Fr. Francisco highlights notions of hybridity in 7th de la Costa lecture series

April 05, 2016
Fr. Francisco introduces the 3 parts of his lecture: Casting the net of hybridity as an analytic concept, trawling through HDC's writings and setting food for though and action

Fr. Horacio de la Costa’s (HLC) studies on hybridity were once again featured as Fr. Jose Mario Francisco, SJ highlighted this topic during the 7th day of the lecture series commemorating the birth centenary of the Ateneo’s gentle genius.

The concept of hybridity in relatin to HLC was first discussed during the 5th lecture by Dr. Fernando N. Ziálcita but with a focus on Philippine identity. Fr. Francisco’s lecture, however, zoomed in on hybridity itself.

“This essay attempted to read Fr. de la Costa within the horizons of cultural studies today,” he said. “It also aimed to take Fr. de la Costa’s work without questioning its basis or analysis in order to articulate his view of the hybrid nature of Philippine national tradition.”

Students take down notes during the lecture

Fr. Francisco began by giving an insight as to how he worked on his lecture.

He said that the topic of hybridity and its relation to Fr. de la Costa’s life and work was “too tempting to resist.” HLC’s work, after all, engaged in multiple and diverse encounters between the Filipino and “other” nations.

In addition, he said that HLC’s essays on these encounters were viewed as “identity as heritage and project” and “hybridity between heritage and project.” It also showed HLC’s profound awareness of the Chinese, Malay, Spanish and American influences in the country.

One of the members of the audience poses a question for Fr. Francisco

Fr. Francisco’s lecture also emphasized HLC’s insights on the contributions of the Chinese and the Spaniards and HLC’s take on the aporia, or an impasse involving opposing views, integral to hybridity.

“Even if we accept diversity as being the essence of our culture, this will leave us the problem of identity unresolved,” he quoted from Fr. de la Costa. “It may well be that we cannot define the Filipino identity because we have not yet achieved it.”

Moreover, he said that HLC thought that the transgression and the result in hybridity must be put to service of a nationalist project through assimilation and integration. This should be guided by the 5 principles of Filipino tradition: pagsasarili, pakikisama, pagkakaisa, pagkabayani and pakikipagkapwa-tao.

Fr. Francisco talks about Fr. de la Costa's insights on the contributions of the Spaniards to the Philippines which were the emergence of the Filipino nation and the appropriation of Christianity

In order to make one nation, Fr. Francisco said, there must be a modest proposal to embrace hybridity as the country’s source of strength.

To end his lecture, Fr. Francisco hinted on some of the country’s current issues that needed to be addressed with wisdom and a shared goal.

“We look forward, hopefully with wisdom, that with regard to the poor in Mindanao, the Lumads, Muslims and Christians alike, or to the coming elections,” he said, “we are shaping and reshaping our personal and shared identities.”

Listen to Fr. Francisco’s lecture below: