Category Archives: Philippines

Not Broken, Just a Little Bit Bent

Some laugh, some cry, some become mute and others can’t help but scream; but the depth of what they are feeling is no less than or more than the other. Everyone has their own way of feeling and grieving.

For Filipinos, it has been a devastating week that started the day super typhoon Yolanda stormed across the belly of our beloved Philippines. As in most tragedies, it has brought out the very best and the worst in people. I have been watching, reading and listening to the news because that is all I can do.

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Pilipinas Kay Ganda! Needs Tweaking

UPDATE 12:20 11/19/2010 The Kay Ganda Application is up and running on Facebook again!

Kay Ganda!

The Philippines just unveiled a new tourism campaign called “Pilipinas Kay Ganda!” to replace the eight year old “WOW! Philippines” slogan. It has been getting a lot criticism online not only for its use of the vernacular for an international campaign but also because of certain negative connotations associated with the new slogan.

Read more about what fellow bloggers are saying about this issue:
Philippine Online Chronicles – Noemi Lardizabal-Dado analyzes the implications of the brand and offers up some comments form facebook users in her article, Country Branding the Philippines. I totally agree with her comments on the image of the Filipina and the possible association of the new website to another similar sounding name that leads to a porn site will only promote that stereotype.

Our Awesome Planet – Anton Diaz shared his initial impression of the launch and even offered some very constructive suggestions on how to make the Pilipinas Kay Ganda campaign work, imbuing it with more positive imagery. Most of his suggestions were spot on, including the fact that the cuisine was hardly mentioned in the campaign and for us who love Filipino Food, that is just incomprehensible! A second post on another marketing concept called WOW! Only in the Philippines! followed with more suggestions.

To make matters worse (as if they aren’t already) the logo’s design gets more flak today as claims that it may have plagiarized Poland’s logo design surfaced.

I found a link to what I thought was a very clever facebook application from Manila Boy and proceeded to make my own version of the logo but no more than an hour afterwards, the application was taken down. All the facebook posts from the application have been deleted including mine. Luckily, I had saved the image I had made intending to blog about it. That’s the one posted above.

The overall concept of the campaign is actually not that bad. I think it could be saved if they listen to some of the suggestions that have been circulated online. And this morning, I saw on facebook that an attempt is being made to reach out to the public at fine tuning the campaign. The BeautifulPilipinas.com website has been taken down for the meantime but a private URL is in the works where people who volunteer to help tweak the new site will be able to view it and give their feedback before it goes public. At least someone at the Department of Tourism (DOT) is listening and many are willing to put in their two cents. Ultimately though, the final decisions will be made by the DOT and hopefully they will take into consideration some of the issues raised in the initial backlash.

In the meantime, I wish they would put that cool Kay Ganda App back on Facebook! They can actually use it to their benefit by asking everyone to share it because, as one of my facebook friends said, “EVERYONE should have that tag line!” We are all beautiful. Let’s be proud of it and proud of our homeland and its people.

It’s NOT ONLY in the Philippines

There has been a whole lot of Filipino bashing online the past week and most of them have been from Filipinos. I haven’t written about the hostage crisis nor Miss Universe because… well, I just had no strong opinion for either event. I didn’t feel that either event really defined MY or anyone else’s Filipino-ness. They were simply unfortunate events that became bigger that they would ever have been had it not been for the ease of communication provided by the internet and social networking medias. I mean no disrespect for the people who lost their lives during the botched hostage crises, the tragedy touched me immensely. But I also think that neither event reflects or represents the whole country, its people nor its culture.

Thanks to Nick for sharing in his blog, I finally found a commentary that I can agree with. This is written by Trixie Cruz-Angeles titled What do you mean “Only in the Philippines”?, which mirrors much of what I had been thinking. Here is the main point of her blog post:

The vultures can’t resist jeering and insulting. Stupid media. Stupid cops. Stupid Mendoza. Stupid by-standers. The Filipino nation is stupid.

Excuse me?

