OUR SPANISH HERITAGE
BY RIGHT OF conquest, Spain ruled the Philippines for three centuries (1565-1898). During this long period, Spain imposed her religion, language, customs, arts and sciences on the Filipinos. There was hardly any phase of Filipino life which did not feel the impact of Spanish influence. It is fair to say that Spain''s cultural legacy was more beneficial-and comprehensive than her political and economic endowments.
Christianity, Spain''s Greatest Legacy. The greatest legacy of Spain to the Filipino people is Christianity, specifically the Roman Catholic religion: Strangely, this religion was Asian in origin, being founded by Jesus Christ In Palestine; it spread to Western Europe after Christ''s crucifixion and much later, in the 16th and 17th centuries, Spain propagated it across the Atlantic to the New World (West Indies, North America, Central America, and South America) and across the Pacific to the Philippines, making her! then the greatest power.
Diet and Dress. Spain improved the diet of the people by introducing new food plants, such as wheat, corn, patatas (white potatoes), cacao, coffee, cabbages, papayas, chicos; and guavas. The wheat grains were milled into snow-white wheat flour which was baked in the oven to become bread. For the first time, the Filipinos learned. to eat bread. From the seeds of the cacao came the chocolate which became a popular drink for breakfast or merienda. The people also learned to drink coffee. Other foodstuffs introduced by Spain were beef (meat of the cattle), mutton, (sheep''s meat), longanizas (sausages), jamon (ham), and sardines. During the Spanish times, Filipinos learned for the first time to eat canned goods from Europe, such as chorizos de Bilbao,
Spanish sardines, olive oil; and pickles from England; to use spoons, forks, drinking glasses, table knives and napkins while eating and to drink foreign wines.
Family Life. Family life during the Spanish period was simple and wholesome because of the ennobling influence of Christianity. The father, although; recognized as the master of the family, was not despotic. He consulted his wife, the mother of his children, on family matters - including the education of their children, the family expenses, and business deals affecting the sale or purchase of proper- ty. The mother usually acted as the first tutor of the children. She taught them the first alphabet and the Christian prayers. She was the custodian of the family fund and keys.
Spain''s Contribution to Filipino Nationalism To Spain, Filipinos are eternally. indebted for having given them their identity as a nation. Because of her three centuries of colonization, the country came to be known to the world as the Philippines (Filipinas) and the people, the Filipinos. Prior to her coming Orient, the country was a mere geographical expression, a nameless archipelago of many islands, and the people, an unknown people of many diverse tribes.
Throughout a 300-year colonial period, Spain unwittingly caused thediverse native tribes (Tagalog, Visayans, Bicolanos, Ilocanos, Pampangueños, etc.) to unite into one people - the Filipino nation.