I first encountered Yabang Pinoy at an event (or a store?) in 2007 or 2008. The woven abaca bracelets – and the tagline – caught my eye. Back then I pondered on how ingenious it was that a local material was being used in such a meaningful and “cool” manner – to promote patriotism through a decidedly “pop” approach.

At first glance, the concept of “yabang” has negative implications in our culture: its direct translation is “arrogance;” in Filipino being mayabang is closely associated with being “mahangin” or ego-laden; it’s an alien, frowned upon disposition. But the Yabang Pinoy movement is gradually changing the way we understand it; by attaching the word Yabang to Pinoy they’re slowly fortifying and building a long-overdue redefinition of Pinoy Pride. That is, to put our “yabang” to good use and to promote the remarkable country where global citizens come from. And really, there are SO MANY things we can be proud of about being Pinoy!

Last Wednesday I had the chance to meet the people behind Yabang Pinoy for their Meet The Bloggers Night, a pre-activity for their upcoming Global Pinoy Bazaar. I’m not exactly part of the popular, event-attending blogger crowd so I was surprised to receive Nikki’s invite, but I was nonetheless thankful and delighted to show up and learn something new. Even if it meant braving Pedring’s mounting wrath (it was the night before the storm!).

The even was held at Bo’s Coffee in Glorietta 5. YB always makes it a point to hold their events in locally-owned venues. I met Megann, Aisa, and Ana here – seriously stylish people whom I’ve only “met” through blogs. It was surreal and gratifying to meet them in person! Vern was also there but she left early.

The hosts had a little game for us: FAQs about Pinoy Trivia. I answered the first question right and got this cute magnet! Sticking it on our ref now. Thanks YB! 🙂

During the program Maricris explained to us YP’s history and activities. Aside from propagating that abaca bracelet which I first saw years ago, YP’s volunteers have been quite busy with activities ranging from publishing books to travelling to hosting informal debates at schools – whatever it takes to instill Pinoy pride, sa isip, sa salita, at sa gawa. After all, being a Mayabang na Pinoy is not just about showing off your pride through apparel or accessories – it’s also about doing concrete things that promote love for our country to kids and our peers!

I got my own abaca wristband now! 🙂 Bracelet owners are invited to answer this question: “Ano ang maipagyayabang mo bilang isang Pilipino?” My answer is this: “Bilang Pilipino, ipinagyayabang ko ang kakaibang kakayahan natin na bumangon agad sa kahit anong uri ng sakuna or problema. Ang ating optimismo ang nagiging tulay para tayo’y maging masipag at hindi sumuko!” (wow, parang Ms. Universe lang. LOL).

Super thanks to Nikki, Geri, Maricris, and the whole Yabang Pinoy team. I had fun, and I was so inspired by Yabang Pinoy’s mission and vision. They don’t just talk the talk – the walk it, Pinoy Style! I’d love to volunteer for Yabang Pinoy soon, especially for the Global Pinoy Bazaar and their e-zine Mag YP 🙂 On my next post, I’ll share all about the bazaar and – drumroll – a GIVEAWAY! 🙂 But after you read this, learn more about Yabang Pinoy on their website – and think about what makes you proud to be a Filipino too!

Ikaw, ano ang maipagyayabang mo bilang isang Pilipino?

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