Filipino-foreign male models promote Pinoy pride on YouTube
It’s not everyday that you encounter Westerners doing ordinary Pinoy jobs like driving pedicabs, selling balut on the streets or fish at the market. That’s the viral appeal of Island Media Asia, a group of seven half-Pinoy and half-Caucasian male models who love the Philippines so much that they decided to showcase the country's culture through their viral YouTube videos.
In one of Island Media Asia’s videos entitled “Foreigners Selling Buko Juice in the Philippines” (which has over 42,000 views to date), the group members actually did the work of coconut or buko juice vendors - from pushing the cart to slicing the buko, to serving the juice to their customers!
The boys of Island Media Asia
In a recent episode of the GMA News TV program "Tonight with Arnold Clavio," group members Daniel Marsh, Charlie Sutcliffe, Michael McDonnell, Matthew Edwards, Henry Edwards, Keys Cosido, and Brian Wilson spoke with Arnold Clavio about their love for the Philippines and their Filipino roots.
Island Media Asia members have different backgrounds. Michael, who is half-Boholano and half-Canadian, has already been in the country for ten years. Daniel, who is half-Cebuano and half-Irish, has been in the country for six years. Charlie, a half-Cebuano and half-British, has been in the country for three years. Keys, a half-Pinoy and half-British from Leyte, and Henry and Matt, both half-Kapampangan and half-British, have been in the country for over a year now.
The members of Island Media Asia first met each other through modeling. After becoming friends and discovering that they shared a common love for the Philippines, they came up with a project to showcase the country’s culture through the Internet.
The group is getting more and more popular online, offline, and even on air with numerous TV appearances such as their feature on “Reel Time,” a documentary-reality program of GMA News TV and on “Kape at Balita,” a morning news show of the same TV network.
Their mission is to educate the world about Pinoy culture. Michael says: "I find it amazing. The culture is quite diverse from province to province. You can keep coming back to the Philippines and still find something new each time you visit."
Making the videos
Each member of the group helps shoulder the cost of producing the videos. Without doing any prior research, the group spontaneously thinks of challenging jobs and randomly searches the streets for vendors willing to work with them. The group not only has fun shooting the videos, but are happy to give the vendors a much-deserved break.
"We wanted to help the vendors. We bought their products, sold them, and gave the profit to them," says Brian. “[We wanted to] spend some free time, immerse ourselves with locals [to] showcase the Philippines,” adds Daniel.
When people on the streets see them do the ordinary Pinoy jobs, some get really surprised. "Sasabihin nila, ‘Uy, foreigner yung pedicab driver!’" says Charlie, who appreciates the friendliness of the Filipinos.
“The people are great, friendly, helpful, and loving and whenever you need help, they will always be there to help you out,” says Matt.
It’s more fun in the Philippines
Island Media Asia members want their friends from other countries to see that it's really more fun in the Philippines–not only because the country has so many beautiful beaches, but because of the friendly and hardworking nature of many Filipinos.
“[We want to] show them what life in the Philippines is like - show them to our friends [and] family abroad,” says Keys.
“The culture here is so nice and wonderful - like riding trikes and jeepneys too and the food–wow! The food here is amazing,” says Henry. This coming summer, some of the group members' best friends are visiting the Philippines to see the country's beauty for themselves.
The group believes that Pinoy pride is about accepting the Philippines for what it is, both the good and the bad. "You stay in a place because you like it. It's the whole package, you don't just take the good but you take also everything else," says Michael.
The group's love for the country is something the Filipinos also appreciate. During the airing of the group's guesting on “Tonight with Arnold Clavio,” some Pinoy Tweeps shared their opinions about the group’s project.
When asked about their future plans, Matt said they are not leaving the Philippines anytime soon. “For now, oo, stay in the Philippines kasi gagawa ng videos [and modelling]. For now, we’re going to stay.”
To see more of Island Media Asia, check out their Facebook page.
—Ria Landingin/PF, GMA News
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