Ariana Guadalupe, can we be mag-bestfriend?

Western artists were spotted returning to their Philippine hometowns to perform musical hits—in the name of Pinoy Pride.

May it be a certain boy band or the next pop princess, Filipinos certainly have a knack for touting their favorites, endearingly called “faves” as the next Beyoncé. This fanfare is, of course, enjoyed by big media personalities from the West. 

Seeing how the Philippines can sensationalize celebrities’ entire careers with just a few comments and reposts, these artists have found a home across the seas, even going so far as to spring out the smallest traces of Filipino blood in the results of cheap genealogy tests taken online. Local fans have also been nothing short of receptive to these testimonials. Homegrown artists with Caucasian traces themselves have become skeptical—even threatened—of their growing prominence.

The pounding question stands: Are these really instances of authentic strides of Pinoy pride or genius deployments of Pinoy baiting? The LuhSallian sits with these homecoming Western artists on their journey toward reclaiming their identities as Filipinos, and the local celebrities on what exactly these mean for their careers.

Ariana Guadalupe was seen riding the Pasig River Ferry in all smiles and a scrunched-up nose.

Of course I’m Filipino, I love sinigang!

If there’s one thing that Batangas native Dua Lipa loves about her country, it’s her ability to eat entire servings without ever getting sick. Boasting the serving sizes of their famous Batangas goto, she remembers warm childhood memories of eating at the table with her family as she slurps down the savory chicharon-filled concoction. “Ang sarap niya, super. Like, ‘yung sabaw pa lang niya ulam na talaga; mapapa-Dance The Night Away ka talaga and you’ll be Levitating sa pagka-solid nung dish,” she exerts. 

(I absolutely love this dish! Even the soup alone will make you full because of how hearty this meal is.)

Tyler the Kapampangan of Angeles City fame also attests to this notion. With a large grin on his face, he revels in the sisig that his mother—the great Aling Lucing herself—cooked for him. “‘Yung maskara talaga nagpapasarap nung dish para sa ‘akin, lalo na if [yung] utak ng baboy ginagamit ni ‘Nay instead of those vile mayonnaise that Manileños use,” he begrudgingly says.

(The pork cheeks are what makes this dish great, especially if Mom uses pig brains…)

For those who prefer the urban sprawls of the metro, four-time Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Award recipient and Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award holder Britney Go-Belmonte shares some of the delectable treats located in the old district of Binondo. “Lagi akong tambay dito, kasama ko pa nga si mareng Mariah Carriedo. Hindi pwedeng hindi kami kakain sa may Ling Nam o kaya Wai Ying bago kami umuwi ng Malate. It’s so authentic kaya!” she invigoratingly mentions.

(Oh, I always hang around here with Mariah Carriedo! We always eat over at Ling Nam or Wai Ying before we go home to Malate.)

Food novelties aside, these artists have also had their fair share of promoting the quintessential Filipino icon—the jeepney. Our very own Alicia Keys of New York, Cubao frequently shares stories of her latest singles Nasusunog na Babae and Ako’y Nasa New York being blasted 24/7 down Araneta Ave. “‘Di ko rin alam kung bakit nila pinatutugtog eh. Pero ayos din naman; nakatutuwa marinig yung mga barker sumisigaw ng ‘dito sa New York!!’,” she chuckles innocently.

(I actually don’t know why they blast my songs on jeepneys, but it’s funny to hear the barkers yell ‘here in New York!’)

In circles around, we go

Outside of the famed cuisine and jeepney culture, these personalities have penetrated the locals’ hearts through rounds of caravan tours. These public stints were made popular by film festivals and political parties. Fans have spotted Lana Del Norte in Northern Mindanao multiple times, singing her top hits Summertime Sama Ng Loob, Say Yes to Hesus, and her collaboration with Rodriguez’s pride and joy Taylor Swak, Snow on the Bundok. Homegrown sensation Queen Yasmin Assisi had much to say about this, going on to say that the renditions sounded better on record. “It really doesn’t make sense. Anong ‘snow on the bundok’? Bundok, bundok—not even Baguio can do that!” she snickers.

(What “snow on the mountain”? Mountain, mountain.)

Del Norte is not the sole receiver of backlash for these trailer rounds. In the Pasig leg of her homecoming tour, Ariana Guadalupe was ridiculed by impersonator Minty Frost. “Alam niya namang dito ko pinerform her song Break Free at the Leni [Rey] rally. Ang tanong ko lang talaga, kailangan [niya] ba talaga sumapaw?” she shares close to tears. While Minty respects what the performance would mean for fans who have followed the global star for years, she contended that this was a move towards erasing local history.

(She knows I performed … My question is, did she really need to undermine my performance?)

Harry Estilo made public his Filipino-ness at his Philippine Arena stint last year. Fans were left positively gasping and gagged by this new information. This esteemed appraisal of Harry had brewed cold resentment in the local gig scene. Metrowalk and Eastwood resident performer Zack Tumultuous had much to say when Estilo visited his hometown Las Piñas City in yet another caravan. “Ito na naman tayo eh. History repeats itself. Nangangamba na naman yung independence natin,” he huffs. Estilo did not take this personally, as he replied with a lighthearted laugh, “I can’t help it, it’s a sign of the times!”

(Here we are again. Our independence is yet again threatened.)

One kwek-kwek at a time

Worldwide TikTok sensation and Facebook Reel phenomenon Sassa Ysa Gurlsten appreciates the strides that these Western-turned-Filipino artists have taken. However, she feels that these actions have been performative as of lately. In an annoyed tone, she bluntly expresses, “Ang gara lang a bit kasi hahaha. Narinig lang yung kanta nila sa may Eastwood tapos ngayon they think even Cavite streets should hear their songs all the time?” she sighs with a voice of disapproval.

(It’s a bit weird, don’t you think? You hear their songs being played at Eastwood once, and suddenly it reaches all the way to Cavite?)

Despite reservations drawn and hesitation continuing to pound from within, these artists share one thing that they all share a common love for: the art of preserving Philippine heritage. Whether it be starting a new TikTok dance craze or stirring debates on whether or not tinola is actually a decent dish or if it’s just boiled chicken water, it’s the continued reaffirmation they have for their country that matters—or in Go-Belmonte’s terms, “We’re not ‘tisoy’, we’re Pinoy!”

This article was published in The LaSallian‘s Spoof 2024 issue. To read more, visit