Our ancestors believed in the concept of an afterlife when many other peoples of the world were still figuring out how to make stone tools. Our forebears crossed the Pacific years before the Vikings crossed the Atlantic. They cultivated rice when many others were still living in caves. They had the first revolution in Asia that united no less than three disparate linguistic groups through a leader named Diego Silang whose wife became his successor. This nation produced women leaders and warriors when much of Europe still considered the female gender as mere chattel. My country abolished slavery two hundred years ahead of the so called New World. My country, whose history and treasures remain mysteries to its own children, cannot and should not be defined by the mistakes of yesterday’s events
And we will not be defined by this tragedy. But we must learn from it. And the first lesson should and ought to be not to add any more hurt to a nation prostate with grief. So much blood ignites so much passion. But we can either flagellate ourselves until there is nothing left of our self esteem. Or we can turn this into an impetus for change. Real change.

So, I will mourn today. I will grieve for all the victims, yes Mendoza included. I will mourn for all the ignorance that makes an embarassing display of itself in times of crisis. I will mourn for the good men and women of the PNP who feel the brunt of the national outrage, but who will go to work tomorrow and still go after the bad guys, still keep us safe. I will mourn for media persons who must live with the effects of their live broadcasts.

But after that, I will choose hope and faith in my countrymen.

The SiLog Breakfasts

Filipinos have a penchant for creative nomenclature. That means we can get really creative when it comes to naming things. Just look at some of the names of small business signs anywhere in the Philippines and you’ll see what I mean. So it is only to be expected that this creative naming also extends to food.

Breakfast basics for most Filinos is fried rice (Sinangag) and eggs (Itlog). Most Filipinos would have rice and eggs for breakfast everyday with only the addition of a variaty of viand such as longanisa (Filipino sausage), tapa (marinated beef), tocino (marinated pork), daing (dried fish), tuyo (dried sardines), bangus (marinated milkfish), or pusit (dried squid). So when you’re in a restaurant ordering breakfast, you would combine the name of your viand with the name of the basics, sinangag (fried rice) and itlog (eggs). For instance, if you were to have the marinated pork, it would be ToSiLog – a combination of Tocino, Sinangag and itLog. You get the idea, right?

So far, I have made a couple of SiLog breakfasts in our kitchen. First, my husband’s favorite Filipino breakfast meat, Tocino which is pork marinated in soy, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Tosilog

The second SiLog dish I made is TapSiLog, short for Tapa, Sinangag and Itlog. Filipino tapa is beef marinated in lemon, soy and black pepper.

Tapsilog

This is my husband’s close second favorite. But the best way he actually likes this is stirfried with onions and peppers ala bistek, for dinner.

Help Flood Victims by Commenting

A couple of typhoons went through the Philippines a couple of weeks ago and left devastation in their wake. It’s one of the worst storms to go through the country and left many people flooded out of their homes and livelihoods. One of the affected communities is my mom’s hometown in Pangasinan. I posted some photos and appeals for donations for the region on our newsletter, the Sagunto Star.

Just from that small region alone, I know of many farmers and small businesses whose livelihoods were virtually washed away. They have nothing left. Their investments, which were often financed through micro-loans, were flooded out before they could harvest. The full impact of the damage brought on by these two super typhoons, of the same category as Katrina, will be felt for a long time. Even though the sun is shining again, these small businesses will not be out from under the cloud for years.

Kiva.org is an organization that enables small entrepreneurs in developing countries to be able to receive financing for whatever endeavor they may have dreamed for doing but had never had the capital to start up with. Funding comes from individuals who sign on to the site and lend a little of a lot. What’s a little to us in dollars can mean a lot to someone else in a third world country. The basic idea behind Kiva is what that old saying about teaching a man to fish says. Relief goods are fine for the short term but if you enable someone to make a living, you’ve helped them for a lifetime.

HaveImpact.org is a Kiva lender. They have sponsored several entrepreneurs all over the world including the Philippines and they are holding an interesting challenge. They have pledged to donate $5 for every comment people leave on their blog post to Give a Hand to Philippine Entrepreneurs Affected by the Floods. Yes, that’s all you have to do to help. Click on the link and leave a comment. It’s not a hoax, read the updates from the blog author. They are running this campaign until October 31 so please take a minute and go leave a comment.

Even before the campaign is ended, loans have been given out to entrepreneurs. Check out the people who have already received their loans from your comments.

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