Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Buy Filipino

Every time I visit the Inquirer or Abs-cbn news, "Poverty" is always in the headline. There would always be an article or two about who to blame for our poverty. I think it is obvious by now that we are poor, we don't need to read about that everyday. It doesn't help to get reminded of that fact everyday. It just depresses the people more. What we need now are clear solutions. No, I don't mean another revolution. We should have realized by now that it doesn't really matter who is in power. We should all have realized by now that all of us are to blame for our misery.

No, not because of who we elect or that we allow our politicians to be corrupt. That is an old line with no effect either.

What I want to point out is that we are poor because we don't buy Filipino. Yes! Drinking coffee at Starbuck's, eating at McDonald's, buying Chinese smuggled goods make another Filipino poorer every day. No, it is not because the coffee at Starbuck's costs 150 pesos, it is because each time we buy imported coffee, a Filipino coffee farmer loses a sale, and each time we buy smuggled Chinese sandals, a Filipino in Marikina loses his job.

I know it's hard to chose when you are in front of two sandals, one will cost you 10 pesos and the other 100 pesos, the choice should be easy and clear. You would normally think, I am poor so I will buy the cheaper one. BUT, what we all have to realize is that we have to buy locally produced goods so that it will be our own people who will be employed to produce them. If 80 million Filipinos will only buy Marikina-made shoes then our shoe industry will thrive and thousands of people will be employed.

My mom and I used to sell Marikina shoes in our hometown. We would go to Marikina every weekend. They really had nice stuff until around 5-6 years ago when Chinese smuggled goods started pouring in. Now, most of the shoemakers lost their jobs because they cannot compete. It's sad really.

If 80 million Filipinos will buy only locally made clothes, shoes, bags, and produce then we will all have jobs. If we buy imported goods all the time, then we are giving our jobs to the Chinese or Koreans. Imported goods are killing our industries. If we don't have industries, we won't have jobs. It's very simple actually, like 1 plus 1. Even if we elect superman or batman as president, our lives won't change until we change our mentality about buying imported goods.

Everytime you buy a smuggled item, a child goes hungry. Put that in your conscience.

We should all make a conscious decision to buy Filipino every time we go shopping.

Think about it.


zherwin said...

if i remember it right, there was a "buy filipino" advocacy during the Ramos (or was that Aquino?) administration, i think it work for a while and then all of sudden, it dissappeared ironically when all these china/korean even thailand-made products found their way into our shores. you know the culprit/s? GATT, free trade and the high cost of labor associated with RP made products hence the higher selling price of our products.

in terms of quality, our products can compete with anyone in the world but what's hindering us from blooming into a fierce competitor was the other country's (specifically china and vietnam) cheaper labor cost.

i hate to admit it but people nowadays will consider first the cost before the quality. sad no?

Anonymous said...

please visit to know more about marikina and its people

Anonymous said...

please visit for more information and to see how's marikina doing while the shoe industry is dying...

Anonymous said...

I've always wanted to buy shoes in Marikina and support the Philippine shoe industry, but never had the chance since we live in the south of Manila. (It must have been great to be part of it all.)

I think the problem boils down to colonial mentality.


Here in our Swiss town, my husband and I tried to promote Philippine-made bags made of recycled juice foils. But the Filipinos who passed by our stand were not interested at all (I respect, of course, their preference). Only one Pinoy, a Filipino history teacher back home, bought a bag (she wanted to support the NGO that helps the urban poor rise from poverty).

Cathy said...

Zherwin- Yeah, I know that price is important. Here in Switzerland what is strange and great is the Swiss will never buy an imported product over a Swiss one even if it is 10 times cheaper. Take eggs for example. A "swiss" egg costs about 2-3 chf for 4 and a "german" egg would cost 1- 1.5 chf for 10 and still people will always buy the swiss egg. That's how swiss farms survive inspite of being small compared to their European neighbors. I asked my colleages why they won't buy imported produce and they reply "because that's the only way the Swiss farmer can compete". This is the same for every swiss product. There are only about 7 million Swiss and yet their industries thrive. We are 80 million Filipinos.

JC- I didn't have the time to read through the forum but it's nice to see that the Marikina people are proactive. I still buy a lot of Marikina shoes by the way...

Cathy said...

Hi Jayred!

There are lots of marikina shoes in the malls as well. I think Janilyn shoes are made in Marikina. They are mainstream too. What I do is I really look where a product is made before I buy it even in the malls.

Even here in Switzerland you can buy Filipino produced products (hidden but it's there). I just read the 90% of the chips of Nokia phones are made in the Philippines (via Texas instruments in Baguio) and 60% of Erickson phones. So, I have a Nokia Phone! =)

I will be glad to buy some of the products you mentioned. I think they have wallets as well right? It should work because the concept is along the lines of Freitag bags (which is about 200chf a pop).


Anonymous said...

some good points here. buying locally produced goods help with job creation. and aside from that, they could also be better for the environment because these are goods which don't need to be shipped in from other countries, so less fuel is consumed, and fewer emissions are released during the transport.

e-souled said...

