TikTok has given birth to many a fad—from viral dance challenges, outrageous home makeovers, and oddly satisfying videos. Today, the Museo de Filipino trend is making waves on TikTok, where it has over 12 million views altogether and counting.
With the country’s current political climate, adding the lingering effects of the pandemic, Museo de Filipino has resonated a lot with the “woke” generation, who are outspoken and known to openly defend their beliefs.
The 40-second or less #MuseodeFilipino videos are made in POV (point of view) style, where the viewer is in a museum for a school field trip. The viewer then stumbles upon an image of a TikTok user who is dressed in a character they portray—like a hero (famous and the forgotten ones), characters from El Filibusterismo, people who have died of injustices, etc.
When the music starts (Bata, Dahan-dahan by funk-rock band IV of Spades), the character comes to life and lip-syncs to the song while facts about the character are flashed on the screen, which meant to inform and spread awareness.
Museo de Filipino also has other “rooms” that TikTok users created with the same format but tackle issues like victim blaming, the controversial political prisoner Reina Mae Nasino during the burial of her three-month-old daughter River, and victims of extra-judicial killings.
The trend has so far become a platform for Gen Zs to unite and voice out their ideas and share their knowledge about history and current situations to the public.
The TikTok group called POV Makers started the trend and began uploading their videos on Oct. 16. Its members Jack Burgos came up with the concept, MJ Lanoza created the hashtag, and 16-year-old Steven Fernandez thought of using the IV of Spades 2018 hit, which the last said perfectly fits the concept.
A computer science student, Fernandez shared to PhilSTAR L!fe the beginnings of the trend. He said that the group decided to create a content that can be creative and informative at the same time—to help out with the challenges of students today into blended learning (online classes and modules). Initially, he added, the group focused on tackling Philippine heroes like Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio and Gregorio del Pilar.
Fernandez said he chose the characters he portrayed, so viewers will be able to know better about the country’s heroes. As an example, he cited Private First Class Dhan Ryan Bayot—whose heroic act of telling his commander “Just bomb my location, sir!” to help defeat the Maute terrorists in Marawi in 2017 made waves on social media and touched the hearts of many.
Hi. I'm that girl from tiktok who joined the Museo de Filipino thread. So if u found me, here's my twitter and I hope I gain tiktok friends ? pic.twitter.com/pyBYD48a6w— ??♀️ (@ddnshgrl) October 18, 2020
Fernandez also inspired other creators to join the trend, like 24-year-old architecture graduate Danica Aragon (@dandelayons), who portrayed the late senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
“Growing up, MDS was my inspiration. Her fierceness in court, her passion and dedication to her beliefs made me realize that we Filipinos need a politician like her,” said Aragon, who believes that Museo de Filipino is important to remind Filipinos about the sacrifices of the people who paved the way for the Filipinos’ freedom today.
“It will also help up look and observe our present situation, the injustices around us and what can inspire us to fight for our future as a people and the future of our country,” she shared.
i'm living for the "museo de filipino challenge" on tiktok!— juju (@julliennesin_) October 19, 2020
one of my fave: pic.twitter.com/zmA7XhdMTW
A POV Makers member, 18-year-old home economics student Angel Lynne De Vera (@_angellynnedevera) decided to portray powerful women like Gabriela Silang and Olympic gold medalist Hidylin Diaz to spread the word about women’s rights. “The women in our group also find this trend as an advantage to show others that women can also fight for our country. There are different ways that we can fight, and all it takes is the courage to do so.”
Stop victim blaming..— PNTMs ✪ (@PNTMss) October 19, 2020
I am in awe with this trend in tiktok. Napaka educational.
Museo de Filipinopic.twitter.com/Wi3g5sQyOv
Women empowerment was also Elle Palma’s (@mariellejune_) theme for her Museo de Filipino videos. The 20-year-old psychology student portrayed the late actress Pepsi Paloma and murder/rape victim Christine Silawan of Cebu.
Her videos take a dark turn, but it was all because she wanted to help enlighten people on the plight of women today. “(With these videos) I stand up for millions of women who chose to be silent about their traumas,” Palma said.
In a world drowned by misinformation while in the midst of a pandemic, Museo de Filipino allows a free discussion among the youth about fighting history revisionism and standing up for what they believe is right in a creative and engaging manner.
“History must be protected from revisionism because history is not like any other fictional story,” De Vera said. “We must maintain and preserve the transparent nature of presenting the country’s history for the future generations.”
“Museo de Filipino has become relevant today because fake news, revisionism and fake facts from our history have run rampant and unchecked,” Fernandez says. “(The popularity of the trend) goes to show that Filipinos are ready to protect and share the true history of our country.”