This Movement Celebrates Pinoy Pride and Philippine Independence
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LOOK: This Online Movement Celebrates Pinoy Pride and Philippine Independence

LOOK: This Online Movement Celebrates Pinoy Pride and Philippine Independence

NewPH | June 12, 2021
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Dama Ko, Lahi Ko aims to showcase the best of Philippine culture and reignite the spirit of Pinoy Pride through its creative online campaign.

Pinoy Pride. We often hear this when we see fellow Filipinos being recognized in foreign countries. To us, the term is used for the winners and champions from our country. But even more so, it should also be the belief in one’s self and country. To do so, the best way to show our Pinoy pride is when we share our culture locally and internationally.

We’ve witnessed other Asian countries rise through the spread of their culture in recent years—from South Korea’s growing popularity because of the Hallyu Wave to Japan’s continuous influence on the youth through anime and manga. And at the heart of this success is the constant support and love that their citizens give to their own culture.

Photo from Unsplash.com

#DamaKoLahiKo: A Journey on Rediscovering Pinoy Pride

On June 12, 2021—our Independence Day—it’s time to rediscover both our Filipino culture and the Pinoy Pride within ourselves. After all, our culture is our “soft power”. And this can become an important tool in restoring our country and economy. That’s why it’s time for us to harness it to be recognized on the global stage.

However, before other people notice our culture, we Filipinos first have to collectively, consciously, and consistently live it out. Only then will it become our “soft power”.

With this goal in mind, the campaign #DamaKoLahiKo was born. This movement seeks to encourage Filipinos around the world to embrace, celebrate, and take pride in our identity as Filipinos and in the beauty of our culture through our five senses.

Panlasa Ko, Lahi Ko

Adobo or Sinigang? Lechon or Sisig? Or perhaps Menudo, Afritada, Kaldereta, and Mechado? So many dishes and so many flavors.

All of these represent a part of Philippine cuisine and a part of our journey. Food, after all, is an important representation of our culture—from the home-cooked meals made by our parents that we loved as kids to the food from carinderias that we ate during our school days, and even the restaurants we grew to love in our adulthood.

Foreign chefs and TV stars like Adam Richman, Andrew Zimmern, Buddy Valastro, and the late Anthony Bourdain all praised Filipino food during their visits to the country. Additionally, many young Filipino chefs abroad are rediscovering their Pinoy Pride and spreading a taste of the Philippines in their restaurants, food stalls, and trucks. If foreigners praise Filipino food as good, why can’t we ourselves be proud of our diverse cuisine?

Photo from Unsplash.com

Pandinig Ko, Lahi Ko

In recent years, we’ve seen the resurgence of Original Pilipino Music (OPM) artists in the local scene. Even Millennials and Gen Zs have slowly come to love songs produced by Filipino artists.

And just look! SB19, the first P-pop boy group, has also gained recognition in the Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs) as a nominee for Top Social Artist—alongside Blackpink, BTS, Ariana Grande, and Seventeen. Now that’s something to be proud of!

Kitang-Kita Ko, Lahi Ko

People often say that to see is to believe. And you definitely can’t deny the beauty of the Philippines—a country that is vibrant in color with its lively festivals. Plus, our wonderful landscapes and sceneries are often visited by tourists around the world. And not to mention the beautiful woven textiles that we have, which inspire the creative minds of those in the fashion industry.

From diverse art to a rich cultural heritage, impressive architecture, and picturesque beaches, the Philippines is a travel destination worth visiting and definitely something to be proud of.

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Langhap Ko, Lahi Ko

The scent of sampaguita and ylang-ylang on our streets, the ocean breeze from the shores of our islands, and the smell of Kapeng Barako being brewed. All these represent a part of our country. And now, these scents are conveniently available in scented candles and oils being produced and sold by locals.

Hawak Ko, Lahi Ko

Traces of our Filipino culture is everywhere around us—from the soft petals of the sampaguita to the smooth weave of textiles, the lapping waves of the ocean, and the heat from freshly cooked Filipino food.

But more than these, our sense of touch is best seen in the abstract. We feel our Filipino pride best in our familial connections, our faith, and our communities. And this kind of connection touches the hearts of many foreign visitors that they sometimes even choose to settle in our country.

Over the years, we were able to gain some recognition for our culture internationally. However, there is still a need for every Filipino to grow their love for our very own culture and products.

Photo from Unsplash.com

Up Close and Personal with Len Cabili and Leigh Reyes

We conducted an online interview with the founders of Dama Ko, Lahi Ko—two Filipina women who have an undeniable love for our Filipino culture. One of them is Len Cabili, owner and Creative Director of Filip + Inna, and Leigh Reyes, Chief Product Consultant of MullenLowe Philippines.

Talking to Lei Cabili

Len Cabili, owner and Creative Director of Filip + Inna

1. Your company Filip + Inna is the child borne from your love of Filipino culture and fashion. Over the years, you have stayed true to this with every design you release. How do you continuously find inspiration in our culture?

Our culture is our true wealth—the diversity of our culture has these layers that reflect our history, where we are now, and where we’re headed. I am thankful my parents instilled a love [in me] for Filipino culture at a very young age and it has made me appreciate what we have. Once you have an appreciation, inspiration abounds. 

