PWEDE NA YAN: The Beautiful People

My skin tone is slightly dark and I’ve never really had too much of a problem with it. There was the slight teasing back in elementary school but kids have never cared and would probably mock you for having an abusive, alcoholic father too. So I used to wonder why the majority of Filipinos go mad trying to ‘whiten’ their skin complexion. It’s understood that fair skin is often looked at as attractiveness but there are plenty of beautiful people with dark skin as well.
Well I’ve come to the conclusion that the motive to look “white” is rooted in the belief that fair skin was a sign of nobility back in the day. The fair-skinned people then were in most cases descendents of Spaniards whilst the “kayumanggi (brown-colored)” folk were the commoners and locals. The rich and well-to-do could safely stay in the shade while the local workers toiled in the heat of the sun hence darkening their skin. Recollect and you will remember a time when you’d hear people comment “Ay mukhang mayaman siya (Oh, she looks rich)” solely basing this on the mere fact that the person in question is fair-skinned. Thus even today, Filipinos are after a lighter complexion so that they don’t look common and so they can emulate their favorite celebrities as well. The irony is, those very same celebrities are trying to tan themselves to match our native kayumanggi color.

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