This Independence Day, BGYO, BINI, Nica del Rosario, and more share how their work and efforts are helping change the country for the better.
June is a month filled with celebrations of all kinds, from personal, historical, societal, and more. This June 12 will be a special day as the country commemorates the Filipinos of then who officially recognized their independence from Spain, setting up the Philippines we all know today. 125 years since the Philippines declared its independence, generations of Filipinos have gone on to build lives for themselves as they pursued their passions and ideals. Such is the case with Gen Z as we strive to make a name for ourselves in a period of seemingly limitless potential.
If the past couple of years has shown us anything, it’s that Gen Z isn’t the lazy, do-nothing generation that some try to stereotype us as. We aren’t afraid to speak up and advocate for the causes we believe in. After all, it is our future that’s at stake. Gen Z is not just a term or age group, but a generation ready to step up and make a difference. This Philippine Independence Day, we celebrate the bravery of the founding Filipinos and the dreams and potential of the new generation. As young stakeholders in this country, we all have a part in building the future we hope for.
This is why we asked local personalities to share their aspirations for the country. While they come from a diverse set of fields, from music, drag, social media, and more, these stars are changemakers in their own right and remind us of our power and that change can come, even through our ways.
With their name coming from the word binibini, BINI aspires to be the epitome of what a modern Filipina is, exhibiting beauty and grace with a sense of independence befitting the new generation. With the group recently celebrating their second anniversary, BINI has proven that they are more than just a girl group who makes music, but are also putting their words into action.
While BINI is considered one of the top P-pop girl groups in the country and continues to gain fans by the day, their road to where they are was filled with its share of potholes. “Madami ang hindi naniniwala sa BINI. Madami ang duda sa aming kakayahan. Mga indibidwal na hinihila kami pababa,” they share. The girls experienced criticism and judgment, but that didn’t stop them and, in fact, used it as fuel to give them the strength to get better at what they do.
People can say what they want about BINI, but these eight young women are making it known that they aren’t wavering from their promise to be a good influence on the youth. “Panata namin na atin gamitin ang aming plataporma para magbigay kasiyahan, kaalaman, at kabutihan, lalo na sa mga kabataan tulad namin.” And, more importantly, BINI wants you to know that following your dreams isn’t a competition, but your journey to take. “Kung hindi dumating and iyong inaasam, tandaan na hindi paligsahan ang pagtupad sa pangarap. Ang katuparan ng pangarap mo ay nakasalalay sa mga desisyon mo.”
NICA DEL ROSARIO
To many OPM fans, Nica del Rosario is an icon of the industry. The singer-songwriter has a stable of genre-defining songs under her belt. She has written or co-written, among other tracks, Sarah Geronimo’s Tala and BINI’s Na Na Na, hits that entered the Filipino cultural zeitgeist. But more than making the OPM bops that are mainstays of our playlists, Nica del Rosario is using her talents to help bring about change in society.
While the arts has always had its purpose in entertaining, it can also be used to inspire, educate, and influence people on pressing issues, something Nica believes in as well. “Naniniwala ako sa kapangyarihan ng sining at musika para makipagbigay ng boses para sa mga natatangap ng pag-aapi at diskriminasyon.”
Nica is hoping to use her works and platform to help the underprivileged, especially women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and make sure their voices are heard. “Gagamitin ko ang aking boses upang ipaglaban ang karapatan ng mga kababaihan at LGBTQIA+ community na mabuhay na malaya, maligaya at walang takot. Sa pamamagitan ng aking sining, panta ko sa bayan na patuloy ko ibandera ang pag-asa ng kinabukasan ng ating inaasam.” Nica del Rosario is here to show that music was, is, and will continue to be a medium for free expression and an outlet for people to share their aspirations for society.
When we first got to see Turing on our screens as a contestant on the inaugural season of Drag Race Philippines, she quickly became a fan-favorite thanks to her fierce personality and killer moves. Her verse in Pop Off Ate still lives rent-free in our mind. But aside from a memorable stint on the show, Turing is loved by many because of how she’s helping make a space for those who don’t fit the standards of certain sectors of society.
