she's a Filipina. In fact, it's politically incorrect to continue to use words like "mestizo", "mulato", and other terms from the colonial period that refer to race in Spanish-speaking society, because everyone is trying to look past race now. So when I see Filipinos are still doing it, I'm okay with it because I understand that they don't speak Spanish and so they're not so attuned as to the cultural norms of a completely different society than what they're familiar with. The Filipino race doesn't exist, the Malay race exists, but Filipino is not a race, it's a nationality.

I just know that there are a lot of stereotypes in the Philippines that need to be erased, such as: Mestizos are Rich, Chinese are Rich, Filipino-Americans are all rich, Filipino-Americans are all snobby and mayabang (conceited), and finally, celebrities of Filipino descent (Enrique Iglesias, etc.) are not proud of their heritage. These are detrimental to our national pride and we need to stop all of this miseducation among our people.

The Filipino heritage has already been infused with Spanish/European heritage, so to continue to refer to a Filipino person as a "Spanish mestizo" as if it was something special is redundant in itself, because many of us Filipinos are Spanish mestizos, but our nationality and identity are as Filipinos.

So this was my latest revision, someone keeps changing her second apellido to Arrástia, which is incorrect, it's Arrástria. Also, someone keeps saying she comes from a Spanish-Filipino family, which is redundant and not doing anything to promote Filipino pride, because remember, even if a Filipino is of Spanish descent, he still a Filipino because that's his nationality and his country. Many Filipinos don't understand this and always view Spanish as a separate "race" than Filipino, forgetting that Filipino is not a race, it's a nationality, and the two are many times one in the same (as in part of the same person, a Filipino of Malay/Spanish descent, like many of us are).

Here is Isabel Preysler's bio from Wikipedia:

Isabel Preysler Arrástria (born February 18, 1951 in Manila, Philippines) is a Filipina journalist, model and former TV talk show host in Madrid, Spain. She is known in the Spanish press as "La Reina de Corazones" (the Queen of Hearts) ever since a best-selling biography by the same name was published about her. She is the mother of international pop superstar Enrique Iglesias, Julio José Iglesias, Chabeli Iglesias, Tamara Falcó and Ana Boyer.

Preysler was born in the middle-class neighborhood of San Lorenzo, Manila, Philippines, the third of six children to a middle-class Filipino family. She attended the Colegio de Monjas de la Asuncion, a private Catholic school. Due to her good behaviour, she was often selected to represent the Virgin Mary in the local Christmas parades.

Her nickname as a child was "Chabeli", which would later be the nickname of her first child. According to the book "Reina de Corazones" by Paloma Barrientos, she dated Gregorio Araneta, Charlie Lopez, and Bobby Santos, among others, as a teenager.[1] Her older brother Enrique died in Hong Kong due to a heroine overdose. She named her second son Enrique Iglesias, in honor of her deceased brother. Joaquin, her second oldest brother, also had problems with drugs, but overcame them and now lives in Canada.

During her youth, Isabel participated in a charity beauty pageant for the Sheraton Hotel in Manila and was crowned queen. Jun Ikalav, a playboy with a bad reputation, started dating Isabel. This worried her parents, and at the age of 18, she was sent to live in Madrid with her uncle and aunt to study at Mary Ward College, an Irish Catholic university in Spain, where she studied Accounting. It was at a party in 1970 that she was introduced to a family friend by the name of Julio Iglesias, who at the time was not yet a famous singer. The couple had their wedding just seven months later and were married for seven years, during which time they had three children, Chabeli, Julio Jr. and Enrique. In accordance with their rising careers, Julio as a singer, and Isabel as a model in Spain and Europe, they exploded onto the scene in 1971 and became overnight superstars in Spain and Latin America.

Following their divorce in 1978, Isabel launched her own career as a journalist for Spanish magazine ¡Hola! and her first interviewee was Julio himself. She also interviewed Richard Chamberlain. She married the Marquis de Grignon, Carlos Falcó, on 23 March 1980, a short-lived marriage resulted in the birth of a second daughter, Tamara. She later married former Spanish finance minister, Miguel Boyer, with whom she has another daughter, Ana. This marriage symbolized for critics the alliance of the ruling Spanish Socialist Workers Party, part of the leftist opposition to Francisco Franco, and to the "beautiful people" (aristocracy and bourgeoisie).

Often dubbed "La Perla de Manila" by the Spanish media ("The Pearl of Manila"), readers at Hola magazine have voted Isabel as the most elegant and best-dressed woman in Spain for 1991, 2002, and 2004, and she has consistently topped the best-dressed lists over the years in various Spanish magazines.

