Canadian blogger defends Mindanao from ‘negative stereotyping’

Inquirer Libre - Davao - - PANGUNAHING PAHINA - By Yuji Vincent Gonzales Inquirer.net

AMID various travel advisories being issued by foreign governments to their citizens travelling to or staying in the Philippines, a Canadian blogger took to social media and received admiration from Filipino netizens as he defended Mindanao from what he called “negative stereotyping.”

In a Facebook post, blogger Kyle Jennermann called Mindanao his “home” and said he was hurt when his own parents based in Canada could not visit him in the Philippines due to a travel advisory.

Jennermann was referring to the advisory released by the Canadian government, which read: “Avoid all travel. There is an extreme risk to your personal safety and security. You should not travel to this country, territory or region. If you are already in the country, territory or region, you should consider leaving if it is safe to do so.”

Canada and other foreign governments earlier warned its citizens to exercise a high degree of caution when travelling to Mindanao and some parts of the Visayas due to a “serious risk of terrorist attacks and kidnappings” in the region.

“You know, I get it. When bad things happen in Mindanao, that is the ONLY TIME the world ever gets to hear about the place. But imagine… 24 Million People, 27 Provinces, the 2nd Largest Island in the country… all under the same banner of intense negativity. Do you know why my parents told me they couldn’t come visit me?! Because their travel insurance would be invalid due to the extreme advisory,” the blogger wrote.

Jennermann, who has lived in the Philippines for three and a half years now, called for a “positive” and “realistic” education to change outsiders’ perception of Mindanao.

“So what can we do!? Well, we can share realistic talk and education about the word ‘Mindanao’ and what it really is. I think that is something that has always been missing from National Media here in the Philippines. I believe that the first step is changing perception here in the Philippines,” he said.

“Because from personal experience that word has a lot of negative stereotyping and generalizing attached to it here locally and spread by local people. If we can all start spreading positive education about this part of the Philippines, I believe it can help fight back at these incredibly difficult advisories,” Jennermann added.

As of writing, Jennermann’s post has garnered more than 22,000 likes, 7,700 shares, and 1,300 comments.

‘MINDANAO is my home,’ says Kyle Jennermann on his Facebook page.

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