As a plus-size and feminine drag artist on a major TV show, Turing made people who look and act like her feel seen and heard. This is a goal Turing will continue to strive for. While there have been strides to move towards a more accepting society, discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community in the Philippines is still a concern. This is something Turing herself has experienced before. “Being plus-size and feminine in this country, equality, respect, and acceptance has always been something I don’t normally receive.”
In a time when there are those in power who try to brush aside the concerns and welfare of the community, Turing is vowing to use her newly-found platform to help build a safer space for LGBTQIA+ Filipinos. “As an advocate and member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I pledge to always promote equality in all platforms and anywhere I go. I promise to help educate people to know and understand us as well as educate them about SOGIE Equality Bill to the best of my knowledge. Let’s join hands and fight discrimination.”
Aside from being one of our favorite 2000s movies to rewatch, Legally Blonde also gave us the icon and inspiration that is Elle Woods. She strolled into Harvard Law School in her pink looks and proved her doubters wrong by excelling in school and getting that degree. Elle proved that you can serve while advocating for change, which is a path Dora Dorado now finds himself in.
Most got to know Dora on social media where, among other things, he uses to raises awareness for just causes and advocacies. But, other than that, he’s also getting his head in the books as a student at the Ateneo Law School. From social media to the courtroom, Dora is going to be his unapologetic self who strives to see better things in society.
Over the years, Dora has used his platform to entertain and educate. The content creator and performer doesn’t miss with his content as he also proudly waves his flag. That’s an aspect of him the 27-year-old isn’t letting go anytime soon. “Patuloy ako maging isang mahusay na mamamayan at maging mas mabuti pang ehemplo sa sangkabaklaan.”
Dora stands tall as a member of the LGBTIA+ community, using his influence to help bring about the change that many of us strive for. And know that he’s on his was to getting that law degree, the soon-to-be-lawyer aims to use his newfound learnings to achieve just that. “Through my individual actions, I hope to connect with like-minded individuals to enact positive change through community-driven efforts that would drive people-centered, inclusive, and better policy making in the future.” This is what it means to slay in a law-abiding way.
“Becoming the change, Going further, You and I, Originally Filipino.” Over the course of two years in the fiercely competitive and ever-evolving music industry, BGYO has consistently stayed true to their name, utilizing their talents and platform to push the boundaries of the Pinoy pop genre.
With the successful release of two albums, namely The Light and Be Us, numerous captivating performances on both local and international stages, and their selection as ambassadors for various brands, Gelo, Akira, JL, Mikki, and Nate have embraced their title as the Aces of P-pop, proudly carrying it with them on every step of their career journey.
As trailblazers in the pop music scene, BGYO recognizes the significance of their privileged platform as young artists. This is why the boy group makes a solemn promise to never take this responsibility for granted and to continue inspiring fellow youth to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams. “Bilang kabataan, ang BGYO ay magiging tapat sa adhikain na magbigay inspirasyon sa pamamagitan ng aming musika, sining, at asal.”
“Ipagpapatuloy ang misyon na maging mabuting huwaran sa kapuwa namin kabataan, sa mga katulad naming nangangarap, sa mga katulad naming anak, estudyante, at kaibigan,” BGYO adds, emphasizing their determination to exemplify how persistence and patience can turn dreams into reality. At the core of BGYO’s mission is to lead by example, well-aware of how their choices and action can move others to take their next big step.
As they continue to live up to their name by reaching new heights and showcasing the unique talent of Filipinos worldwide, BGYO vows to take the lead in effecting positive change within the nation as young and determined Filipinos. “Taas-noo sa kabiguan, taas-noo sa pagbangon, taas-noo sa bawat yapak sa pag-abot ng pangarap, mag-aambag maliit man o malaki para sa ikabubuti ng ating bayan.”
