Malaki ang pasasalamat ng dalawang miyembro ng BritPinoy group na Juan Direction na sina Daniel Marsh at Brian Wilson na hindi sila nakaranas ng racial discrimination dahil sa kanilang pagiging half-Filipino.
Sa press launch ng grupo para sa kanilang sitcom sa TV5 na One Of The Boys last February 5 sa Mario’s Restaurant sa Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City, ipinagmamalaki nina Daniel at Brian ang kanilang pagiging Pinoy kahit wala ito sa hitsura nila.
DANIEL MARSH. Para sa kanila, nasa puso at isipan nila ang pagiging Filipino at hindi raw nila ikahihiya iyon.
“I might not have the Pinoy skin color but I know what being a Filipino is,” sabi ni Daniel, na ipinanganak at lumaki sa Allenwood, Ireland.
Patuloy niya, “I came from a very small town called Allenwood which is 31 miles from Dublin. The town has a very small population of like a hundred people.
“My mom is from Cebu and my dad is the typical Irish man with really bright red hair.
“But even though I grew up there, I was raised as a Filipino because of my mom.
“Natuto akong magsalita ng Tagalog dahil sa mommy ko and that is one thing that people will not be able to take away from me.
"Pinoy na Pinoy ako, believe it or not."
Hindi naranasan ni Daniel ang ma-discriminate sa kanilang lugar dahil hindi naman daw naiiba ang hitsura niya sa mga tao doon kahit na half-Pinoy siya.
“Our neighborhood in Allenwood is very small and there is not much of a diverse culture there.
“Everyone practically looks like one another and I guess nobody has a clue that I’m half-Asian... half-Pinoy.
“I look like them, I walk and talk like them when I’m out of our house.
"But when I’m at home, doon lumalabas ang pagiging Pinoy ko.
“But I suppose a few neighbors know that I’m part-Asian, but it’s really not a big issue in our town.
“Maybe it’s because we don’t get to see a lot of different people in Allenwood.
"We rarely see Asian people, not unlike in Dublin where there are a lot of Pinoys working right now.
“So I am thankful that I wasn’t able to experience being bullied because of being half-Pinoy.
"If someone try to bully me or make fun of my race, I will defend myself. Makikipagsuntukan talaga ako!” tawa pa niya.
Since 2006 pa tumira sa Pilipinas si Daniel para maging isang male model.
Sa Cebu siya tumira hanggang sa nakilala niya ang mga kapwa-Britpinoys at nabuo nila ang Juan Direction.
Kuwento pa niya, “I’ve been living here in the Philippines for almost seven years now.
“I love it here and I’ve never been in a place where people are always so happy.
"Laging nakangiti at nakatawa ang mga tao kahit saan ka magpunta.
“They get shocked kapag nagsalita ako ng Tagalog. I also know a few words in Bisaya because of my mom.
"They laugh because I sound funny daw when I speak Tagalog or Bisaya.
“I am thankful that I was able to reconnect with my roots here in the Philippines.
"Pinoy ako talaga. Behind the face of this Irish man is a proud Filipino!” pagmamalaki niya.
BRIAN WILSON. Sa Rosario, Cavite naman ipinanganak si Brian Wilson.
Lumipat sila sa Yorkshire, Northern England noong teenager na siya.
Maraming masayang alaala si Brian sa pagtira niya dito sa Pilipinas.
Noong kabataan daw niya sa Cavite ay binansagan siyang “Puti” ng mga kapitbahay niya.
Kuwento niya, “They called me Puti because of my skin color.
“Kasi I was born through a midwife in our house in Cavite.
"Noong lumabas daw ako, sabi ng mid-wife, ‘Ay, ang puti-puti!’ and that stuck when I was growing up.
“Every time I walk down the street or attend school, they call me Puti.
"But it stopped na when I was already a teenager and we eventually left Cavite to live in England.
“But I always take my vacation here in the Philippines when there’s a break from school.
"I still get to see my childhood friends every time I'm here.
“It was in 2009 that I decided to stay and live here.
"I wanted to start my own life in the country where I was born."
Hindi naman daw nahirapang lumaki si Brian bilang half-Filipino sa Yorkshire.
Dahil nga sa Caucasian features niya na namana nito sa kanyang British father, hindi halata ang pagiging Pinoy niya.
“Kapag nagsalita na ako, that’s when you will know that I’m Pinoy. Magaling kasi akong mag-Tagalog!” tawa pa niya.
Dagdag ni Brian, “People in our neighborhood don’t know that I’m part-Asian.
"They just couldn’t see it because I’m white and my features are very British.
“There are hardly any Asians in our town. I never met a fellow Pinoy there. Mostly there are Indians and Pakistanis.
“There are a few people who really discriminate, especially if they see someone of a different color.
“One time when I was walking down the street with my mom, I heard a lot of racial slurs being hurled at my mom.
“Because she has brown skin, they thought she was Pakistani or Indian.
“I wanted to defend her but my mom always stopped me.
"It’s better to not mind them so that there wouldn’t be any trouble.
“My mom is perhaps the bravest woman I’ve known.
"Even though these people make fun of her, she never gets back at them because she wants to protect me and my brother."
Sa school nga raw nila, ang nakakaalam lang na half-Filipino siya ay ang kanyang close friends.
“They couldn’t believe I am a Filipino. They just don’t see it in me.
“And when I was growing up in Yorkshire, not one of my friends knew a lot about the Philippines.
"They just know it as a small country in Asia and that’s it.
“It was only later on when Manny Pacquiao became very famous that they started to do some research on what this country really is.
“Back then, I was always proud of the Philippines even though no one has heard about it.
“Now I am back here and starting my own life.”