From the Editor’s Desk

October 2021 Editor’s Note: La Jornada Filipina Is Taking a Change of Direction — For the Better

The Editor

Read in Spanish

Dear readers,

October is here, and nothing has changed much about the current state of things here in Manila. I hope you’re all still keeping safe and sane, wherever you are in this world.

For this month’s note, I will be discussing some changes and updates.

So I’ve been doing a lot of introspection about the direction of the magazine, what La Jornada Filipina hopes to accomplish as it attracts global readers. And I’ve come to a conclusion. Let me start with a Letter to the Editor I received last year:

“I stumbled upon your work with La Jornada Filipina from Facebook. It popped up in one of my feeds as I subscribe to a historical Spanish-Filipino heritage group. I just wanted to say thanks for putting this together as I’ve been doing my own soul-searching and learning more about my family’s historic Spanish lineage and the language that used to be part of my family …

“Spanish culture was very much part of my upbringing as part of my Filipino identity, and I would hear of my mom talking about our relatives who spoke Spanish. It’s been a challenge trying to piece everything together because these records have largely been erased, corrupted, or inaccessible. So, I’m really glad to see that you’re investing in this important work, because I think the stories of those from these historical pasts need to be told. It is part of our historical legacy, especially for those who’ve been passed down the reference of ‘Mestiza/o’. For years, I was trying to make sense of this and lately because of a higher fidelity of resources being digitized I’m coming to a better understanding of that lineage. So, again, I’m glad you’re embarking on this and I hope you continue in these efforts, because the work is truly transformative and helps a lot of folks like me put some pieces together from fragmented narratives of a long ago past.”

Name supplied

After reading this letter, I was definitely moved; I didn’t know that there are still people like them in the Philippines. Like you, like me, they are Filipinos, and their stories have never been told enough — and probably will never be. This brings us to the nitty-gritty of this column. Let’s get down to business.

La Jornada Filipina’s mission statement has evolved. Before, we only wanted to advocate for the language we all love. Period. But that seemed difficult without getting deeply entangled with the culture, identity and politics attached to this advocacy. Upon launching La Jornada Filipina in September 2020, we knew that we were toying the line between appreciating our Hispanic heritage and glorifying colonization. In fact, along the way, the magazine’s name was dragged into a longstanding feud by different ideological groups.

In this hullabaloo, the things that really matter were pushed to the sidelines: The Hispanic-influenced Filipinos who are grappling with their identity and finding their place in Philippine society, and communities that haven’t yet come to terms with the violent past. La Jornada Filipina missed out on the opportunity to engage the public in a meaningful discussion about the legacies of Spanish colonialism. As its editor, I take responsibility for mistakes committed under my watch.

On the note of accountability, let’s do some “decolonization” work.

Effective Oct. 1, our new mission is to explore how the Spanish colonial past continues to impact the present and to make heritage more representative of the actual history. The goal is to elevate the voices of those who have been marginalized and whose stories have never been told. You’ll still read about Spanish and its subsets, but they will not be the bread and butter of our work. And we’ll definitely provide coverage to the Hispanic influence in the Philippines, but it’s more to acknowledge its existence than to put it on a pedestal. Decolonization means different things to different people. And for us here, it’s not revising history, erasing heritage and going back to pre-colonial ways — it’s moving away from Eurocentric perspectives.

I know that this is past due, but it’s a work in progress. There’s still a lot to be done.

Website Features

We quietly launched our Events page last month. On it, you’ll find events that might be of interest to you — webinars, cultural, art and more — scoured by the JF team so that you’ll have one place to visit. These are events that might not make it to our regular cultural coverage but are still important for you to check out. If you’re an organizer, you can submit your event details to [email protected]afilipina.com.

We’ve also read feedback about the anti-ad blocker wall and how it prevents some people from reading our articles.

Producing our work requires time and manpower, and we believe that it has value to the community we serve. Even curating listicles like these takes hours of researching, writing, editing, fact checking and editing some more. Payment for content is never cheap, but we chose to run advertisements instead of installing a paywall.

Opinion Section

In the past year, we published several opinion pieces that clearly have pro-Spanish sentiment. I’d like to point out that publishing them doesn’t mean that we automatically agree with the views of the writers involved. The only thing we failed to do is provide a platform to voices from other communities.

We know those opinion pieces explore complex issues, so we’re working on bringing diverse perspectives in order to be balanced and fair. Publishing multiple viewpoints from different people is part of our goal to keep you informed about your community and be responsible journalists you can trust and rely on.

And that’s it, folks! With all these dramatic changes, I hope that you’ll still continue supporting this new and better version of La Jornada Filipina. By reading our articles, I hope that you’ll feel empowered and see yourselves represented in each and every story.

Until next month,

Editor's Signature

Arvyn Cerézo

Editor, La Jornada Fillipina


Comments are welcome at [email protected]


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Arvyn Cerézo
Arvyn Cerezo (he/they) is the editor of La Jornada Filipina, an English- and Spanish-language news magazine in Manila. His work has appeared in various international news sites. He currently reviews science fiction and fantasy books for the trade magazine Publishers Weekly, and does reporting and commentary on books for Book Riot. You can find them on arvyncerezo.com.

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