Culture shock: Does it matter if you’re brown or white?

Photo via

Photo via

By Maria Grippo/ – I’ve been exposed to many new, shocking and exciting things during my stay in Manila. This city is definitely a place of contradictions and confrontations: the pollution, the socio-economic wealth imbalances, the painstakingly slow traffic jams during peak hours and the manic Manila driving “code of conduct.”

Going beyond the blatantly obvious, one of the main issues I’ve noticed through watching TV is that, like in most other Asian countries, there seems to be a desire to be ‘white.’ Allow me to extrapolate my thoughts.

The Philippine beauty industry is heavily influenced by Western-American culture and as a result the desire to have white skin basically consumes a considerable portion of beauty campaigns here. On the bus route to work I see billboards here, there and everywhere advertising skincare products containing glutathione, papaya soap, multi-vitamins or herbal teas that claim to “whiten and purify the layers of the skin.” Really? My inner cynic thinks otherwise.

I’m led to wonder whether people truly believe that supposedly ‘effective’ fruit and vegetable extracts or other harmful substances can make a naturally darker-skinned person obtain the complexion of an Amerikano? Plastic surgery and skin bleaching can only go so far as to make superficial changes – it’s impossible to alter the DNA that you have and that your potential future children will inherit.


Find more like this: Culture

  • U.N. Rights Council to Investigate Killings in Philippine Drug War
  • Philippines declares national alert after 456 die from dengue fever
  • Trying to save the stories of a Philippine culture, one scan at a time
  • Pinoy archaeologist brings new human species discovery to Australia
  • Philippines a slowly ageing society – PIDS study
  • Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7


  • Nickelodeon releases first look at rebooted classic kids program Blue’s Clues with Filipino-American host Joshua Dela Cruz
  • How Marvel’s first featured Pinoy superhero can save society
  • This play tells the urgent story of a Filipino comfort woman
  • Will ‘Sahaya’ be the first Pinoy series on Netflix?
  • Z-GIRLS, Z-BOYS with Pinoy members to debut in Korea
  • MORE...


  • My story, and the new story of Filipino immigration
  • An appreciation of Moro food can bring Pinoy Muslims and Christians closer, says this Muslim chef
  • Showcase of PH culture, heritage
  • US and Philippines: Friends, Partners, and Allies
  • A Transgender Paradox, and Platform, in the Philippines
  • MORE...


  • Northern Blossom Flower Farm: Atok’s floral carpet
  • Philippines records ‘all-time high’ 7.1M tourist arrivals in 2018
  • Philippines island Boracay reopens for test run following huge cleanup
  • Philippines closes ‘cesspool’ tourist island of Boracay
  • Boracay Set to Ban Tourists for Six Months During Island ‘Rehabilitation’
  • MORE...


  • Filipino speed skater bags spot in 2020 Winter Youth Olympics
  • Pinoy gymnast Carlo Yulo earns historic qualification in worlds
  • Finding a way to bring the NBA to the Philippines
  • First Filipino table tennis Olympian Ian “Yanyan” Lariba dies at 23
  • Skateboarder Margielyn Didal wins 4th gold for Philippines
  • MORE...

    OFW News

  • Filipino maids’ dragon boat team makes splash in Hong Kong
  • DOLE suspends OFW deployment to Kuwait
  • Some OFWs turn to vlogging to beat loneliness, share life abroad
  • Overseas Filipino Bank to serve immigrants, workers
  • The ‘bagong bayani’ of the Philippines
  • MORE...


  • ‘Sordid Chapter’ Ends As Philippines Sends Back Canada’s Trash
  • Southeast Asia became dumping ground for plastic waste – study
  • Boracay Set to Ban Tourists for Six Months During Island ‘Rehabilitation’
  • Boracay: the good, bad and ugly sides to Philippine island for tourists
  • Luzon has greatest concentration of unique mammals
  • MORE...

    Pinoy Places
    and Faces