‘Tis The Season: A Kayumanggi’s Conversation Cheat Code for the Holidays

Written by Iyah Caisip 🤎


Holidays mean longer periods of family time! It’s a near-universal thing with your usual close-knit family gathered in festivities extending to distant cousins, godparents, sometimes even friends. 

And while big family gatherings might be your thing, it's not as fun as it otherwise seems.

Mike Grogan’s article excellently illustrates colorism prevalent among Filipinos but more than that, he retells a morena’s story on being empowered by 

adversities brought by people who perpetuate colorism which only goes to prove that rising from adversities is the best way to respond and challenge colorism

If you’re someone at the peak of youth in a Filipino household, then intrusive comments from relatives (especially at reunions or gatherings) are not so surprising anymore but they do get spontaneously different every. time.  


It doesn’t matter what shade of brown in the color spectrum your skin is in, as long as you’re considered a kayumanggi, you will never hear the end of other people’s banter about your skin especially those that see other culture’s beauty standards as the be-all-end-all definition of beautiful.

Holding your breath in anticipation and a loud exhale as a response to the nosy questions is not the only acknowledgment you can resort to.

I like my tan, tita

The classic statement fits nearly all situations. For the outspoken morenos/morenas, a confident riposte is always your go-to. Morena The Label’s “I like my tan, tita” is a short yet compelling response guaranteed to ward off any more remarks hinting at colorism. 


Agree and Reframe

The “Ang itim mo” comments that relatives think of as a good conversation starter (but in reality are VERY substandard) can be so consuming of your energy but can also be used as an opportunity for you to finally say: “Thank you. It’s something I'm proud of” so as to show their remarks impacted you a lot differently than what they had in mind. 

As a result, what supposedly was an insult or a jest for them, becomes more serious and agreeable. This helps people who take the matter of colorism lightly reframe their thinking (and hopefully reframe the poor humor too.)

Steer the Social Scene

While their choice on the topic of conversation can get inappropriate and whatever their intentions are, take charge of the social scene. After responding to the disturbing remark, steer the conversation into a more useful equivalent or better yet- steer the attention somewhere else. After all, You can always choose to disregard their opinion should this be a more convenient alternative for you. 

At the end of the day, it’s YOU who’s blessed with the beautiful brown skin that demands to challenge the misinformed. 

Avoid the statement, Put them in the hot seat, or ignore them completely. Gauge yourself on how a certain response will make you feel afterward, it is YOU who matters. From one morena to another, Let change be our motivation to confront colorism in every single way it manifests. 


Alliyah Caisip, AKA Iyah, to her family and friends, is a full-time student, athlete, music performer, and writer. More to that, she is currently based in the USA and enjoys her free time through reading. With much desire to advocate in defying colorism, she writes for Morena The Label and promotes skin positivity and brown skin representation. When not laughing at her own jokes, Iyah can be found eating chicken wings.



Grogan, M. (2016, November 25). The rise of the proud ‘morena’ | Mike Grogan. BusinessMirror. Retrieved December 19, 2021, from https://businessmirror.com.ph/2016/11/27/the-rise-of-the-proud-morena/ 


    Newer Post