Thursday, November 25, 2010

BALIKBAYAN BOX: The Symbol Of The Filipino People

I was riding the local streetcar here in Toronto when a woman came in with a folded balikbayan box. I took out my camera and sneakily shot this photo:

Around this time of the year, it has become a tradition for many of us Filipinos living abroad to send these to our loved ones back home. We pack it with all sorts of goodies: canned goods, hand-me-down clothes, bottles of shampoos, Dove soap (they always ask for Dove soap!), different kinds of hand lotions, small electronics, and many more things in between. You name it, a Filipino has put it inside one of these boxes and sent it back home.

This wonderful random sight has let me come into a realization: the balikbayan box is the perfect symbol to represent the Filipino people. We are a caring and selfless bunch, thinking about the well-being of others more than our own. This is who we are. Thousands of our fellow Filipinos are currently overseas, working hard trying to earn a little bit of money just so they can support their families back home. It's not surprising that remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers bring in millions of pesos into the country every year. It's also not surprising that thousands of balikbayan boxes are probably in the sky right now on their way to the Philippines, packed and sent by these wonderful and courageous OFWs.

Sadly, the balikbayan box has become a part of one of those stereotypical "You know you are Filipino if..." jokes.Just in case you didn't know, it goes something like this:

"You know you are Filipino if you have balikbayan boxes instead of luggage at the airport terminal."

Yes, balikbayan boxes are a common sight at flights heading to the Philippines. We all can agree on this, many of us have seen it ourselves. However, we must stop calling this a joke and start seeing this as a source of pride. Let us celebrate the balikbayan box and what it represents - the kindness and generosity of the everyday Filipino.

The realization of the meaning of the balikbayan box to the Philippines and its people has also made me come up with a suggestion for a replacement tourism slogan for the country. Thanks to Facebook's News Feed (and a few friends sharing a YouTube newsclip), I found out that the Department of Tourism of the Philippines is getting some negative feedback regarding the new campaign slogan and banner to promote tourism. Many are saying the overall design has been copied from another source and that "KAY GANDA!" is a weak slogan and does not leave a lasting effect, particularly amongst foreigners.

While the color scheme of the banner is pretty neat, I want to focus more on the slogan. Using just a few choice words, the purpose of a tourism slogan is to give potential international visitors a reason to come to the country. The problem with "Kay Ganda!" is that, more than likely, foreigners won't know what it means. Some of you might say, "That's why there's a pronunciation guide in the banner!" To be honest, I find the pronunciation guide a really bad idea. A tourism slogan is not supposed to be a speech lesson.

This is where the balikbayan box and the core Filipino values it represents come into play. The Department of Tourism should not have focused on the country's landscapes and unique wildlife to entice people to visit. Although there are many beautiful and memorable locations to visit in the country, much can be also said about the wonderful people who live in these places. The slogan should provide a reason for people to come visit the Philippines. Who better to provide these reasons than its citizens. This is how I came up with, what I believe, a much more effective slogan:

"Welcome, Kabayan!" gives a sense of comfort, a comfort you get when you're among friends and family. You feel safe. You feel loved. You feel welcome. "KABAYAN" means "fellow citizen", and this is how we should see and treat other people, whether they're foreign or not. Filipinos abroad call each other by this moniker. It has a homely feeling to it. Hearing the word KABAYAN instantly connects us with fellow Filipinos. "KABAYAN" makes me remember fond memories of growing up in Manila and my friends and family I left behind.

International visitors should experience the same nostalgic feeling and this is what "Welcome, Kabayan!" provides. By sharing with foreigners the same core values of generosity and selflessness Filipinos give one another through the humble balikbayan box, the Philippines can become not only a place where one can enjoy white sand beaches and exotic foods, but a place where you can experience the warm, welcoming arms of the Filipino people.

I sure hope you won't look at the balikbayan box the same way again. I certainly won't.

