With such a fast-paced world, who wouldn’t want to take a break and escape it all? Folks in the city are especially surrounded with noise, activity and perpetual change. A quiet, provincial life is what a lot of people long for, but it’s not easy to drop everything and change lifestyles.
Luckily, there are a lot of ways to satisfy that longing, and immersing yourself in a video is one.
Meet Kusinela, a content creator who shows the simplicity and beauty of a provincial life through her vlogs.
Beauty of simplicity
Kusinela is the online persona of Angela Joy Lulu from Arayat, Pampanga. “Kusinela became my name for my vlog because it came from ‘Kusina ni Angela’ so Kusinela,” Lulu said in Tagalog.
Lulu used to be an OFW in Dubai, where she worked as an admin for a jewelry company. She already started vlogging while she was in Dubai, but her content was more on cooking Filipino food in her kitchen.
In early 2021, Lulu decided to come home to the Philippines and live with her family in Arayat. Her family rents a one hectare land for farming where they’ve planted tomatoes, green peppers, okra, sitaw, and eggplants.Although the farm has a caretaker, Lulu helps by watering and harvesting crops. (Angela Joy Lulu)
The family typically sold their harvests to traders, however Lulu found a new and creative use for the farm. She got her camera and started filming.
“I was just shooting [videos] to show what life in the farm was like, the life in the province,” Lulu said. “[The video] was really simple. It wasn’t something I prepared for. The things that we typically do is what I show in the vlogs.”
In the beginning, Lulu’s YouTube channel and Facebook page wasn’t as big as it was now. She only had around 5000 YouTube subscribers and 3000 Facebook followers. But once she uploaded her farm videos, her platforms exploded.
“That’s when my channel, and especially my Facebook [page], boomed,” she said. “There were a lot of people who wanted to see farm life, provincial life.”
Lulu’s videos show her and her family harvesting vegetables from their farm and using them as ingredients for what she wanted to cook that day. She shows how her family bonds as they eat together and how they relax in different parts of the farm after. She also includes shots of the beautiful Mt. Arayat in her videos, adding more to the charm of being surrounded with nature.
Lulu harvesting okra with a gorgeous shot of Mt. Arayat. (Angela Joy Lulu)
“I really didn’t expect the [positive response]. Sometimes we get embarrassed because the videos are really simple and some of our [things] are broken and imperfect. You wouldn’t expect people to [like it],” Lulu said. “But it really inspires me to cook more because there are a lot of people who appreciate simple things like that.”
A crowd of longing and reminiscing
It isn’t hard for Lulu to think of her next video content since her audience actively gives suggestions on what they want to see or want her to cook on the farm.Lulu harvests vegetables from their farm and uses them as ingredients for the food she will cook that day. (Angela Joy Lulu)
“A lot of my audience is from other countries,” Lulu said. “Maybe they’re OFWs, too.”
Lulu said she gets a lot of messages saying how delicious the food she cooks looks, and how they miss their own life in the province and want to go back.
With over 1 million followers on Facebook and 55,000 YouTube subscribers, Lulu sometimes feels overwhelmed. “Here, everything is still simple. What I usually do doesn’t change,” she said. “But sometimes, it does get overwhelming. Especially when I read comments or messages from followers saying that I inspire them. That’s when I realize ‘Oh, I have a lot of followers.’”
Lulu’s family wasn’t receptive to her vlogging at first, but once they saw how it grew online they’ve grown to love the videos, too. “Especially my grandmother. When there are days that I get too busy and can’t go to the farm to vlog, she would ask me, ‘Why aren’t we going to the farm? When are we going to vlog?’” she said with a laugh.Lulu and her family often go to the farm and bond over the food she cooks that includes crops they harvested. (Angela Joy Lulu)
Vlogging has also provided a stable income for Lulu. Aside from monetization from her videos, several brands reach out to her hoping that she could endorse their products in their videos. The income from vlogging allowed her to set up a side business as a financier for farmers in her area.
She was also able to invest in land where she had a bahay-kubo built. “My plan for that is that’s where I can improve my vlogs even more,” she said. “I also plan to hire people to edit and manage my social media. For now, I can handle it but I know that once the [platforms] get bigger, I’m going to need help.”
“Kusinela is [my way] to share how beautiful, how simple our life is,” she said. “I think a lot of people are used to seeing nice things. A nice pan, a nice casserole, a nice ladle. And then they would see a different side and see how simple cooking is here in the province.”Lulu’s vlogs show how they cook using simple tools and cooking equipment at the farm. (Angela Joy Lulu)
“It’s like bringing them back or making them reminisce about their life in the province. Because there are a lot of provincial folk who moved to cities or overseas.”
It’s evident that Lulu truly enjoys the simple life she has in her farm and she knows that her audience appreciate the way she shows it.
Photos courtesy of Kusinela