Tell it to SunStar: Love local: Embracing Filipino first

By George Evan B. Cuadrillero
Tell it to SunStar: Love local: Embracing Filipino first
SunStar Tell it

In history class, I remember the 1957 Philippine presidential election when Carlos P. Garcia ran for the presidency with the slogan “Filipino First.” This slogan resonates with the idea of “Loving ourselves first rather than others,” a quote of love based on a country-first mindset. Although some scholars criticized Garcia’s slogan as a cover-up for dirty politics, branding Garcia as an “American Puppet,” the slogan was powerful enough to secure his victory in the 1957 election.

Beyond politics, “Filipino First” is akin to “Love Local,” an idea encouraging people to embrace their domestic identity. This can mean appreciating local products or simply valuing our own culture and achievements. The Philippines is home to numerous skilled artisans and workers. We often showcase the best of others, be it a foreign friend or a social media post, while simultaneously favoring international products — bags, gadgets, shoes, dresses, and even food. But why do we gravitate towards foreign products? Some say it’s trendy or popularized by celebrities, while others believe foreign items are of superior quality.

When considering Filipino products, many think of them as cheap imitations, a disheartening notion that dismisses the value of “Pinoy-made” items. However, this perception is beginning to change. Vogue Philippines highlighted the innovation of Filipino textiles, showcasing Philippine fabrics in international fashion shows, worn by foreign models. Boracay has been recognized as one of the best beaches in the world. Filipino teachers are sought after in the USA for their excellent command of English. The all-female music group BINI was honored as Billboard Philippines’ Women in Music Rising Stars. These examples reflect our exceptional quality and potential, yet we often feel insecure about our identity.

It’s time to embrace a “Filipino First” mindset to foster national pride and economic growth. We need to love our products, culture and people. By starting with small steps — choosing local products, appreciating our cuisine, and celebrating our achievements — we can build a stronger, more confident nation.

Let’s take pride in our heritage and talents. It’s time to love the Philippines now more than ever.

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