In 1984, she hosted the Spanish lifestyle TV programme, "Hoy." She has been chosen by several companies to be an image sponsor for their products, including Ferrero Rocher, Suárez jewelery, and, most notably, the Spanish tile company, Porcelanosa.

In 1987, her two sisters moved to Spain with their families to be closer to Isabel.

Her father, Carlos Preysler, has passed away. Her mother, Beatriz Preysler, still lives in Manila where Isabel is known to visit frequently with her children. She is close friends with Maurice Arcache, a local Philippine journalist and socialite. She frequents social events in Manila, including events hosted by the Spanish Embassy of the Philippines. She is also friends with Miriam Quiambao, Miss Philippines-Universe 1999, ever since they met at a party hosted by the Philippine Daily Inquire, a national newspaper, and with fellow Filipina and acclaimed fashion designer Monique Lhuillier, who she met in Los Angeles during a trip. She is known to wear Lhullier gowns at social events in Spain.

In May 2001, she was Prince Charles' guest of honour for the opening of his Spanish Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in England. She was his guest of honor again in 2005 at a garden party during a trip to Spain by the Royal Crown.

In 2004, the became Spain's welcoming host for David and Victoria Beckham when she hosted a welcoming party at her house for the celebrity couple. She became close friends with Victoria and was often photographed shopping with her during their stay in Madrid. [2]

Most recently she launched her official website at the suggestion of her son Enrique, who is one of her biggest fans. She continues to be the national spokesmodel for Ferrero Rocher, Suárez jewelery, and Porcelanosa, for which American actor George Clooney recently joined her in Fall 2006 to represent the brand in a new advertising campaign. [3]

As Enrique points she is noted for conserving her beauty in spite of her age. She, her family, and her home are frequent presences in Spanish magazines. She also helps participate in events for the Philippine Embassy in Madrid.

References

  1. ^ "Hormigas blancas" Isabel Preysler - TVEspañola http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oe2IMgnY04s
  2. ^ www.20minutos.es/noticia/234551/0/vicky/bree/desembarco/
  3. ^ Hola! Magazine November 8 2006 http://www.clooneystudio.com/articles/hola110806.html

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why do we really have to be too centered of the physical appearance and be elitist .I don't care of the Iglesias and the celebrity glory .How about the majority of brown skinned pinoys submerged in poverty.I knew most pinoys are proud to trace back their "tisoyness" /ancestry to Spanish roots when in fact it could traced back to Spain's rule in the inquisition ,kill /expel or convert the jews or other heretics to RC. Isn't that bad enough of Spain's history .

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empress said...

I would be proud to be a mixed of different races because we look so unique and special from the other foreign beauties. I prove it to myself that a FILIPINA has an amazing beauty which is very rare and can't be seen in the face of every woman in the world.Seemed that the genes that we inherit from our ancestors showing co-dominance in genetics language because the Spanish/European, Japanese and american beauty leave traces the way we look today.

Anonymous said...

Who are you (the author)? You're so OVER-P.C. It's OK and kewl to be called 'Spanish mestizo' in the Philippines because that's how it's always been. Stop trying to change traditions. Now, if Isabel Preysler-Iglesias-Falcon-Hilton-Warner-Burton-Fortensky-Boyer were really "Filipina" as you claim, why isn't she the spokeswoman for Rufina Patis or Imelda Bagoong; or writes for Kislap? Instead she writes for Hola! (Where is the friggin' inverted exclamation point that only the Spanish were weird enough to invent (just like transposing the maternal and paternal surnames--that is just sooooooooo retarded!!) And of course, the fairer-mas maputing persons have an advantage in life. I am sure if Isabel were darker and uglier than Nora Aunor, she would be a nobody..not some socialite in Spain!! Di ba?

Anonymous said...

Are Mexicans not Mexicans because they're of Mayan-Spanish descent? Are Peruvians not Peruvians but only from Peru because they're of Incan-Spanish descent? Are Native Americans (in all their separate tribes), then not Hopi, Apache, Inuit and whatever else but rather Asians who lived in pre-colonial America?
Filipino is a race. We've developed and combined our own languages, we've developed our own culture. And your saying that it only takes one look to be able to tell that Isabel is Filipina sort of contradicts that.
Why can't Filipino be a race? We're our own people and our own culture. Everyone has had to come from somewhere, and even Spaniards come from Greek and Roman descent. Face it, we're all mixes of something, and saying that Filipino is not a race is not only dumb-sounding, but you are downplaying your heritage, trashing a whole ethnicity, while making yourself look very ignorant.

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Jose Airoso said...

