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MANILA – It seems that he already tried it all. He climbed a coconut tree. He grated fresh coconut, drank sikwati, attended fiestas, tried the pedicab, jeepney and even sold balot in the streets.
But for Canadian Kyle Jennermann, he knows there's still more to experience before really becoming a Filipino.
Yes, that's his aim.
"A lot of people send this message to me 'Oh, you want to become Filipino? Just marry a Filipina'. For me love is love. If it happens, it happens. Don't get me wrong. I met so many beautiful, amazing, nice Filipinas but I'm just in love with their culture, these people, right now," he said.
Achieving this goal is no longer that difficult for this 26-year-old Canadian as he happily embraced Filipino culture.
In fact, he uses 'Kulas' as his local name. He lived in Cagayan de Oro for five months and now continues to explore what Mindanao has to offer. He also knows how to speak Bisaya.
"Ako si pangalan si Kyle pero Filipino pangalan Kulas. I could say 'Unya adto nako sa balay kaon mga udto pero kagabii inum gamay," he said.
Jennermann was a former outdoor consultant for an outdoor adventure company in Hong Kong. He visited the Philippines last year and came back to Cagayan de Oro. He also participated in the mission to help survivors of super typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban. It was that experience that further made him admire the resiliency of Filipinos.
"You know what? It's the ability to share happiness, to share positive things regardless of your status in life. Just the ability to still be resilient and share positive things with others," he said.
Now, Jennermann is spreading this happiness to other people as he encouraged them to see for themselves why it's more fun in the Philippines.
"I love Canada. I've been to 30 countries. I love all these countries I've been to. They're beautiful, they're amazing but here, it's the culture. I just said how people, they worked so hard sometimes, but they take moments to enjoy their lives. How people have so little are still giving," he said.
To further speed up his goal of becoming Filipino, Jennermann tapped social media and launched #BecomingFilipino on Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter and encouraged Filipinos to send ideas like what to eat and where to go that would really make him Filipino.
On his YouTube account, Jennermann said:
"I love the Philippines. I look up to, and am inspired by Filipino culture."
"But! I am not Filipino. If you are Filipino I need your HELP! I need your help in creating a cultural list. A list full of experiences, places, history, food, drink... Filipino things! What makes you Filipino!? What will help make me part Filipino!? Where should I go!? What should I do!?
A 100% Filipino made list that will help me in #BecomingFilipino."
-- report from Angielyn Siwagan, ABS-CBN News