Rakista News

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May 27, 2021
Kayumanggi: The Brown Blueprint Of Beauty

Negra! Egot! Puwet ng kaldero!

Every dark-skinned child in Filpino societies is no stranger to colorism -- no stranger to how unkind the world is to those blessed with a bit more melanin. We live in a country where we are made to feel ashamed of our pigments and brainwashed into thinking that papaya soaps and skin bleaches are the elixirs of beauty.

However, it has not always been like this.

Before Spaniard ships sailed to the shores of the Philippines, pre-colonial Filipinos celebrated the rich color of their brown skin and saw it as a gift from Bathala. Proud of the shade that covers their body, it was a common practice to treat the skin as a beautiful brown canvas and embellish it with symbolic tattoos. More than that, the pre-colonial idea of beauty and status was not measured through one’s skin color, but rather through one’s contribution to the tribe.

But then the white men came and redefined beauty to their favor.

To make the natives feel submissive, the Spaniards poisoned the Filipino concept of beauty. Positioning themselves as the new pale tyrants, they controlled the natives by calling them Indios to prey on their self-esteem and equating their dark skin into poverty and illiteracy. This oppressive messaging became so ingrained that it made Filipinos internalize the hate towards their own skin for centuries to come.

Hence, colorism is a remnant of the dark days of colonial rule and is a betrayal to our forefathers.

Today, we need to make a choice. Will we continue to allow skin color to be the leash that strangles Filipino societies, or will we finally break free from the chains of our yesterday and realize that our pigments hold the blueprint of beauty? Now more than ever, we need to honor the brown legacy of our ancestors and embrace that we truly are kayumanggi.

Beyond Being Brown

The fight to reclaim our culture starts with the youth.

In this digital age when it is easy to forget our country’s humble roots, AIESEC in UPM presents Kayumanggi, an initiative to make the new generations appreciate our colorful pre-colonial culture. With the theme “Celebrating the identity and heritage of the Filipino people,” Kayumanggi offers the youth a free chance to immerse themselves into the lives of our ancestors through a variety of youth-centered events from May 27-29, 2021.

More than sending a message about being proud of our skin color, Kayumanggi also aims to spread the love for our ancestral culture through seminars and workshops about pre-colonial folklore and mythology, Filipino pop culture, songwriting, and acting, among others. Moreover, a watch party of Sunday Beauty Queen, a critically applauded documentary about Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong, will show how the Filipino concept of community from the pre-colonial period survived the test of time and assimilated into modernity. This feast of Filipino culture will end with music and laughter during the much-anticipated benefit concert.

But wait, there’s more!

Without a doubt, what makes Kayumanggi truly special is its strong roster of resource speakers, each of whom is a remarkable Filipino highly respected in their field. To open this 3-day event, Leni Robredo, the Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines, will be giving her opening remarks.

It’s hard not to be enticed to sign up for this event when the seminars, workshops, and forums will be headed by Vilma Santos-Recto, the Star for All Seasons; Shamaine Buencamino, an esteemed actress; APO Hiking Society’s Jim Paredes, and Dr. Alvin Yapan, a Palanca winner, among others. Joining them in cultivating a love for Filipino heritage will be Jerome Ong, Dr. Edwin Antonio, Frederick Barcelo, Inna Maristella Garcia, Jerlyn Mendog Noa, Jose Y. Dalisay Jr., Riza Bulawan, Louie John A Sanchez, Dr. Fernando Zialcita, and Gil Namabatac.

Furthermore, to truly touch the lives of more Filipinos, Kayumanggi will also funnel the donations received into its beneficiary partners --- Liyang Network, an advocacy network that seeks to echo the voices of environmental and humanitarian rights defenders in Mindanao; and Sabokahan, a grassroots organization that empowers Lumad women. Indeed, supporting Kayumanggi also means amplifying the voices that are so often silenced in our society.

Hence, to give a platform to these unheard whispers, AIESEC in UPM is accepting donations through various channels namely:

Jireh Jay Lemuel N. Bermejo
0928 504 1677

Jireh Jay Lemuel N. Bermejo
394 9088 471

Andres Q. Manuel
0052 4029 8980