Youth in the Philippines suffer from a lack of good role models

Michelle Alfonso and Janet Ricabo, the “Pabebe” Girls, rose to fame a couple of weeks back after a video they uploaded onto the Net, what else, went “viral”. The video wasn’t much of a production piece. It was just a rant clip with two young teenage girls asserting their right to be who they are. The funny thing is that after they were initially embraced by a bunch of popular celebrities as representing an attitude worth emulating, the bigger base of social media users eventually bore down upon the phenomenon with their scathing indictment of the fad.


So here we are. It seems it is the thing nowadays to put up the Pabebe Girls as the model of how girls should not behave. There’s even a hashtag trending on Twitter, #PabebeGirlKaKung (“You’re a Pabebe Girl if…”), where tweeters fill the blank following it with a character trait they find objectionable. For example, according to tweeter @thatpervydude

#PabebeGirlKaKung you don’t know the difference between looking cute and looking annoyingly stupid.

…the above being a bit more straightforward than this interesting one from @EscuetaFaye

#PabebeGirlKaKung likers mo arabo

(Translated: “You’re a Pabebe Girl if your likers are Arabs.”)

The more general sentiment seems to be around narcissism. Pabebe Girls are apparently derided as “attention seekers” who will stoop to any spectacle of “stupidity” to worship the gods of social media virality.

The fascinating thing about this is how notions of what not to be are such potent guides for today’s youth. If you scroll through the Twitter timeline of the #PabebeGirlKaKung hashtag, you will find tweeters virtually unanimous in citing the attitudes and behaviours that, if you unwittingly exhibit, quickly brands you a pabebe. The timeline is a bible of bad taste, pretty much. That says something about the Pinoy celebs who were quick to run with the phenom.

I wonder then. There seems to be an abundance of anti-role models today but not much in the way of actual real role models — sort of like how Maria Clara who once epitomised the quintessential Filipina finds no heir to that throne today. That’s kinda disturbing. The field is left wide open to “idols” like Vice Ganda, Marian Rivera, and Kris Aquino who step in where society has failed to provide sound guidance to an already massively-wayward society. No wonder bad behavior and loser attitudes rule in the Philippines.


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69 Comments on "Youth in the Philippines suffer from a lack of good role models"

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From Prada to Nganga

I’m not sure how to begin this one however let me try to say my piece as best as I could then.

These girls video were originally uploaded in Youtube (The cradle of other famewhores such as Jamich and the other Pabebe known as Mamon Girl) and I can think that long before the Pabebe Girls there was Justin Bieber who rose his fame through the said site.

Point is nothing is permanent in this country and their fame will just go flash in the pan the same way with Bieber.

From Prada to Nganga

Girls’ I mean sorry


These are one of the big reasons that I think we should put anime back in the afternoon…

Robert Haighton
I really wouldnt know who my role model could be or could have been. It certainly will not be a Dutch celeb or an international celeb. The closest or nearest role model for me would be or could be my dad or my mom. Maybe for others it was/is Mandela, Churchill, Martin Luther King or John F Kennedy. But they are all dead and personally I know nothing about their personal and private lives. So that is a dead end. My role model must be someone who I look up to and somebody that is still alive. So that also… Read more »

Nature hates a void. Just because past generations have squandered the opportunity to serve as role models of progressive ideas and compelling ideals doesn’t mean young people will stop looking for someone or some movement to fill the leadership void.
I encourage young people to keep going, keep speaking out, keep posting, be outrageous and audacious. Eventually, young people will choose their own leaders and values that will make the timid, conservative, corrupt and dysfunctional Philippine system irrelevant.
As for the critics of these girls, you deserve your sad place in history; cheap talk, no action, no value. Go RICO!!!

1) If Philippines have this kinds of kids today, whoa! I think I want to support home schooling. I was inclined to support it before but my hesitation is, as one analyst said, the child may be deprived of his/her chance to learn to interact; build and improve social skills. I agree that that is equally important. But now I think I will be more hesitant for my child to build relationships with such classmates. At least, if he’s at home, I can “filter” his friends. In times of massive, uncontrolled influence of media in the minds of almost everyone,… Read more »
Kill Joy

Sa PaBeBe House ng A-Bias-CBN maraming kabataang pinoy ang walang pakialam at di n’yo raw kayang pigilan!


Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.


Guys? No role model? Look at Rizal from youth to adulthood. Now that’s a good start

Robert Haighton

When my former partner wanted to apply for a job as teacher at a DepEd-school, she told me that (DepEd) teachers are not allowed to live together. They either have to be single or married. That sounds to me as a real role model. Although what I think is far more important is to have the best teacher in front of a class room. So I guess its matter of setting the right priorities and to set them straight.

John Brookes

bastos babae . shame..

The Spainard

You might be a Filipino IF:

You show up with a shovel in hand when someone says ‘there is Gold in them thar hills !’.

You have a relative slaving away in another country that says he/she is NOT a Filipino.

You are feeling that you have no future and are stuck on an island in the middle of an ocean….and its sinking.

You pick the pockets of…..

Get the picture? Not pretty.

Only the one youngster,on the left, is cute too.


With role model, like the Whore : Kris Aquino. I am not surprised why our young girls are behaving in wayward ways.

Garbage in; garbage out…in the CyberSpace…


1. You don’t like it, don’t watch it.
2. You have nothing good to say… Just don’t say anything…
3. Mind your own businesses!!!

It is a free country… Like they say your freedom ends before it touches the tip of someones nose…


sheesh…. so many attention seeking whoremons in the Philippines.


I agree, however, I believe that these girls do not represent the entire Filipino youth.. Also, we can’t just blame it to famous personalities alone. In this era, it is now we, netizens, who have the biggest contribution to the trending topics.. Let’s admit it, we share stuff that we find funny, interesting or annoying even without considering how these things will influence the young audience..

Sr. Athens

Yes, young Filipinos really need good role models. It’s a challenge to provide even one.


Seems to me that the Filipino net fame scene is just as bankrupt and stunted as the rest of its show business. To these kids, the only way they can garner attention is to look like a fool as much as you can.

Just by searching around youtube, I found videos where people gained notoriety without pulling down their dignity and reputation. Movies, music covers, sports etc. It’s a whole smorgasbord but alas, these children just can’t get out of their “comfort” zone.

This is exactly what happens when you take out sentai and kamen rider shows in national television. You are left with terrible shows with the loosest morals. Half-joking aside… Current Philippine National TV has become a wasteland. Nothing but Celebrities, Telenovellas and trite. So if you’re looking at the TV and wanting someone to emulate… you are looking in the wrong place. Just like black people, if we Filipinos want good role models, we should look up to other races or even fictional characters! Which is why I mentioned the Kamen Rider and Sentai series. Because they may be campy,… Read more »
anna banana
The rise of the pabebe girls with Mamon Girl included proved one thing: social media and television has reared up its ugly head. Personally, I find Janet and Michelle’s video a little annoying, and honestly, I am more annoyed with Mamon Girl. I hope being cyber bullied has taught these girls a lesson – think before you click; but then again, my gut tells me Mamon Girl is to be the next fame whore Mich Liggayu. I hope Janet and Michelle’s parents have learned a valuable lesson from this experience too, and that they would exert a little more effort… Read more »