Filipino representation in TV, film increasing
SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — When “Spider-Man: No Way Home” was first released last December, it didn’t take long for the movie to surpass the $1 billion mark globally — crossing the mark in its second weekend.
There was one scene at Ned’s house where his Filipino grandma was speaking the Philippines’ native language: Tagalog. No subtitles were provided. Instead, Ned, Peter Parker’s best friend, translated for his friends during that scene.
For many Filipinos, that was a proud moment for them to get that kind of representation in a globally-acclaimed film watched by millions worldwide. Historically, that’s not something Filipinos have been used to in the United States.
Despite this, Filipino population have trended upward in the last 20 years, according to Pew Research Center. Here are some more recent examples of Filipino representation in media and entertainment.
“Easter Sunday” film centers around a Filipino family, features Bay Area city
The film set to release this August stars Filipino-American actor and comedian Jo Koy. The trailer shows the movie’s plot, which includes the issues Koy’s character faces dealing with a dysfunctional Filipino family.
Also in the movie is comedian Tiffany Haddish who plays a police officer from Daly City in the Bay Area. Daly City is known to have one of the larger Filipino communities in the nation.
Daly City’s Filipino population is roughly 34%, according to an email city officials wrote in 2020. That concentration of Filipinos is significantly higher than the national average.
The U.S. population was listed at 328,239,523 people, according to a 2019 U.S. Census Bureau report. Based on that number, the U.S. Filipino population of 4,211,000 in 2019 means that the group makes up approximately 1% of the country’s total population.
“Easter Sunday” is set to release in theaters on Aug. 5.
PBS kids show “Jelly, Ben & Pogo”
Released in 2021, this web series centers around Filipina Jelly, her younger brother Ben, and their sea monster friend Pogo, according to PBS’ website. The show has the main characters make Filipino dessert “Halo-halo” and say Tagalog words such as “sarap” (delicious) and “lola” (grandmother).
Other instances of Filipino culture being shown in mainstream — thanks to Pacquiao
Ahead of his 2015 mega-fight against Floyd Mayweather that broke all kinds of viewership and revenue records, Philippines’ Manny Pacquiao recorded his own song “Lalaban Ako” for his ring walk. That song got the attention of late-night host Jimmy Kimmel who ended up singing the Tagalog song on his nationally-televised show.
Rapper Drake hosted the 2014 ESPYs and did a skit impersonating Pacquiao. Drake poked fun of boxing legned’s accent and singing. In a video posted by his then-promoter Top Rank, Pacquiao was seen laughing and enjoying the Grammy-winning artist’s skit.