This physical poverty is really not as serious as the greater poverty that afflicts us and this is the poverty of the spirit.

Why then are we poor? More than ten years ago, James Fallows, editor of the Atlantic Monthly, came to the Philippines and wrote about our damaged culture which, he asserted, impeded our development. Many disagreed with him but I do find a great deal of truth in his analysis.

This is not to say that I blame our social and moral malaise on colonialism alone. But we did inherit from Spain a social system and elite that, on purpose, exploited the masses. Then, too, in the Iberian peninsula, to work with one's hands is frowned upon and we inherited that vice as well. Colonialism by foreigners may no longer be what it was, but we are now a colony of our own elite.

We are poor because we are poor -- this is not a tautology. The culture of poverty is self-perpetuating. We are poor because our people are lazy. I pass by a slum area every morning - dozens of adults do nothing but idle, gossip and drink. We do not save...

oh i'm sorry i almost forgot that this is Cathy's blog not mine!lol. this is a very long comment. Sorry Cath! Anyway i better post the whole comment (article) on my site.

Read the full comment/article here:

e-souled said...

here's the link:

more power!

Joe said...

Hey, Cathy! Really nice post. I admit. I'm kinda guilty pero I buy Filipino, too...sometimes.

Cathy said...

kouji-Yes you are right! Locally made goods consume more energy. Another reason why we should buy Filipino made goods. Thanks for the comment!

E-souled-Thanks for the comment. Of course you are right about us being poor because we have no pride in being Filipinos. That said, if I would be given superpowers, I will try to educate all of our countrymen about being proud of our country.

Unfortunately, all I can do is blog ,make theories and write essays about how rotten our system is. What I want to propose is a way of how you and me and other normal Filipinos can do something that doesn't involve superpowers. We can make our country better by doing as little as buying a Filipino-made sandal instead of a Birkenstock.

Jowell- bad, bad. You should make a conscious effort to buy Filipino made products. I don't mean that you go to work carrying a bayong or wear a bakya, there are lots of good Filipino-made products out there which are cool.

I will try to post a list of Philippine-made products here that we should all patronize.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

(Sorry for the deletion - my bad - attrocious spelling!!!)

I loved the Philippines when I was there - I have also discovered (and it is no surprise) in the people a vast wealth of artistic sensibility and great intellect.
I still have a really soft spot inside me for the culture, the country - and share its hopes and dreams for the future.

But I have also discovered a vein of defensiveness in a few - so perverse in its hostlity - that it actually undermines the potential beauty of the very same country that these people are trying to support.
Instead of becoming ambassadors for the positive, these people become advertisements for the negative - adding strength to the already imbalanced perceptions held about their beloved country.
This is how stereotypes are perpetuated - when nobody has the integrity or the guts to speak the honest truth - the inner strength to resist an obviously tempting partiality.
It is folly to generalise - but my experiences certainly bear witness to how a spiritual illness can soon become a plague.

Anonymous said...

Beware of Ellumbra, also known as Timothy Ellis Cumper:

Mayen Betita, A Filipina Who Learned a Painful Lesson

Sincere advice for the Philippine Hospital Scam Hoaxster

Ellumbra said...

As if by magic - lo and behold - one of them appears here in an anonymous, cowardly disguise, dispensing their insidious propaganda.

Cathy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cathy said...

Hi ellumbra,

I believe in every country there exists great intellect and unfortunately oftentimes even greater folly. That is just how the world works. I know your story...or the story that I have read about you. I cannot judge you or your story because I don't know you. Have you read the book "A long way to go for a date" by Henry Makow?
For me that is a guide of what not to do if you want to have a relationship with a Filipina.

Thanks for the comment.


Unknown said...

Hi Cathy - thanks for responding.

You are absolutely correct - folly exists alongside everything else, the world over, including that of turning a blind eye and apathetic inaction.
But I am sure that humankind is universally moral, adhering to a deep ethical sensibility which is never entirely masked by any superficial differences.

Cultural differences, national heritages are truly something to take great pride in - whereas any contemporary deviations, born out of a climate of poverty & corruption should not really be referred to as such, no matter how excusable they may seem to some.

I have not read the book you mentioned, only your brief post describing it - but that is a scenario about which I cannot comment either, not knowing any of the people concerned.

The story I was involved in, however, reveals all the hallmarks of a plan, originally endorsed and corroborated by a few people (which is the single reason for it being publicised as a warning) who have since harvested considerable support, by way of attempts at covering the story up - purely as a business excercise. All of which I am sure, no amount of reading could have been adequate preparation for - and I am certain should not be explained away by the term "cultural differences" - unless, of course, in some way these deviations do reflect an innate national characteristic.

What culture, what nation would ever accept such practices as something to be proud of?

Jake said...

I hope my blog ( can help SME's on their business.

John said...

Let's continue to support Pinoy-made products. I have a website too promoting awesome Philippine products.