Being a cultural and ethnic minority in a foreign country has its own set of challenges. But, for Jodinand Aguillon, Executive Director of Pineapple Lab and Creative Director of Fringe Manila, this presented a unique opportunity to shape positive impressions that another culture develops of his Filipino ethnicity. “Pride is being able to stand in your own skin against whatever obstacles coming your way,” he says.
A diasporic Filipino who grew up in Canada, Jodinand is no stranger to being different, flourishing in an environment that should have been intimidating to others. This, he credits to his upbringing. “My mom is the strongest and longest-standing role model that I have,” exclaims Jodinand, “I'm proud of the way my parents raised me.”
His joyful, exuberant approach to life has brought him much success in forging meaningful personal relationships with the people he encounters. “I'm continually inspired by the people around me and the environment that I place myself in,” says Jodinand, “I have maintained friendships, bonds and bridges growing up in Canada, and I brought them back here to the Philippines.”
These friendships were instrumental to assimilating himself into the artistic landscape of the Philippines through his two endeavours: Pineapple Lab and Fringe Manila. He also co-founded Hataw, a performance arts group that seamlessly blends diverse dance styles and performance art to interpret traditional Filipino folk culture from a Canadian-Filipino perspective. “There is so much to be proud of about our country: culture, folk art and the contemporary arts that are coming out of it, our traditions,” says Jodinand, “The Filipino fighting spirit is definitely something to be proud of. That our generation is working with the indigenous groups to keep our traditions alive and relevant is a point of pride for me.”
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Coming into terms with who and what he is has been a wonderful, colorful journey and Jodinand espouses rejoicing in one’s uniqueness. “The essence of pride is being true to who you are,” relates Jodinand, “Celebrate who you are and revel in your difference.”
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Produced by Angela Sy, Mels Timan, & Barry Viloria | Cinematography by Jana Jimenez & Gio Vibar | Grooming by Julia Arenas & Jeffrey Caballro of Vivere Salon | Hair by Sam Corbillon of Triple Luck Brow & Nail Salon & Shella Casiano of Vivere Salon | Styling by Barry Viloria | Special thanks to Ogie Rodriguez, Arvin Amaron of Vivere Salon, Guess, Straightforward PH