Syrian vlogger Basel Manadil shares journey to becoming Filipino citizen

by Bernie V. Franco
Jun 21, 2021
Basel Manadil, a natural-bon Syrian, is granted Filipino citizenship in 2019, his wish since falling in love with the “most beautiful country and most beautiful people in the world." Known as The Hungry Syrian Wanderer to his 4.3 million subscribers on YouTube, he is simply Basil to the countless beneficiaries of his charity.
PHOTO/S: YouTube (The Hungry Syrian Wanderer)

Proud na ibinalita ng Syrian national na si Basel Manadil na isa na siyang ganap na Pilipino pagkatapos ng walong taong paninirahan sa Pilipinas.

Kilala rin siyang social media influencer dito sa Pilipinas dahil sa kanyang YouTube channel na The Hungry Syrian Wanderer.

Kahit wala siyang dugong Pilipino, nahulog ang loob ni Basel sa Pilipinas, kaya naman ginusto niyang maging Filipino citizen.

Na-grant siya ng citizenship noon pang 2019, pero inanunsiyo niya ito noon lamang June 12, 2021, Araw ng Kalayaan.

Halatang itinaon niya sa Araw ng Kalayaan ang kanyang announcement at nais maging unforgettable experience ang kanyang pag-anunsiyo na isa na siyang ganap na Pinoy.

Nakasuot pa ng barong ang Syrian national sa kanyang video. Marunong na rin siyang mag-Tagalog.

Sa ngayon, mayroon siyang higit sa 4.3 million subscribers at may kabuuang 333,443,820 views at this writing.

Sinimulan ni Basel ang kanyang YouTube channel noong December 2016.

SYRIAN NOW A FILIPINO

Sa kanyang June 12 video, ang bungad ni Basel ay ang balitang hawak na niya ang kanyang Philippine passport.

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Ipinakita rin niya ang video noong una siyang magtungo sa Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) noong 2019.

Pero hindi niya tinukoy kung ano ang pakay niya sa government agency. Yun pala, inaasikaso na niya ang kanyang citizenship.

Nagpalipas daw siya ng dalawang taon bago niya ito sinabi dahil gusto niya itong namnamin.

Sabi ng 27-year-old YouTuber: “This is the first time I ever talk about it.

“So, the only reason why I did not share about this with everybody, not yet, until this moment, it’s because when I had this in almost 2019, or more than 2 years ago, I wanted to have that moment for myself.

“I am considered Filipino.”

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Pero bakit nga ba ang napili niyang pangalan ay The Hungry Syrian Wanderer?

“I was always hungry, and I like food.

“I love to eat and I love showing Filipino food because it was something new to me.

“So, that’s how I became a wanderer.

“So, I just added ‘The,’ that’s why it became The Hungry Syrian Wanderer, because I wander, I eat, and I travel.”

Sa simula bilang YouTuber, ang content ni Basel ay ang paglilibot sa ibat-ibang pasyalan sa Pilipinas at ipinapakita ang mayamang kultura.

“But in the long run, I found out what’s the real meaning of The Hungry Syrian Wanderer: wander more, help more people, and explore more things about the Philippines.

“It only means I will never get full of the Philippines. Something new to discover about the country.”

HOW IT ALL STARTED

Ibinahagi ni Basel kung paano siya napadpad sa Pilipinas.

Siya ay mula sa isang may-kayang pamilya sa Syria. Pero dahil sa giyera roon, inudyok siya ng kanyang pamilya na pumunta ng Pilipinas at dito mag-aral.

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“I came from a well-off family. I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, if that’s the term.

“The war started in Syria, so my family wanted to send me in the Philippines to study here.”

Noong simulan daw niya ang paggawa ng videos noong 2016, gusto lang niyang idokumento ang kanyang buhay.

Hindi raw niya akalain na ang paggawa ng YouTube channel ay papatok.

“First video, 2016, I guess, I started filming.

“Well, it’s not like vlogging. I was just trying to film my surroundings, to capture the beauty of the places that I’m going to...

"Because I sent it back to my friends and family back in Syria to show them how beautiful the Philippines is.

“So, I started travelling around the Philippines.”

Kitang-kita sa videos ni Basel kung gaano siya ka-proud sa Pilipinas.

Kung may mga balita at ibang videos na kahirapan ang ibinabandera tungkol sa Pilipinas dahil sa pagiging Third World country, kabaliktaran ang kay Basel.

