The tale of Juan Tamad has become part and parcel of Filipino folklore and comedy, so deeply seated in the nation’s cultural unconscious that older Filipinos barely blink at Its mention. Juan Tamad (or Lazy John) Is originally a young man Infamous for his Indolence. So lazy Is he that he’d rather wait for fruits to fall to the ground Instead of cllmblng up to pick them, or letting crabs he’s bought from the market find their way to his home because hed rather be playing. But before this popular folktale became a source of comic entertainment, It had Its roots In racial stereotypes.
The Phlllpplnes was colonized by the Spanish. This laziness was seen and reported by many Spanish reports as an endemic quality of the Flllplnos. Philippine national hero Jose Rizal, is quick to defend Filipinos in a series of essays published in 1890 called La Indolencia de los Filipinos of The Indolence of the Filipinos, though he admits that such indolence does exist, Rizal wants to challenge Filipinos to realize what is questionable about their own behavior. However, he also believes that his laziness is due to many other factors, including colonial inferiority, and that Filipinos are not indolent by nature.
Only by allowing Filipinos then be educated, united, and liberated can this problem can be properly addressed. While these essays were written many years ago, the stereotype still persists. It has found its way to popular literature, cinema, music, and other forms of expression. Over the years, it is a characteristic that Filipinos have learned to believe about themselves, and worse, accept with little question. It is an oppressive belief, though, when wielded by an outsider looking in, but when it is believed by someone from within the society, it can be devastating and defeatist.