The good and the bad: TikTok users trend ‘Welcome to the Philippines’

July 7, 2021 - 8:30 AM
Welcome to the Philippines
Screengrabs from videos on TikTok (from left to right: @abigailbarlowww, @fitricerado and @nataecho)

Filipino TikTok creators started a trend to promote the country while showing its positive and negative attributes.

The trend #WelcometothePhilippines had gathered more than four million views on the platform and reached some Facebook pages as well.

Each TikTok video is akin to a tourism commercial where creators welcome and greet tourists using an edited version of a parody song from artist Abigail Barlow.

There came a twist though. Rather than just promoting tourist sites, products and culture, some creators also mentioned national concerns and some harmful perceptions and practices in the Philippines.

It’s difficult to trace where the trend started, but was possibly inspired by a June 27 video of TikToker Fitri Cerado.

In her video, Cerado sang to the tune of Barlow’s parody song as she talked about harmful aspects of Filipino culture such as homophobia, skin discrimination and crab mentality.

“Welcome to the Philippines, have a look around,” the 17-year-old creator started.

It has since earned over 9.1 million views on the platform and over 1.5 million likes or hearts.

@fitriceradoWelcome to the Philippines #fyp #tiktokphilippines #musicaltheatre music by: @abigailbarlowww ❤️💛♬ original sound – Abigail Barlow

Another user Jerricho “Echo” Calingal, a TV personality, released a series of “Welcome to the Philippines” versions where he notes common practices and terms, both good and bad.

@nataecho#welcometothephilippines #fyp♬ original sound – Abigail Barlow

Some creators were more vocal about political and social issues in their videos, citing pandemic-related issues, red-tagging critics, police brutality and corruption.

@gruizzziii@fitricerado did it better but there was a lot to unpack #fyp♬ original sound – Abigail Barlow

This TikTok tag eventually reached Facebook.

On July 2, Facebook page called TikTok PH shared a four-minute compilation of the most-viewed clips that used the hashtag on TikTok.

Some of them featured the country’s rich history and funny habits among Filipinos.

It has since earned over five million views on the platform.

In line with the song used, Interaksyon learned that the original song Barlow parodied was by veteran YouTuber Bo Burnham titled “Welcome to the Internet.” Burnham released a video of it on June 4.

In her version, Barlow created parodies dedicated to TikTok’s “For Your Page” tag or hashtag #FYP, which refers to the page where users can stream recommended videos based on their preferences or recently watched content.

She posted the first clip of it on June 18. It has now over 8 million views on the platform.

@abigailbarlowwwReply to @hutchthekid here you go! #boburnham #internetsong♬ original sound – Abigail Barlow

This online movement is similar to the “Museo de Filipino” trend last October 2020.

That time, Filipino users depicted personas of different notable Filipinos and tell their stories through an edited version of a track by IV of Spades called “Bata, Dahan-Dahan.”