Well, we could not compare Fiipinos to Mexican, actually Mexicans are Indians/Spanish without any itentities unlike Filipinos are not race its nationality. Because Filipinos are malay/spanish mixture unlike mexican has no dialects on there own. There are Indians in south america who still have natives out there. Usually Spanish people are scattering there human race in pacific which is Filipinas, USA, all parts of south america and elsewhere. Ass hole, que barbaridan..

Anonymous said...

RACE....Black-Africa, White-Caucasians from Europe, Brown Malayans from Asia, Yellow-Mongolians from China, Red-Indians from North & South America.
MIXED RACES....Mestizos, Mulatto, Quadroon.

Nationality-rooted from the word nation or origin of country.

Experts came up with contradictory analysis conclusions on the issue of race. While Forensic use bone structures of nose, cheekbones, etc to identify race.

Anonymous said...

The Preyslers, Iglesias, Arrastias, Aboitiz, or Lhuilliers from the Philippines are not really like other Filipinos. They're rich, and whether you like it or not - whether they are of mix origin, mestizo, or not - they can pass as White and/or Caucasian. This appearance of whiteness is big in how they are perceived ethnically. And yes, there may be traces of Filipino/Malay in their faces. But those are visual accents, and doesn't necessarily give an impression that they are Filipino. This is no doubt the case with Isabel Preysler in Spain. Her Spanish accent feels like Spain is her home. Thus, big companies there like her, and want her image for a European market. Do they think she's Filipino? Perhaps...but as an accent in her personality, on how she projects herself. Does she think she's Filipino herself? Nobody knows that. Identity is too subjective. Sure, she can act and give gestures that she is Filipino, but in the end she chose to be in Europe and not the Philippines, even though some of her family members - her sister, especially - were active during the 1986 People Power revolution. If the likes of the Preyslers and other 'Euro/Anglo-Filipinos' can speak Spanish or French fluently, the more their Filipino-ness becomes invisible. But they're diplomatic about their Filipino identity, because the era of overt colonialism is (somehow over). They are diplomatic about how they are perceived by other Filipinos because they have business interests in the islands. And so, they have to give an appearance that they, too, are of the Philippines, for Filipinos. Enrique Iglesias was proud about his background (and was somewhat subtle), when he was in Jay Leno's how once. He wore a shirt with the Philippine flag or the word Philippines in it. He even said his mother is Filipina. It's probably in Youtube.

But I bet you the money of these rich Euro/Anglo-Pinoys does not stay in the Philippine to help Filipinos but are stashed somewhere safe, say, in European bank vaults.

The Preyslers move in circles beyond fixed national identity. Include the Zobels, Ayalas, or Sorianos to that. Because of their business interests, they have multiple nationalities.

Isabel Preysler is still mestiza Filipina. I often tend to think of her as European. But does she represent Filipino identity? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

The Preyslers, Iglesias, Arrastias, Aboitiz, or Lhuilliers from the Philippines are not really like other Filipinos. They're rich, and whether you like it or not - whether they are of mix origin, mestizo, or not - they can pass as White and/or Caucasian. This appearance of whiteness is big in how they are perceived ethnically. And yes, there may be traces of Filipino/Malay in their faces. But those are visual accents, and doesn't necessarily give an impression that they are Filipino. This is no doubt the case with Isabel Preysler in Spain. Her Spanish accent feels like Spain is her home. Thus, big companies there like her, and want her image for a European market. Do they think she's Filipino? Perhaps...but as an accent in her personality, on how she projects herself. Does she think she's Filipino herself? Nobody knows that. Identity is too subjective. Sure, she can act and give gestures that she is Filipino, but in the end she chose to be in Europe and not the Philippines, even though some of her family members - her sister, especially - were active during the 1986 People Power revolution. If the likes of the Preyslers and other 'Euro/Anglo-Filipinos' can speak Spanish or French fluently, the more their Filipino-ness becomes invisible. But they're diplomatic about their Filipino identity, because the era of overt colonialism is (somehow over). They are diplomatic about how they are perceived by other Filipinos because they have business interests in the islands. And so, they have to give an appearance that they, too, are of the Philippines, for Filipinos. Enrique Iglesias was proud about his background (and was somewhat subtle), when he was in Jay Leno's how once. He wore a shirt with the Philippine flag or the word Philippines in it. He even said his mother is Filipina. It's probably in Youtube.

But I bet you the money of these rich Euro/Anglo-Pinoys does not stay in the Philippine to help Filipinos but are stashed somewhere safe, say, in European bank vaults.

The Preyslers move in circles beyond fixed national identity. Include the Zobels, Ayalas, or Sorianos to that. Because of their business interests, they have multiple nationalities.

