Tim Tebow, the American Pilipino


By A. Mabini

Without fail, I find myself in a debate, often heated, when I declare Tebow’s American Pilipino identity.

The opposing thought always lacks a solid basis on why Tebow should not be labeled American Pilipino. I just get the sense that it is just impossible to believe that someone as white as Tebow can be Pilipino. Here me out.

When Pilipinos or individuals of non-American ethnicity are born in America, they refer to themselves as Pilipino Americans or fill in the blank American. So why is it such an issue for me to call Tebow an American Pilipino, given the fact that he was born in Manila.

In fact, I would even take it further and declare that Tim is more Pilipino than some Pilipino Americans I know of.

Tebow reflects on his Pilipino heritage by paying a visit as often as he can and is not timid about making his connections to the Philippines known to the public. I am willing to bet that every Pilipino who will read this article has experienced a moment when another Pilipino either shied away from their ethnic identity or made an awkward declaration that the Pilipino does not represent who they have become living outside las islas de las Pilipinas.

Furthermore, the Tim Tebow Foundation is proof that Tebow feels a connection with the country that provided him his first breath of air, the comforting warmth of the sun and the soul of a people that without a doubt reflects the story of the beaten, undercounted underdog that is the recurring theme of his career.

Tebow is more Pilipino than some Pilipino Americans. You know who you are. Tim’s conviction on his beliefs and his unapologetic approach of expressing his love for football, life, family and most importantly God is something to admire.

As a Pilipino American who looks for hope in any window that God opens, I find hope in Tebow and that he may awaken the disconnected Pilipino Americans who have as much potential as anyone to make an impact on the land that offered them or their parents their first breath of air, the comfort of a warm sun, the searching soul of a people.

Tim Tebow is one of my Pilipino brothers, albeit an American Pilipino.

A. Mabini was born in Davao City and raised in the Bronx. Send comments at em.palatulan@gmail.com.


  1. M. Gonzales wrote:

    The one thing I would take issue with is the approach of the Tebow family ministry’s stated goal of “bringing Jesus and the Gospel” to the Filipino people…in a country that is 90% Christian. I would take less issue if they were just more overt about what they are trying to do – convert Filipnos to THEIR version of Christianity because they feel like it brings a follower closer to Jesus. As a practicing Catholic, I’d respectfully disagree that it’s for me but agree that it may be for others. Either way, I find the implication that I don’t believe in Jesus and the Gospel offensive.

    Also, I would assert that thanking God after scoring touchdowns trivializes religion rather than showcasing it. As my sister put it, Tebowing is a specific form of prayer – it’s saying a prayer to win football games.

    That said, Timmy seems like a good and genuine guy and I wish him the best.

    • A.Mabini wrote:

      Wassup M! Thanks for responding. I understand where you’re coming from with your objection on Tebow’s campaign to convert a piece of that 90%. But just to put in perspective, about a little under five centuries ago a set of settlers came by the Philippines and forcefully converted the Pilipinos to our religion. Yes, i was born and raised catholic, but without giving a dissertation here, my beliefs on religion really has faded to an unbelievable belief in faith to God and God alone. Religion is really only a means to an end, the ultimate end. I’m sure you share or at least I hope you share in my opinion that I would not want to be with a God who would punish souls just because they were the “wrong” type of Christian or even other religions. I say we let tebow live however he’d like to live and basked along with him his glory as a Pilipino and as a believer in God.

      Thanks for responding though, def appreciate it for shizzle. I’ll be responding to your other comment on my other article. Keep it coming homie.

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