People & Inspiration

In Focus: An Exclusive Chat With Hugot Genius Design Pirate PH

In Focus: An Exclusive Chat With Hugot Genius Design Pirate PH

Log on to any of your social networking sites and you’ll likely spot a hugot or two you can relate to.

Hugot can be translated as pulling out something. But these days, hugot are often viewed in a more figurative than literal sense. In an interview with The Guidon, Paolo Apagalang of Sindikato Incorporated elaborates on its usage in the Philippines. “We have a lot of positive and negative feelings, drama and anger. We pull it out. Literally, it’s to pull out. Figuratively, it’s to have emotions pulled out of you,” he claims.

Design Pirate PH seems to understand these #feels well. Since 2016, the online page has been uploading hugot that resonate with Filipino netizens everywhere… even if they have no idea who exactly uploads them. 

Today we reveal his identity and understand what goes into crafting his well-known hugots. Read on for our exclusive chat with Em Martin a.k.a Design Pirate.

“I was curious about the creative process in putting up lines that cause a lot of interaction. From the Facebook pages I came across, which I consider as influences, I planned to create my own,” he says.   

[related: Daily Diaries: #FeelsPaMore With The Newest Hugot Craze—The "Nagmahal, Nasaktan" Memes]

What he didn’t want was to rip off of other hugot pages like that of his friend and ex-colleague, Travel Thoughts PH. It took about three weeks after Travel Thoughts PH launched to come up with a niche different than his.

To date, Design Pirate PH boasts over 500,000 followers on social media.  But offline, especially to his friends, he describes himself as more the quiet type.  “Ako yung tipo na tahimik lang pero hinuhusgahan na kita sa isip ko pero sakin  lang yon syempre, observer ganon,” he says.  The overnight popularity that Design Pirate PH brought also took him by surprise.  “Masarap sya sa feeling kahit di ako kilala ng mga tao as admin ng page, narerecognize nila yung humor ko, kahit minsan waley! Natutuyuan din ako ng utak minsan lalo pag busy sa work.”

His process of creating and uploading hugots isn’t strictly formulaic, and requires thinking. According to him, “It starts with what emotion you wish to deliver, what situation you can actually feel it, finding the right words, and finding a suitable [or free for personal and commercial use] image as your background.” 

Also, his approach to hugots is more sarcastic than personal—even if some are actually drawn from personal experience. Other hugots come from what his coworkers say or by the people who visit Design Pirate. 

[related: The Six Fix: Ber Months Hugot And Your Playlist For The Cold, Feels Season]

Design Pirate PH is an open platform—one in which he gladly and genuinely plays as a companion.  “...Pag nagmessage ka, usap tayo.  You can cry your heart out over anything,” insists.  “I’m always there to listen, advise and maging friend kahit nonsense na ang usapan."

To him, being a friend is not so much giving unwanted advice; he likes to think of it as lending a listening ear.  “Sa pag-aadvise… karamihan kasi I feel na hindi nila need ng advice sa situation nila kasi I'm sure alam nila kung anong dapat gawin. What they need is someone na makakausap at makikinig sa kanila and that is my role to them. Since hindi naman nila ako kilala, mas madali silang nakakapag-open,” he says. 

Likewise, its nice for him knowing that no one is alone when going through a certain problem or hugot. The comments left by netizens attest to this. “Sa comment section makikita mo yung mga taong may same sentiments as you. Masaya ang feeling na marami kayo,” he remarks.

This goes especially for his most popular hugot to date: "My kape is strong but my antok is stronger. And I can't fight this feeling anymore". He thinks that the timing (which was in the afternoon when he was sleepy) and message really resonated with his audience.  


His message for his half a millon social media followers and Pinoy millenials?  “Maraming nagagawa ang feelings.  Use them in a right, fun, and creative way pero wag para makasakit ng damdamin ng iba!,” he laughs.  


Design Pirate PH’s seven favorite hugots:









And because we couldn’t end this article without them, here are exclusive hugots he created just for ABS-CBN Lifestyle! 


To you who's waiting for your lady love to be ready...


To you who's afraid to free fall into love...


A girl who got dumped because her ex-boyfriend can't picture her in his future... 


Someone struggling to move on from a love despite the fact that she was actually the third party...


For pa-hopia guys and girls... 


ALSO READ: In Focus: Hugot Time With Travel Thoughts PH


Photographs from / Artwork by Jana Jimenez





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