(Please share this with our fellow kababayans, especially the ones who are in the process of packing their balikbayan boxes for the holidays.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

SEXY GLEE: Lea Michele and Diana Agron GQ Photoshoot Behind The Scenes (video)

If you're a fan of GLEE you probably already know about the (in)famous GQ photoshoot featuring Lea Michele and Diana Agron. This definitely ain't your wholesome schoolgirls. I'm ok with that.


Scott Pilgrim To Singapore!

It's amazing who you meet on the internet.

A few entries ago, I blogged about my newly-bought Scott Pilgrim VS. The World Blu-ray/DVD. Since I already owned a Blu-ray player, I didn't see the need to keep the DVD. Who wants to watch a visual feast like Scott Pilgrim in lo-def, anyway?

So I made a decision to spread some early holiday cheer and offered to mail the DVD to anyone who wanted it, anywhere in the world.

Someone replied. His name is Mads Karlsen Bækkevold - a film maker from Singapore. I told him I would send the DVD sometime this week.

I Googled his name and found these videos on his YT channel. According to the description, it's about a guy and his love for dance. Interesting.

Reading this on Facebook? Watch the videos here.

Being the self-promoting fiend that I am, and as a form of payment for the free DVD I'm sending him, I kindly asked him if he could give the blog a cameo feature on his next short film. Think what you want, I know it's bit ballsy of me to ask him that. To my surprise Mads considered the idea.

We'll see where this goes.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Whoever Made This Video Must Have Failed Human Biology 101

I recently saw the music video for "Heartbeat" by Enrique Iglesias and Nicole Scherzinger. The song has a catchy hook ("Har-har-HEARTBEAT!"), Enrique's still doing that gruff look-at-me-mami vibe thing, and Nicole Scherzinger has made me want to adopt a pet kitty and call it "Nicole Scherzingmeow!"

The video's pretty decent, I suppose. There's water ripple space thing effects, shirtless Enrique, topless Nicole, lots of sexy emoting, and other things going on. Oh, there's also Nicole wearing a nice red number. Can't forget that.

Now I would have considered this another mediocre, forgettable music video but something stood out for me. A little mistake that actually made me ignore Nicole's half-asian hotness for a very brief second:


(Heart surgeons are crying right now.)

Where the heart REALLY is located...

Call me a stickler for detail, but details like this are important to me. They're singing about the beating of the heart and how it affects human relationship for crying out loud! Why do a music video on a song about a complete cardiac cycle when you can't even locate it correctly?

Maybe they should just change the title of the song to "LEFT LUNG."

Friday, November 12, 2010

I Would Suck My Thumb Again For Conan O'Brien

With Conan O'Brien back on late night television, I finally have another awesome reason to stay up late (the other reason being watching stuff on Netflix). He hasn't lost his touch. Also, his beard has strengthened my mancrush on him. Rawr!

Watch Conan's awesome AMERICAN EXPRESS commercial:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Seeing a Redhead Wearing a Zebra Snuggie Makes My Heart Giddy!

Okay, I admit, I like giving people gifts. It's part of my giving nature. Some people might see that as buying people's affection. I say screw them. Gifts make people happy and that's what counts.

I sent Lauren a late birthday gift last week. She mentioned in one of our talks she's always wanted to get a zebra print Snuggie. Looks good on her, doesn't it?

Awesome Fact:
She actually sent me the original blue Snuggie last year after seeing one of my random YouTube videos. You can watch it below.

(yeah, I look hot.)

Here's the original video Lauren saw. Yeah, I may have looked stupid, but it got me a Snuggie from a cute girl. Awesome. ^_^ v

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Scott Pilgrim BLU-RAY...and DVD blah blah.

After months of waiting, I finally hold it in my hands...

(I'm geeking on the inside. Trust me.)

...and it comes with a limited edition film cell with it too. Awesome!
My only rant about this is the silly BLU-RAY/DVD combo thing. I mean, if you already have a Blu-Ray player, what purpose you need the DVD for? To give it to a friend?
Well, that got me thinking...
Anybody want the DVD?
Let me know, I'll mail it to you. Yes, I'm serious. I don't need it so might as well give it to someone who wants it.
Let me know in the comments section.