The Ayala Museum joined in the Lyca-Karen birthday meme trend by using it to promote its YouTube channel discussing the country’s rich pre-colonial history and culture.
The museum’s Facebook account on August 19 shared a screengrab of the now-viral moment when broadcast journalist Karen Davila reacted upon learning that she shares the same birthdate, November 21, as singer Lyca Gairanod in a video feature.
“Liar! Birthday ko ‘yun!” Karen exclaimed to the first grand winner of “The Voice Kids Philippines” before.
“Hindi ko alam ‘yun. Magka-birthday kami, Scorpio! That means magka-ugali tayo. We’re meant to meet! How many people ang makakatsamba mo, ini-interview ka, ka-birthday mo!” she added.
The veteran reporter’s energetic reaction to the discovery briefly led Lyca to scrunch her eyebrows in confusion and took a step back from her.
The exchange was immortalized by the online community through funny memes used as reactions to issues, from the COVID-19 pandemic to issues involving the government.
The National Quincentennial Committee also joined the trend by sharing a historical trivia related to the personalities’ birthdates.
Ayala Museum did its own take on the meme by featuring Karen’s reaction as representing “people who say ‘Filipinos were uncivilized before the Spaniards came'” and Lyca’s reaction representing some of the features of pre-colonial Philippines.
These involve the archipelago having goldsmiths, skilled craftsmen, local languages, pre-hispanic religion, women having a more advanced role in society and having a distinct way of life, according to the museum.
“A reminder to not be one of those people!” part of its caption reads with a winking emoji.
“Luckily, our YouTube channel explores a lot about our pre-colonial history and culture. We talk all about our wealth in gold, craftsmanship, early traditions, fashion, and even courtship,” the post added.
The museum then added a link to its YouTube account which has brief videos exploring stories from its art and ethnographic collections, as well as the Filipinas Heritage Library’s.
Its channel banner also features the following tagline: “Stuff you may have missed in history class.”
The meme caught Filipinos’ attention who lauded the museum for highlighting the country’s rich pre-colonial history amid misconceptions that our ancestors are thought to be “uncivilized” or “barbaric.”
Facebook users were more straightforward and claimed that the post should be seen by so-called “Hispanistas,” a label used for people who they claim “justify Spain’s colonization” of the country and believe that the Spanish Empire made the Philippines more “cultured.”
“Hispanistas are triggeredddddddddd,” an online user wrote in the post’s comments section.
“Hi mga Hispanistas and people who always try to defend the colonizers and justify colonization/colonialism!!” another Facebook user commented with sarcasm.
The Reddit user who shared the museum’s Facebook post on the discussion website claimed that there are lots of “hispanistas” on the social media giant with their own groups.
Records show that pre-colonial Filipinos had their own culture, hierarchy and way of life.
People were grouped into social classes, polities existed like those of Maynila and Tondo and there was already an established writing system, among others.
Women also held important roles in society, which is seen in the existence of “babaylans” known for their healing abilities, their knowledge of herb lore and their role as ritual specialists.