After years of showcasing and telling warm stories of Filipinos and their culture, Kyle Jennermann, also known as “Kulas,” is now officially a Filipino citizen.
“I HAVE OFFICIALLY BECOME A FILIPINO,” the 34-year-old Canadian and now Filipino vlogger shared the good news on Wednesday, Sept. 13, with photos of him taking his Oath of Allegiance at the House of Representatives.
“Today marks the beginning of the most important part of my life. I am ready for this. I am filled with belief, inspiration, gratefulness, and love,” he wrote. “One day at a time... Kaya pa.”
His oath-taking was administered by Congressman Len Alonte, who was also the principal author of the first House Bill.
“I am grateful to everyone across the country, and both in Congress and Senate, who not only supported me... but inspired so much belief within me,” he said.
In late May, the Senate unanimously affirmed House Bill 7185 which was intended to grant Kulas his Filipino citizenship, and after nearly four months of waiting for the final approval, he finally became a naturalized Filipino.
“The first moment I found out Republic Act 11955 was signed by President Marcos... I was both overjoyed and relieved,” Kulas shared in a quick chat with PhilSTAR L!fe. “It was incredibly emotional, upfliting, and a moment I will never forget.”
He went on to share how overjoyed he was while taking the oath, describing it as “one of the greatest moments” of his life.
“While taking the Oath...I felt like it was one of the greatest moments of my life. Being so immersed the past ten years, having grown as a young adult here in the country with Filipinos... it was an amazing feeling to be able to truly dedicate myself to be a part of the country,” he said.
The naturalization process took two whole years, and while he sees it as a “unique and beautiful journey,” he admitted that he had “so many emotions going through [his] mind everyday,” even preparing in case it doesn't get approved.
Looking back, he couldn’t be more grateful to his family, “unofficial Filipino families” in Cebu and Cagayan de Oro, and most especially Congresswoman Len Alonte.
“She has empowered me this past two years with a lot of belief... that I really could do this... become a Filipino citizen,” he said, also expressing appreciation to designer Francis Libiran who created his barong during the oath.
“It was also a really 'ayus' feeling wearing a bamboo barong designed by Francis Libiran in collaboration with the DOST PTRI, the first of its kind in the Philippines! Starting out my first moments as a Filipino, couldn't be prouder to be wearing and supporting local!” he said.
In his previous interview with PhilSTAR L!fe, Kulas revealed that his immense love for the Philippines blossomed from the first time he visited the country in 2013 out of curiosity and after being convinced by his Filipino colleagues.
His official turning point was the disastrous Typhoon Yolanda, which made him choose to leave his previous job as an outdoor teacher in Hong Kong to help affected families in the Philippines.
“I was in Hong Kong working, and one of our friends who I worked with was from Tacloban. So, it hit me really hard because I’m becoming quite inspired by the country that year,” he told L!fe.
“I ended up leaving my job at that time, and I went to Cagayan de Oro to meet some of my friends from the outdoor community and then I went to Tacloban and ended up staying a month there,” he continued.
He then became a full-time content creator on his YouTube channel dubbed "BecomingFilipino"—a platform where Kulas has been showcasing the wonder of the country’s nature and people in his travels across the country. At that time, he said, becoming a Filipino citizen had not yet crossed his mind.
“It wasn’t me trying to become a Filipino, like the goal was never to get citizenship, or something like that—it was having so many beautiful experiences, inspiring experiences that become a part of my life from Filipinos,” he explained.
It was Congressman Len Alonte who opened the idea of him getting citizenship. Kulas recalled how he hesitated at first, but upon reflecting on his stay in the country for over a decade, he decided to give it a go.
“I spent basically my entire young adult life here, immersed with Filipinos, growing as a human. The Philippines has become who I am, so I said ‘Okay, maybe I could get a little bit comfortable with this, maybe this is something I feel comfortable pursuing.’”
What made him love the Philippines? Kulas says it’s the Filipinos’ ability to be happy despite life’s adversities.
“The innate ability of Filipinos to find ways to be happy and share it, I think it’s incredibly powerful and something that the rest of the world can really learn from,” he said. “That’s the major kicker that got me my life here.”
Now that he is now a truly Pinoy, what's next for Kulas?
“Allow this to settle in, reflect on everything I have been through, and look forward to what is to come. Which is the most important part of my life—my days as a Filipino citizen,” he said.
“The past ten years, exploring every Province, driving a scooter 120,000 kilometers from north to south, immersing, learning, growing as a person here. That was just the beginning— this is the most important chapter of my life. And I believe it will be positive in many ways,” he continued.
“I look forward to working together with Filipinos, now as a Filipino, one day at a time. Don't be surprised though, if you see me back on a scooter in the near future, adventuring around the country sharing happiness, adventure, and inspiration. Still the same Kulas. Just even more motivated and grateful,” he concluded.