Isabel Preysler is still mestiza Filipina. I often tend to think of her as European. But does she represent Filipino identity? I doubt it.

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Anonymous said...

Why all the philipinos in Australia. I live in Australia for 25 years. all of them are. "Spanish"...is embarresing. you see their Asian/black faces but still they are Spanish. poor them

Anonymous said...

Philipinos feel embarresing to be filipinos. keep the same broken record " I am Spanish"

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Her life and career blossomed in Spain. Just because you have made your life in another country does NOT mean you have lost who you are.

Anonymous said...

Isabel Preysler was born in the Philippines, of Spanish descent (Spain, Europe). Spain colonized the country from 1521 to 1898. She is considered Philippine because she was born there. In American culture people might use a hyphen to identify someone's ethnicity or race: Asian-American, African-American, etc. I don't believe that usage is common in Spanish speaking countries, but I'm sure if you do enough research you might find exceptions. Normally, people do not go around saying "I'm of mixed race," since in some countries it might not be the exception but the norm to be of two or more races.

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Anonymous said...

Yes, I do agree that Filipino is not a race but, as you have mentioned, a nationality. It is not to say that Filipinos are of lesser being but a unique combination of cultures with no dominant trait yet. A melting pot that has not yet been blended enough to create a new brew.

When a person says he's a Filipino, in general, it would refer to a country of birth more than a specific race or culture. When one says I am proud to be a Filipino, it would generally mean I am proud of the Philippines, my place of birth or my heritage.

siempreJarocho said...

I don't understand why Filipinos cling to an almost non existent spanish admixture.... I read a DNA research of the Philipines and found that only 0.02 percent of the entire population has colonial european DNA (aka spanish blood) Just about every filipino who I have spoken with will tell me of their spanish blood, and when I say to them, hum, you don't look at all spanish, they will almost always attempt to prove their "spanish" roots by rattling off ramdom spanish words such as: "una y media" or "' la mesa"... After listening to this one Filipino attempting to convince some white guy that filipinos were half Malay and half spanish, and that he, as well as all Filipinos spoke spanish, I began speaking spanish to him but he got mad and walked away.... I don't know why the spanish mixed very, very, very little with Filipinos, nor do I know why the spanish language was not taught to Filipinos, but that's just the way it is.... The spanish were in the Philpines much longer than they were in Latin America, yet they did not seem to pass on much of their blood or culture... Yes, sure they forced Catholicism on the P.I. but that was just another form of non physical control... And yes, filipinos picked up a few spanish words here and there, and a few, very few were formally taught spanish, however, this does not constitute a european admixture.... Latin nations were forced to speak the language and to practice a lot of their traditions... During the colonial period, when spain could no longer import African slaves, they, the spanish imported filipino "negritos" and Australian Aborigines to Mexico (Alcapulco) The clergy of spain had the Indigenous of Mexico released from slavery because they were dying by the millions, and the law became that only black people could serve as slaves (this is why they brought the negrito of PI and the Aborigines.... Little did they know that the Negrito of the PI dno longer has African DNA... The Negritos have been in P I longer than 60,000 years, and after 60,000 years a peoples DNA changes to their current environment. .. Interesting !!!!!

Dalia Bien said...

Mexicans are not all half Indio and half Spanish. In the North, many Mexicans are of German descent, some full Germans still - yet they are considered Mexican. In the Yucatan, many Mexicans are Native Americans who do no speak Spanish. Other Mexicans are part Middle Eastern, including Salma Hayak, who is of Lebanese and Spanish descent. The Filipinos are similar - an admixture of Malay, Chinese, and Spanish all to differing extents.

Anonymous said...

I'm here because I'm just researching about Enrique (as a fan). I enjoyed reading this article. Proud to be Filipino :)

Mori Na Joven said...

I was browsing about food and ended up with Chabeli Iglesias and got interested again to look up Isabel Presyler. One feedback from this blog mentioned the unique features or personality? of the Filipino that became this unique looking person due to the very mixed and varied blood that ran through their veins. Traveling in Asia, I never was once immediately singled as Filipino. I looked everything Asian except Filipino. But I am every bit of Filipino, warts and all. I like learning about our culture and history and dwell more on the positive and take the negative aspect to reflect but not bash. More than saying that Presyler is or not Filipino, I'm okay she is not denying her Filipino blood. That her son Enrique admits it as well is good. When I see her in videos, I see her very Filipina, even with her high nose. I don't think she could make or maintain her lifestyle had she opted to live in the Philippines. She was a teenager when she went back to Spain and also made a career and married there.

mhiemhay olay said...

May pinag huhugutan ka? 😊