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What does it mean to be Filipino/a/x in this modern world?

There is truly no better place to be writing this piece than on the Overseas Filipino blog. As a Filipina born in the Philippines that grew up in Hong Kong , educated in Canada, and now living in the US, I have had the pleasure of meeting many of our kababayans all over the globe. I have seen our kababayans do so well in areas of fashion, medical, aeronautics, and in business. We are pretty much scattered everywhere doing what we do best, but yet some of us still feel an attachment to the motherland – Philippines. 
My personal journey of being a globe-trotting Filipino, has brought me to wonder: What does it mean to be Filipino/a/x in this modern world? And how can I appreciate my heritage without shortchanging my experience and still respecting the place I now call home. 

I believe the current statistic is that in Hong Kong alone, there are 130 thousand Filipino overseas workers, and most of them are mothers, grandmothers that have left the comfort of home to build a brighter future for their families. This phenomenon has caused our country to go through what scholars call a “care drain”, where the next generation of Filipinos in the motherland are being brought up by extended families (some predominantly male) absent a mother or motherly figure. The “care drain” issue is ultimately my ‘why’ for creating Grovea. Grovea sprouted to build a better tomorrow, we employ Filipina women weavers and provide them with a very good salary that is comparative to overseas pay (e.g. as a nanny in Hong Kong). We believe that as Filipinos, we can only grow and prosper if we take care of our people and provide them with an opportunity to feel empowered.

What do we mean by empowered?

We believe that to solve the income gap while building a more prosperous Philippines, we need to give our kababayans a future they can work towards, a future that will reward them with the financial stability needed to maintain a comfortable lifestyle in the Philippines. Our goal is to inspire other companies locally and abroad to take on this mindset and adopt an empathetic supply chain, where our kababayans are paid a fair wage. One where our land and our resources are replenished and cared for, to remain beautiful for future generations to enjoy.

Silviyana is a brand that we have created to showcase international designs using our sister company’s eco fabrics that use blends of Philippine pineapple and abaca (banana) fiber. Our newest collection is the Pagkakaisa (which means ‘Unity’ in Tagalog, which is a collaboration collection with Pilipinx Ako. Silviyana and Pilipinx Ako are brought together with the common idea of creating a narrative, through design, of our journey to re-connect with our Filipino heritage. The collection blends Philippine traditional indigenous textiles with modern design.

It is a visual representation of all of our unified voices as overseas workers or children of overseas workers. It answers the question – how do we blend the beauty of our current home with our Philippine heritage.

This collection intends to maintain the authenticity of traditional textile with its original intended use. Scholars from the Philippines were involved in verifying symbolism that helped in creating the storyline that we can now share with you. Your gown stands on its own to share a story of your values and your heritage. Timelessness – is a collection that truly brings elements from our past woven into a bridal gown, while thinking of the future. Our concept of creating a wedding gown that is modular in design will truly keep you loving the collection by allowing you to incorporate elements of your heritage into your everyday wear. We promise you that you will love this collection, and continue to enjoy it even after you say, ‘I do’.

To showcase the Pagkakaisa collection, we partnered with Filipinx wedding vendors that are based in the California area, hoping this to be an inspiration to Filipino/a/x couples that are looking to plan a wedding day that will pay homage to their kultura (culture). 

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