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Ang kagandahan ng Pilipinas ang kanyang focus, mapa-beach man ito, mga sikat na pasyalan, pagiging masayahin ng Pilipino, ang pati na rin ang magandang siyudad.

Madalas nga niyang bungad sa kanyang videos tungkol sa Pinas: “Most beautiful country and most beautiful people in the world."

Aniya pa sa isa pang video: “So, for those of you who think Philippines is a poor country, and it’s all about slums, and we are a Third World country, booo!”

Sa lahat ng ito, sariling sikap daw ang ginawa ni Basel.

“I just do it, guys. It’s not sponsored by the Department of Tourism, or by anybody.

“I was just doing it out of my desire.

“I wanted to show people how beautiful the Philippines is, and the places I go to, I travel to.”

“So, sarili pera ‘yon. I stayed sa mura hotel. I didn’t choose expensive hotels.

“And then, of course, I enjoyed the process. I’m just travelling, going to beautiful places in the Philippines and slowly, slowly, slowly, I’m loving it more, and more, and more.

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“I was fortunate enough that I was discovered in YouTube.

“People, they started liking my videos, loving my videos, supporting me, and supporting my journey.”

GIVING BACK

Dahil sa mainit na pagtanggap sa kanya at kanyang videos, naisipan ni Basel na tumulong nang magsimulang mag-monetize ng kanyang YouTube channel.

Bago raw kasi siya pumatok bilang YouTuber, may mga pinagdaanan daw muna siyang hirap.

Nang magtapos daw siya sa college, hindi siya makakuha ng trabaho.

Nagkaroon siya ng oportunidad na magpunta sa Europe para magtrabaho at makasama ang pamilya roon.

Pero mas piniling manatili sa Pilipinas ni Basel.

“After graduation, I try to apply job in many companies, and I got denied.

“When I was offered to go to Europe, I was thinking deep: the luxury life, instant money, instant happiness, and instant job, which is Europe.

“Or Philippines… simple life, no expected money, no expected job, and just living day by day.

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“I choose the Philippines: puro travel, and mingling with the locals of every place I go to.

“This is what I choose.”

Wala raw sa kanyang plano ang maging vlogger, pero dito siya dinala ng kapalaran.

“So, in short, guys, I have choice to go to Europe because my family now, they are in France.

“And like what I told you, my brother is a doctor. They are having a very, very good life.

“So, I started documenting my life, not planning to be a vlogger, not planning to be a YouTuber.

“God gave me this path. Everything in my life changed.”

Naalala pa nga raw niya nang mag-hit ng 250,000 ang kanyang followers at nagsimulang mag-monetize ang kanyang YouTube Channel.

Ang una raw niyang ginawa ay tumulong sa kapwa.

“So, there was this one time when I reached my first 250,000 subscribers, I chose to do something different.

“So, this is the time I told myself the income that I am making—I’m enjoying myself, travelling, going to places, and promoting the Philippine—we used it to help other people.”

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Punung-puno ng videos si Basel ng kanyang charity works para makatulong sa mga nangangailangan, gaya ng pagbibigay ng pagkain, relief goods, financial assistance, at iba pang tulong sa mga nangangailangan.

Ang tinutulungan niya ay mga nasalanta ng natural calamities, mga street kids, mga naghihikahos sa buhay pero masipag magtrabaho.

Ani Basel, nagsimula ang kanyang charity works noong 2019. Ang taon din nang maging Pilipino na siya.

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Pero hindi raw dito tumitigil ang kanyang pagtulong. Balak daw niya itong ituluy-tuloy.

“This was way back 2019. So, I just felt, like instead of me focusing too much on travelling to different areas, different places, I want to help as many people as I can.

“I can’t help everybody, but help random people that you meet.”

Sa June 12 video raw niya, pumili lang siya ng ilang highlights sa eight years na paninirahan niya sa bansa.

Dahil sa sobrang dami raw ng videos niya, siguradong aabutin siya ng siyam-siyam.

Pero ang tiniyak ng The Hungry Syrian Wanderer, hindi rito nagtatapos ang kanyang pagtulong sa kapwa niya Pilipino.

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Basel Manadil, a natural-bon Syrian, is granted Filipino citizenship in 2019, his wish since falling in love with the “most beautiful country and most beautiful people in the world." Known as The Hungry Syrian Wanderer to his 4.3 million subscribers on YouTube, he is simply Basil to the countless beneficiaries of his charity.
PHOTO/S: YouTube (The Hungry Syrian Wanderer)
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