2. As a business, it’s important to stay relevant and on-trend. How do you do this and still remain faithful to your initial motivation in showcasing traditional weaves?

It is important to know your true north—for me, it is my faith that constantly reminds me of the why, how, what, and who of the brand. Trends will come and go, but staying true to the DNA of the brand will serve a purpose. [And] with purpose is relevance.

3. What is your advice for aspiring fashion designers that also want to spread Filipino culture through fashion?

Travel around the country, get to know our fellow Filipinos, share a meal, spend time in conversations, [and] read books on our history. Creativity is personal and to create something authentic will come from your being Filipino. 

Talking to Leigh Reyes

Leigh Reyes, Chief Product Consultant of MullenLowe Philippines

1. As the Chief Product Consultant of MullenLowe Philippines, how do you showcase your love for Filipino culture in your work?

Brands connect with Filipinos—not only through quality and value but by being part of their story. From showcasing Filipino flavors [to] progressing Filipino traditions like fiestas and pakikipagkapitbahay, [and] engaging with the changing landscape of Filipino values, we help brands connect with Filipino consumers through culture, creating and sustaining lasting connections.

2. If you were to create branding for Filipino Culture, what would it be and why?

I actually think Dama Ko Lahi Ko is a good try! A brand isn’t only a name and a look; it’s a collection of meaningful experiences that we can identify. “Yes, that’s so Filipino.”

What we wanted to highlight was how easy it is—simply through directly experiencing our culture through the five senses, [connecting] to what makes us Filipino, and keeping that alive in our daily life. To those who are curious about Filipino culture and want to experience it, Dama Ko Lahi Ko can make every Filipino a tour guide. Feel our weaves in your hands and relish the sharp contrast of vinegar and brine in kinilaw. 

3. What is your advice for aspiring marketing and communication professionals that also want to spread Filipino culture through their field?

We’re used to connecting with Filipino consumers through Filipino culture. Dream bigger. Connect with the world through Filipino culture. Let our identity be our beacon, the light that calls to others.

The Origin of Dama Ko, Lahi Ko

1. How did you come up with the idea of #DamaKoLahiKo?

Leigh: Len did! I’m just the copywriter. (winks)

Len: I may have come up with the idea but Leigh put it in words. (winks) That shows the strength of culture, [as we] bring people together for a common goal. I have been fascinated with soft power for some time now and in some way, I’ve seen it in Filip + Inna [and in] how the presence of Filipino traditions in embroidery, beadwork and weaving is very appealing. 

2. In what way can every Filipino show their support for #DamaKoLahiKo?

Leigh: The simplest way is to share a Filipino meal every June 12, and share it with the hashtag #DamaKoLahiKo. 

Len: Share your story of being Filipino using the #DamaKoLahiKo so everyone gets to see it! 

3. What do you hope will be the takeaway of Filipinos from #DamaKoLahiKo? 

Leigh: I hope that, by crowdsourcing what makes our culture alive today, Filipinos can discover things that can uplift their hearts and spirits. Let’s face it—we’re grieving. We’re exhausted. We are survivors soldiering on. We could use something to be proud of.

Len: We hope [that] we [can] all see the importance of our culture in our everyday lives—how it inspires, unites, and defines our being Filipino.

Fast Talk with Leigh and Len

#DamaKoLahiKo is about embracing Filipino culture through the five senses. We prepared these short fill-in-the-blank questions for you to share with us your own Filipino culture experiences:

1. For me, the must-see tourist destination in the Philippines is _________.

Leigh: Siquijor. I’d like to return one day. 

Len: The islands in Palawan through Tao Philippines

2. My Filipino comfort food is ____________.

Leigh: Paksiw na bangus.

Len: Sinigang.

3. The Filipino artist that represents my taste in music is __________ with the song _____. 

Leigh: Salidumay by Grace Nono.

Len: My Mama singing Usahay.

4. The scent that reminds me of my childhood is ________.

Leigh: Sampaguita. We had a plant growing outside the window. The only way my mom got me to eat ginisang toge (beansprouts) was to tell me they were baby sampaguita. [And] I believed her!

Len: Durian. My Papa taught me how to pry open the fruit—one of my fondest memories growing up in Mindanao. 

5. A moment I was recently touched because of fellow Filipino was when ____________.

Leigh: We started asking for help to spread #DamaKoLahiKo, and the bayanihan just appeared! 

Len: My friend Pam Begre spent time writing to her friends about Dama Ko Lahi Ko. I was deeply touched that she took time out to personally write to each one. 

6. The thing I take most pride in as a Filipino is ___________.

Leigh: This journey we’re all on—of rediscovering our roots and integrating what we find into how we grow today.

Len: Our culture.

As a community, it’s time for us to rediscover and redefine the meaning of Pinoy Pride. Let us become a part of the movement #DamaKoLahiKo this month of June by posting and sharing our precious Filipino memories—related to our five senses—on our social media accounts with the hashtag #DamaKoLahiKo.

Together we will start strengthening and celebrating our culture as our soft power. Happy Independence Day!

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