Who got next as PH Tourism Ambassador?
There was a bit of Internet fuss over Vanessa Hudgens and her appointment as the Philippines Global Tourism Ambassador (GTA). On paper, Hudgens is a no-brainer: she’s half-Filipina, has millions upon millions of followers across social (Instagram: 49M), and is a Hollywood actor that starred in a film series that defined our childhoods. Clout, influence, and star power, Hudgens has it all.
But critics would point out that it took Hudgens a long, looong time to rep her roots. Her endorsement also comes when being Filipino is ” cool “: see Jo Koy, Olivia Rodrigo, H.E.R., etc. It’s easier to walk a path when many have already flattened and cemented it for you.
@beyoncepadthighz Just some observations 🥴Opportunistic or nah? #pinoytiktok #filipinotiktok #filipino #pinoy ♬ original sound – G
Still, the concept of a Global Tourism Ambassador is timely in an age of social media hype and virality. So, why not make this a regular thing? The people are right: there are more personalities out there that can represent the Sun and Stars. The following have the names and popularity, but whether they surpass Hudgens as the PH Tourism Ambassador is reserved for the comments section below.
Martin Nievera said it best: “He put us on the map.” Jo Koy ushered in a new wave of visibility for Filipinos locally and abroad with his sold-out Netflix specials and all-too-relatable jokes about his mom and Vicks VapoRub. Many have tried to place a Filipino size eight imprint on Hollywood, but save for Lea Salonga, few have matched Jo Koy’s relevancy.
If being GTA is all about representation, you can’t go wrong with the guy responsible for the first Filipino film produced by a major Hollywood studio. Criticisms about leaning too heavily on Filipino culture jokes have always been weird, as every comedian sources from personal experiences for their bits.
@herofficial AY NAKO! Shout Out to my Filipinos. So grateful !!!!!!!!! #pinoypride ♬ original sound – H.E.R.
The moment H.E.R. parodied her Tita’s Filipino accent, that made her an automatic GTA in our book. Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson has given her Filipino roots a shoutout on multiple occasions, several with fellow artist, Saweetie. The 5-time Grammy winner was also the February cover model for Vogue Philippines. Between her tributes and Grammy nods, H.E.R. is a shoo-in.
Like H.E.R., the sweetest thing about Saweetie is that she never gets tired of giving us a shoutout. Whether it’s a Philippines-inspired MET Gala dress, referencing her mom’s hometown of Tondo, or flying to the PH in her MV “Closer,” representation is a huge deal for the 29-year-old.
Bretman Rock has repped the Philippines throughout the years, but our favorite is when he rated Filipino snacks for yours truly. True to his wit, he gave us soundbites like “If you can open this without breaking, you can perform open heart surgery (Choc Nut), “I dunno why it’s bringing me back to my uncle’s funeral” (Skyflakes), and “Filipinos have the best mango, and I will die on that f*cking hill” (Dried Mangoes).
Who says you have to be Filipino to be a GTA? Throughout the years, Sandara Park has been the winner of a local talent search and gone on to become a South Korean Idol – and she still hasn’t forgotten her love for the Philippines. Sandara is the perfect example of how family can be anyone.