A Canadian blogger on Friday defended the Philippines against several travel advisories issued this week by foreign governments.
Kyle Jennermann, who has lived in the country for three and a half years, urged travelers not to make sweeping conclusions.
“I agree travel advisories should exist, but why are they generalizing massive areas? Mindanao has 24 provinces and you’re telling me that every person there is a horrible person? That I should never go there?” he said during an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel’s "Headstart."
Jennermann said his parents cannot visit him now, because of the travel advisories. Foreigners who travel to a province with a travel advisory are not covered by insurance.
In a Facebook post, Jennermann said these advisories hurt him and called Mindanao his home.
"I believe that the first step is changing perception here in the Philippines because from personal experience that word (Mindanao) 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," the post read.
His post has garnered 28,000 likes, 7,500 shares, and 1,200 comments as of writing.
Jennermann said he was overwhelmed by Filipinos' hospitality when he came to visit in 2013 but what made him stay was the all-around good vibes.
“I’ve never experienced a place in my entire life where people just aren’t afraid to share happiness,” he said.
“Imagine a culture could be going through the most unimaginably worst thing you could think of and they still find a way to show something positive. If that isn’t something we could all learn from, then I don’t know what is.”
Jennermann has traveled to 29 countries, and has been to 45 provinces in the Philippines.
He added that he has not been contacted by the Department of Tourism (DOT), but he is willing to work with them.
“I want to do what the DOT is doing, I want to promote the country but they don’t really give me the time of day,” he said.
Jennerman, who calls his adventure #BecomingFilipino, has found unexpected fame in the Philippines after starting a blog in 2014 about his experiences in the country.
He said he started the blog to share positive things about his second home. It has led to a TV show, with the second season in the works.