False 'Facts' I Believed to be True until I Grew Up

We all know that our parents and elder guardians have tremendous influence on our thinking and beliefs, particularly when we were children. Yet aside from the pedagogy of elders, the environment and how the growing child observes and deciphers it can have an enormous impetus on his/her perception of the world and of reality. If the youngster does not ask to verify his/her theory, it becomes a fact inculcated in his/her belief system.

As time goes on, he/she will learn that the things he/she believes to be factual are not what it seems. Experience and education will come in; they will verify and validate his/her claims. As a result, maturity will gradually take over.

I myself am not excused to such experience. Before I reached adolescence, I was a victim of false perception of facts. It was not anyone's fault – not my parents nor anyone of my mentors. It was just plain childish judgment of what was going on with the world I was living at during that time.

Confused Child

The following are the “false” facts that I believed to be true, primarily because there were likely evidences to support them – so I thought. And yes, I had to shake them off from my head due to some historical events that would occur later.

1. That Marcos was president forever

Modern youngsters in the Philippines have the chance to experience 2 to 3 presidencies during their childhood lifetimes. For my generation who spent their infancy to puberty in the 1980's, Ferdinand E. Marcos was the only Philippine president we knew. Philippine presidency became synonymous to the name of Marcos. And why not? He was the only one to rule the country for 21 years.

As a child, what do I remember during this period? Watching cartoons on a fine Saturday morning was an activity routinary among kids my age. Guess what? It was also a usual occurrence when, suddenly, the face of Marcos talking on a pedestal, would interrupt the show. The thing was, you dared go to another channel and you would see the same face all throughout the TV stations. Every time he had some speech going on somewhere, his media henchmen would have to take down every show on TV being broadcast on such an hour and replace it with the rousing face of the president.

2. That John Paul II was the only Pope

This is similar to #1, albeit in a better sense. Who would blame me for believing so? He ended his reign as the Vicar of Christ when he died in 2005; I was already a yuppie during this year. Though I had wished that Pope (now Saint) John Paul II was going to be Pontiff forever, God had far better plans for the Church and for the world.

3. That all white people were Americans

I really am not sure where this impression came from but I think it was brought about by the Hollywood movies and American shows on TV I was watching during those years.

Whenever I saw a Caucasian looking person in a park or somewhere else, I would always think that he/she was from America (even if he/she was not).

Now I know that this is untrue. I have the strongest assumption that some of my fellow countrymen still have the notion that anything white is American.

4. That all other Asians spoke Chinese only

Another influence of foreign films, I bet this one I got from watching Chinese martial arts movies of Jacky Chan, Yuen Biao, Samu Hung, and the likes.

So whenever I saw Japanese, Thais, Koreans, and Vietnamese chatting and roaming around the corner, I would just say they were all Chinese speaking their native Mandarin tongue.

5. That Indians pertained to Native Americans

Native American
I guess I was not the only kid who believed this. History itself attested to this thinking. Cowboys versus Indians – I would assume no lad was ever exempted from playing such role-playing game. I even remember a song taught in school. We had to bring out the fingers on our hands one by one while we were singing it:

♫ One, little two, little three, little Indians ♪

♪ Four, little five, little six, little Indians ♫

♫ Seven, little eight, little nine, little Indians ♪

♪ Ten little Indian boys. ♫

Then we would imagine our fingers wearing feather crowns on their tips.

Of course, we now know that, to be called an Indian, you must have come from the great country of India.

6. That a meal was not a meal without rice

At this point, I cannot deny that item #6 is an influence of elders. Even adults of today have this kind of thinking. In Filipino culture, eating rice is mainstream. A lot of Pinoys will say they cannot be fully satisfied on a meal without rice on the palette. Pasta, pizza, breads, and noodles – they are all reserved for merienda (the word for snack time).

Now, as a grownup, I can eat anything I want during meal time. Whether it is breakfast, lunch, or supper, I can choose to devour any other food aside from rice. Yet of course, rice is still the main course. ;)

7. That imported goods were definitely better than local ones

Colonial mentality is what you call an attitude that gives unpatriotic preference to anything that is not made in his/her country.

Growing up, I had to realize that item #7 was not always true. I learned to appreciate things as they truly were and not because they came from another country.

8. That Voltes V was cut short because of its violence

Voltes V
If you were a kid growing up in the 1980s, you lived in Metro Manila, and you had a television at home, surely you could not afford to miss tuning in to Voltes V. Voltes V (as in V for 5) was a super robot anime series popular among kids during the later part of the Marcos years.

I am not going to put in detail of what the story was about, but the point I want to make is that the show was put to a halt by the government. Nobody was able to see its concluding episodes until long after Marcos was out of the picture. The reason (they said) it was discontinued from being aired on TV was because of its violence unfit for young viewers.

More than a decade after Marcos' overthrow from the presidency, we would find out that Voltes V was abruptly terminated because of its revolutionary undertones. Watching the final episodes, it was revealed that the main bad guy in the story was a conceited overlord who would be kicked out by his own enslaved people.


I am sure I am not alone in this situation. There are others out there who grew up believing stuff that turned out to be false. How about you, dear Reader? What did you believe which later on you found out to be a hoax?

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  1. The points mentioned by you are amusing and gives a good insight into urban and older culture of Philippines. Thanks for sharing


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