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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Alice Guo and References to Filipino Pop Culture

Alice Leal Guo is a name that suddenly emerged in public discourse in a manner that lightning flashes on the sky during a hot summer day. Guo is the businesswoman who was elected in 2022 as municipal mayor of the town of Bamban in Tarlac province.

Following a number of raids conducted by government forces in the town, a Philippine Senate Committee investigation linked Guo to illegal activities by Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).

In the probe, Guo's Filipino citizenship has been put in the spotlight and is now being scrutinized due to inconsistencies in her testimony and documents.

When it comes to popular culture, the ensuing controversy jogged the collective memory of many Filipinos. 

                                                    Video Credit: YouTube / Rappler

For this post, emphasis will be given to two movies and two television programs from the last five decades promptly. One of those programs focus on a song.


During a testimony, Guo failed to recall details of her birth and early life. She said "Your Honor, hindi ko na po maalala (Your Honor, I cannot remember anymore).”

As a consequence, netizens subjected her to online ridicule. In a viral meme, for instance, she is dubbed "My Amnesia Girl."

The meme refers to My Amnesia Girl, a 2010 romantic comedy movie starring Toni Gonzaga and John Lloyd Cruz.

Gonzaga plays the role of Irene, a woman who supposedly developed amnesia after her separation from her boyfriend Apollo.

In this photo captured from the page of Facebook user Ben Ritche Layos, the image of Guo is superimposed with Gonzaga's. Is the lead actress now supposed to be called Toni Guonzaga? 🤣🤣🤣


Netizens took note of Guo's resemblance to Shancai, a character portrayed by Barbie Hsu in the Taiwanese drama Meteor Garden.

DVD Cover

Although the Tagalog-dubbed version of the said drama aired on 2003, Filipino audiences still remember the entanglement of the feisty girl with two of the F4 boys.

Shan Cai was staple of the showbiz segment of news programs. More than two decades later, the issues around Alice Guo are news headliners.


"Sino ang Pilipino?" is a song featured in the educational TV program Batibot. The song's lyrics implies that Filipinos might have diverse physical features.

Those differences involve skin color, hair type and eye shape. The song concludes with the idea that having Filipino parents makes one a Filipino.




Sino ang Pilipino? Ikaw ba o ako?

Ikaw ay maputi, ako'y kayumanggi

Sino ang Pilipino?


Sino ang Pilipino? Ikaw ba o ako?

Itim ang buhok ko, kulay kalawang ang sa 'yo

Sino ang Pilipino?


Sino kaya? Sino kaya? Sino ang Pilipino? (2x)


Sino ang Pilipino? Ikaw ba o ako?

Singkit ang mata ko, bilog ang mata mo

Sino ang Pilipino?


Sino ang Pilipino? Ikaw ba o ako?

Bakit magkaiba, ang ating mga anyo

Sino ang Pilipino?


Tayo ay Pilipino, ito ay alam natin

Kung Nanay o Tatay, ay Pilipino rin (2x)

Tayo ay Pilipino, pare-parehong Pilipino!



Who is the Filipino? Is it you or me?

You are white, I am brown

Who is the Filipino?


Who is the Filipino? Is it you or me

I have black hair, yours is rust-colored

Who is the Filipino?


I wonder who? I wonder who? Who is the Filipino? (2x)

Who is the Filipino? Is it you or me?

My eyes narrowed, your eyes are round

Who is the Filipino?


Who is the Filipino? Is it you or me?

Why are our appearances different?

Who is Filipino?


We are Filipinos, this is what we know

If Mom or Dad is Filipino too

We are Filipinos, all Filipinos!


The family background of Guo has become a topic of intense dispute. According to Guo, she was born to a Chinese-Filipino father and a Filipino mother.

However, inconsistencies concerning her father's nationality were exposed. His birth certificate identifies him as a Filipino named Angelito Guo.

Moreover, business documents list her father as a Chinese national named Jian Zhong Guo. Alice Leal Guo has asserted that she did not grow up with her mother.



Portrayed by Tsing Tong-Tsai, Lim is the name of a Hokkien Chinese merchant who played a pivotal role in the 1976 period drama film Ganito Kami Noon ... Paano Kayo Ngayon? (Tagalog: This Is How We Were Before ... How Are You Doing Now?)

Lim appears to represent the Tsinoy, a term referring to Filipinos of Chinese descent, but are typically born and raised in the Philippines.

Photo Credit: ABS-CBN Film Restoration

Since the Spanish Colonial period, the Tsinoy have worked hard to achieve success in business. Centuries later, they prospered enough dominate the Philippine economy.

In the movie, Lim says he is a Filipino because he was born in the Philippines. On the other hand, Guo claimed lifelong residency in the Philippines amid her disputed citizenship.

There are also numerous avowals that Guo is not the surname of a Tsinoy, but of someone who came from the Mainland.

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