Thursday, January 20, 2011

An interesting BUY PINOY experiment

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a Literature and Humanities teacher in one of the private high schools in the area.  In the curriculum, the students read about 9 to 10 novels a year; but other than the usual classics that are covered in Literature programs, I have also included books that are designed to make them better individuals.

One such book is “12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country” by Alex Lacson.

Mr. Lacson noticed that we Pinoys are a rather unpatriotic lot.  We reject our local products in favor of imported ones; we don’t pay our taxes; we put down our country in jokes and in conversations with foreigners; the foreign embassies are always full; heck, the most popular course in college is one that gets us out of the country.

Long story short, he wrote a book in an effort to goad each of his countrymen into believing in his struggling country again and to take action to helping the Philippines out.  He split this effort into, you guessed it, twelve chapters, each one tackling a specific action that we can do to help the Philippines.

Chapter 3 of the book is about buying locally-made products.  I felt quite strongly for this one, as I grew up in America, where, when I lived there, there was a strong “Buy American!” campaign; and I’ve seen first hand how South Koreans will not patronize anything else but their own products.

It frustrates me to no end why we refuse be like that, and are quite the polar opposite of it.  In fact, for one of my introductory reflection assignments for that chapter, one student summed up what the whole class, and probably the whole nation, felt about our homegrown goods: “I don’t use Filipino products to the point that I don’t even know what they are.”  Wow.

So my assignment for this chapter went like this: for one week (which I now regret, I think it should be longer) they will buy and use only Filipino made products and replace the imported products they use everyday with them.  At the end of the experiment, they write an essay on how it went.  There were a few groans, but being good kids, they went through with it.

A week has passed and in come the essays.  I found some humor in what some of them said (“this was my first time eating a Champ”) but all in all I, with a very serious heart, really poured through them, hoping that the results would be something positive for the Philippines.

The more common product switches were: Hapee for Colgate; Magnolia butter for Anchor; Artwork, Penshoppe on any other local brand for Guess and its ilk; Piatos for Doritos; no McDonalds or any other international fast food chain, but Jollibee, Greenwich and the others instead; local jams/spreads instead of Smuckers; Nips for M&M’s; and many more.

The verdict?  For the vast majority of the products, there was very little to no noticeable difference in quality.  The students were a bit surprised by this, and as a result of this assignment they also wonder why we as a nation turn up our noses on the things we make, when the quality isn’t that bad.  Many are now very willing to make the switch for good and will encourage their parents to do so, too.

Well, I’m posting this news here because I’d like to challenge the readership of this site to do the same.  Why not make a conscious decision to replace the imports that we love so much with local equivalents?  You may be as surprised as my students were.

I my opinion, Swiss Miss has nothing on our native tsokolate drink.  I use Hapee for my toothpaste.  I use, and vastly prefer, Human Heart Nature instead of OFF! for mosquito protection.  I haven’t ordered from any fast food other than Jollibee and Chow King this year so far.  I buy local snacks for the kids (in fact, I prefer the barquillos and otap to the chips).  Heck, this has affected me to the point that I have sold my Nokia phone and bought myself a dual-sim model from the Philippines’ first mobile phone brand, My|Phone.

Yup, I’ve gone Pinoy…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


  1. whoah.
    that was quite a chaLLenge for the Abba's kids, i bet.
    Praise God for that.
    this entry got me smiLing and made me proud too.
    FiLipino stuff, ftw! :D

  2. I completely agree with you... Whenever my sister's Church does a mission trip there in the Philippines, most of the time she's the only filipino that signs up (except for 2009, there were 4 but we were all related) and majority are from a different nationality....

  3. It's a shame that the Philippine residents have such inferior opinions of their own native country. Unfortunately, it's been occurring since before our parents were kids themselves. This explains why many Filipinos decide to emigrate to other countries.

    Carlo, you're among the few pinoys out there that I know who are truly active in rebuilding Filipino Pride within the country -- a more undaunting task than here in the USA. It starts at home. Those children are blessed to have you there to open their eyes....

  4. Hi Cagayanon Disciple, can you email me? This is a great experiment. Have an idea for you. Thanks.

  5. Hi,

    I'm Leni Abella and I'm the Vice President of the "Buy Pinoy Movement" and I'd like to meet with you because I believe that we can work together to advance this cause. Do let me know when we can meet.

    Like you, me and my family are Hapee toothpaste fans. Hope to hear form you soon :) Blessings!

  6. Thanks for the comment. I am quite flattered that you'd be interested in contacting me. I sent you an email in return. Were you able to get it?

  7. Well-written entry, buddy! This made me cry.

  8. Kudos to you my friend! I'm so glad to have read this blog(thanks for posting this on FB Doi..)...and Carlo, thank you for being truly Pinoy at heart though we all know you grew up in the U.S....I am humbled with the way you have been dedicating yourself not only in teaching these young kids with your school's curriculum but in inculcating to them the sense of patriotism and Pinoy pride which unfortunately has been wanting in these generations... =)


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