Cacao Project founder speaks: ‘We are not content to be exploited’

Published August 5, 2021, 6:31 PM

by Stephanie Bernardino

Louise Emmanuelle De Guzman Mabulo, the founder of The Cacao Project, recently opened up on controversial Palestinean-Israeli video blogger Nas Daily.

In a lengthy social media post, Louise noted how she kept her silence for two years.

However, in the light of recent news involving Nas Daily and the 104-year-old Kalinga tattoo master Whang-od, she feels it’s time she tells her side of the story.

According to her, Nas visited her town to cover her story on The Cacao Project.

“At the time, I was a huge fan, watching his clips with my dad daily. At the time, I was gaining some press exposure and building up on opportunities thanks to UNEP’s recognition of the work I do in my hometown for my farmers,” she said. 

Recall that for her efforts, Louise was named Young Champion of the Earth for 2019 by the United Nations Environment Programme.

She was also featured at Forbes Asia’s “30 Under 30” in the Social Entrepreneurs category.

Anyway, Louise shared the man she’d looked up to for years was not the bearer of good news as he’d misled his followers to believe.

“I watched him imitate and mock the local accent and language, vocalising Tagalog-sounding syllabic phrases saying it sounded stupid. He repeatedly said that the people of my hometown were ‘poor,’ ‘farmers are so poor!’ ‘why are Filipinos so poor?’,” she recalled. 

“He said no one wants to hear about farmers or farms, it’s not clickable, viewable content. He didn’t care about making change or shedding light on real issues— he only wanted content, a good, easy story to tell that would get him more Filipino views,” she added. “He even joked at the start of the day that all he needed was to put “Philippines” in the title, and he’d rack in millions of views and the comments would come flooding with brainless ‘Pinoy pride’ comments.”

Louise then declared that she should have known better.

He deemed Nas “exploitative” and “fueling a neocolonialist narrative using our need for foreign validation.”

In the latter part, Louise thinks that Filipinos should stand together on the matter.

“We are not content to be exploited. We are not culture to be capitalised. We are not people to be romanticized. Or poverty to set the scene for “Benevolent Saviors.” We are more than what the world thinks of us.”

She related that people like Nas represents the “new wave of colonialism.”

“And now I speak up to amend my silence and put this resolve into action. Let’s support our kababayans and rid ourselves of neocolonialism or colonial mentality. Nas chases Filipinos for content because he knows his validation of our country gives him fame. We dictate the tide. We dictate the trend and virality,” she said. “Let’s put our own forward instead, Filipinos have the ability to make our country great if we set aside our differences, refuse exploitation like this, and work in the interest of the Philippines and the Filipino.
Thank you Shai for shedding light on this.”