The Independence Day post of Philippines global tourism ambassador Vanessa Hudgens was met with mixed reactions from Filipino social media users.
To commemorate the country’s national holiday, the Filipino-American actress shared a photo during her visit to the Philippines for a travel documentary on her Pinoy heritage.
The Philippines celebrated its 125th Independence Day (also Araw ng Kasarinlan) on Monday, June 12.
The day marks the period when the country showed its resolve to consider itself absolved of allegiance to the Spanish crown, the first and longest colonizers of the Philippines.
Vanessa was among those who posted about the national holiday on social media.
She shared a photo of herself wearing a champagne-colored terno dress when she visited the Malacañang for the bestowment of her title.
“Maligayang [A]raw ng [K]alayaan, [P]ilipinas! (heart symbol),” the actress wrote on Instagram on June 13.
“Happy [I]independence [D]ay, [P]Philippines (Philippine flag emoji) learning about my heritage and history was so empowering. Connecting to the land and people. Can’t wait to get back,” Vanessa added.
She also accompanied her post with the hashtag “#WeGiveTheWorldOurBest,” the much-talked-about phrase which had a senator calling out the tourism department as the campaign “commodifies Filipinos.”
The phrase was spotted in an overseas ad that featured British-Filipina nurse May Parsons who administered the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine in England.
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Vanessa’s Independence Day post was well-received by some Pinoys who cheered her for commemorating what is called the “true birthday of the Philippine nation,” according to a former president.
“We indeed #givetheworlfourbest. Thank you for being our voice,” an Instagram user partly wrote.
“Happy [I]independence [D]ay, kababayan,” another online user wrote with a Philippine flag emoji.
“I love that you embrace Filipino culture and history, @vanessahudgens! Maligayang [A]raw ng [K]alayaan (Philippine flag emoji),” commented a different Pinoy.
Others, however, were more wary of Vanessa’s Philippine-oriented post.
“It took you 30+ years to love [PH]? Lol,” a Filipino on Facebook wrote.
“Talaga ba, sis,” another social media user commented.
“Aralin mo muna correct spelling man lang ng Pilipinas at Philippines, ineng… My heritage and history ka [diyan]!” exclaimed a different Pinoy.
“Kasama sa pay kaya may pa-greet na ganyan, but noon ay waley [wala],” another Facebook user wrote.
Vanessa’s appointment as the country’s global tourism ambassador was previously met with mixed comments, with some Pinoys suggesting other personalities who they felt were more apt for the role due to their evident love for the Philippines.
These include Filipino-American influencer Bretman Rock who is vocal about his Pinoy heritage and South Korean personality Sandara Park who frequently posts about the Philippines on her social media accounts, among others.
The government’s global tourism ambassador initiative is part of the branding campaign and marketing strategy of Paul Soriano’s office and the tourism department.
Soriano, the nephew-in-law of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, is the presidential adviser on creative communications.
The global tourism ambassador initiative aims to attract international tourists and push for the resurgence of the Philippines as a travel destination.