Ugly foreigner

EVERYDAY HEROES

When I first came to Dumaguete City, a young Filipina confessed to me that her mother used to scare her by threatening to give her to the “horrible white foreigner”.

When I was on the radio, a lady called up and said, “You have no opinion. You are a foreigner.”

The very first Filipina friend I made in this city, after knowing me and my heart for fourteen years, said, “Do not talk about the Philippines: you are not Filipino.”

The only family I have lives in Dumaguete City. The only home I have is in Dumaguete City.  I have supported the Philippines and Dumaguete City in every way I know how, but no matter what I do, I am still a “foreigner”.

One might get the impression that most Filipinos want foreigners to go home. The erroneous assumption is only Filipinos can or have loved the Philippines. Foreigners just want to exploit the Philippines.

Ever hear of James H. Blount? He earned the nickname “The Anti-Imperialist”. He worked tirelessly championing the fight for freedom of the Philippine people. This ugly foreigner not only wrote a scathing honest account of the exploitation of the Philippine people (“The American Occupation of the Philippines 1898-1912”) but tirelessly campaigned across America for  Philippine independence and helped write the McCall Resolution that eventually led to America granting freedom to the Philippines.

Have you heard of Ann Agnes Bernatitus ? Maybe you heard of the “Angel of Bataan”. Lieutenant Bernatitus, a pretty foreigner nurse, along with twenty-five courageous Filipinas, tirelessly treated the defenders of Bataan. When the Japanese bombed the hospitals these courageous women never left their posts; infact when Corrigador was evacuated Lt. Bernatitus was the last woman to leave. Hundreds of brave Filipinos owe their life to this “foreigner”.

We annually honor Filipinos that fought American imperialism during the occupation. Did you know one of the bravest fighters against America was AN AMERICAN.  David Fagen, “The Black Rebel”, fought valiantly against his fellow countrymen because he believed in freedom for the Philippine people. He lost his life in that struggle.

Then there was Claire “ Manila Mata Hari” Philips, after her husband was tortured and killed by the Japanese, she opened a nightclub ( “Club Tsubaki”) catering to the Japanese Imperial Staff.   She secretly supported Philippine guerrillas. She supplied vital intelligence and supplies that resulted in major losses for the Japanese. This brave “foreigner” was caught and endured horrendous torture but never betrayed her Filipino comrades.

Bet no Filipinos under 30 years old even know the foreign heroes I mentioned in this article. There are “foreign” heroes living in Dumaguete City today but many Filipinos are too busy hating foreigners to see the good ones living next door.