Being born to a superstar mother and a politician father can be a blinding privilege to have. But this is not the case for Frankie “Kakie” Pangilinan, who is probably one of this generation’s most self-aware, grounded, and vocal representatives. Whether it be great strides like actively fighting oppression and inequality to something as personal as questioning her own place of privilege, Kakie was never one to stay silent and shy away from speaking truth to power and doing what’s right when it matters most.
Even only in her early twenties, Kakie Pangilinan has always shown, in her unfiltered yet substantial words and unflinching self-expression, that she’s wise beyond her years. “To blatantly accept things as they are, without context nor provision, is unacceptable in this ever changing socio-political landscape,” Kakie tells NYLON Manila in a past interview. “People my age truly need to fully wake up and gain the awareness that just because things may not affect us personally does not mean they are not of worth.”
This grit and wit are part and parcel of Kakie’s personality, something that has been both admired and talked about by many. But the student, writer, singer-songwriter, advocate, and former NYLON Manila cover star has always held her head high and braved the responsibility of being the voice of those who are rendered voiceless, even if the heft of the truth she’s speaking is too much to handle for some.
“I believe in the power of intersectional feminism,” Kakie intones. “Through intersectional feminism, we can develop sectors of the Philippines that need further support in legislation and programs targeted at socioeconomic development.”
Merriam-Webster defines “intersectional feminism” or “intersectionality” as the “complex and cumulative way that the effects of different forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, and intersect.” First used by scholar and civil rights advocate Kimberle Crenshaw in 1989, intersectional feminism is a critical concept that allows us to understand how various types of marginalization intersect and compound, resulting in distinct vulnerabilities that cannot be effectively addressed with universal solutions.
By recognizing this dynamic, we become more discerning in our evaluation of the power structures we seek to transform, enabling us to adopt a more targeted approach in advancing gender equality and/or other measures to combat social inequities. Kakie Pangilinan believes that intersectional feminism offers us the best lens to look at the current problems that plague Philippine society and believes that its multisectoral approach may best help us in addressing them.
“Because true equality for all means equal opportunity for all,” stresses Kakie. “Regardless of sex, gender, religious beliefs and class.”
Growing up in the public eye, Miel Pangilinan has faced her fair share of unfair criticisms and even undeserved hatred. Despite recently coming of age, this teenager has had to endure harsh and toxic comments targeting her body and gender identity, which have had a detrimental impact on her emotional well-being, particularly during her formative years.
Even at the tender age of 12, Miel began experiencing the traumatic consequences of being in the limelight. When she publicly came out as queer last year, she faced further questioning, undermining, and online harassment. Although the weight of these experiences has been overwhelming at times, Miel remains resolute in her determination to overcome the hate. “What is it gonna do for me, other than make me feel bad?” Miel tells NYLON Manila in an interview for her cover story. “Yes, it’s inescapable and I get hurt over it, but that’s the extent that I’m going to let the comments do to me. I don’t let it go past a surface level effect on me.”
While she seems still too young for some, Miel Pangilinan’s wisdom and self-awareness reflect a maturity beyond her years. As a member of the generation of digital natives, she understands the daunting nature of the online space and how it can perpetuate a hostile reality that further marginalizes queer individuals like herself. That is why, this Independence Day, Miel pledges to continue raising her voice to advocate for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.
“Queer Filipinos are Filipinos just the same,” Miel Pangilinan declares. “And they deserve the same accessibility to resources, stability, and safety like everyone else.” Miel has previously highlighted that the root causes of the challenges queer people face are others’ ignorance and the fear of the unknown. She believes that more representation will make the queer community more visible, included, and understood as “very real people with very real feelings.”
“As a queer person myself, I find it important to advocate for these things as a Filipino,” furthers Miel. “Because both my culture and my identity played big parts in my life and in who I am as a person.
Shoot director KENNETH DIMAANO
Videography KIM ANGELA SANTOS
Sittings Editor RAF BAUTISTA
Video Editor TRISHA ENRIQUEZ
Ad & Promo Associate MICHAELA ACILO
Makeup ATRICIA PEREZ & JOEY COSIO-MERCADO
Booking Associate MIKA TAFALLA
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