Chalk Exclusive: Kakie Pangilinan Inspires Us to Take Charge of the Future
Kakie Pangilinan may have been born into a family of famed Filipino personalities, but she’s more than just a faceless product of celebrity genes. While she’s blessed with a knack for crafting worlds through storytelling and music, this 19-year-old wonder doesn’t simply bask in the limelight brought by her inborn perks. Kakie knows how to take up space wisely and unapologetically, something that she has picked up growing up in her own opinion-driven household. “Everyone in my house is matapang. Walang duwag dito.”
At a crucial time when we’re all called to do our part and speak up, Kakie’s voice holds the kind of strength that’s just as refreshing as it is empowering. Back in June, we witnessed how far her influential perspective could reach, as her #HijaAko movement trended on social media, rallying her generation to take a stand against the ingrained prevalence of rape culture in our society.
If you follow Kakie on Twitter, it’s the exact chronicle of teenage ramblings, not far from your own friends who tweet song lyrics in the middle of the night, meme-worthy musings about their mundane life, snide comments about the news, and admissions that the same news actually terrifies them just as much. So, how does she feel about having an extraordinary reach on the platform? “It’s great to see that a lot of people are interested in what I’m speaking up about, especially the issues that I find the most concerning,” she says. “But at the same time it kind of makes me uncomfortable when people say that I’m brave.”
While Kakie may come off as incredibly smart and headstrong online, there’s a sense of vulnerability in her that she isn’t afraid of exposing and cultivating, nonetheless. She does admit that the responsibility that her huge following entails can be quite scary. But that doesn’t stop her from keeping at it. “I’m always going to work harder to make sure that I’m worthy of that ‘weird’ privilege where my voice is kind of amplified. I’m just going to keep learning and growing.”
Twitter is a portal to a much bigger universe (even to an imagined one, just like Kakie’s Arkoverse which you can explore in her literary account @kakiewrites,) and navigating it can be tricky as it is easy to get lost in a plethora of issues. “There’s a lot of things that we can’t fix. But we should be aware of what we can fix,” she says. For Kakie, this can be achieved by educating oneself and moving on to speaking up and using one’s platform for the good. “We should be aware of what we can do. [Because] to not fulfill your part–it’s such a waste.”
According to Kakie, if you dig deep into her Twitter page, you’ll find out that her honest and strong opinions date way back to 2015 or 2016. She’s always had that discerning mind and a way with words even as young teenager. As aforementioned, she got this from her parents, Senator Francis Pangilinan and entertainment legend Sharon Cuneta, who didn’t allow her and her siblings to “grow up within a bubble of privilege.”
“They wanted us to always be socially aware. They worked very hard to educate us and make sure that we experience several facets of life that I don’t think a lot of kids are able to experience,” she shares. “I think that it’s just that kind of holistic view that they really nurtured in us –it’s that kind of awareness of not only ourselves but also our surroundings.”
Another thing that Kakie learned at home is the value of accountability. She even makes sure to hold her dad accountable by asking questions and demanding explanations, knowing full well that, as someone who holds public office, his decisions can almost immediately impact Filipino lives.
But for those who weren’t blessed with the same family dynamics, Kakie advises that one should take the initiative to find like-minded people outside of their home. “Find people who share your points of view, people who believe in the same things as you do, and build from there,” she suggests. “You need a support system. You need people who will pick you up when you inevitably stumble. You need people around you who love you and believe in the same things as you
As days and months go by, it becomes clearer that we have to take matters into our own hands. And, for Kakie, our generation is at an advantage even though it seems like a tall order. “People my age are so much smarter and so much more equipped now than youth has ever been in all of history.” We are more empowered than the ones before us, which also makes us even more responsible to take action. “If it’s within your means, that kind of becomes your duty,” she adds.
The future seems like one long and winding road away from the present. Even Kakie lets out an exasperated groan when the question about her hopes for the youth comes up. “I feel like the standards have become so low!” she exclaims, followed by a frustrated laugh that would earn a series of clown emojis if she was to tweet this statement. She then holds her head in between her hands, a gesture that signals the palpable stress that weighs down on her for a few quick seconds. With a growing frown on her face, she goes on, “I just hope for better. Because we deserve better. That sounds really sad, but it’s so true.” And nothing echoes our sentiments more than her resigned tone as she says, “Hay, nako… I just hope to be able to wake up one day and not feel terrible about my country when I open my phone.”
There are so many national concerns to address right now, even without the humongous toll that the pandemic crisis has put on us. Filipinos are hungry and losing their jobs. Their basic rights are being taken away from them. They have to beg from a government whose main job is supposed to be in their service. And, as Kakie puts it, we deserve a future where the opposite situation is no longer an illusion. “Things like safety, good governance, respectable leaders–I’d love to wake up one day, and that’s not a dream anymore. It’s not far-off. It’s right here in the present.”
For now, we have to achieve the bare minimum first, Kakie thinks. “And then we can work towards what we truly deserve which is the best.”
On a lighter note, Kakie hopes that we never lose a positive outlook despite the dire circumstances. “Remaining positive to me means having a goal in mind and working towards that. Because it’s attainable! It’s so possible especially if we all work together.”
And so we shall.
To our fellow Filipino youth: it’s time to take charge. No one else is more capable than you are.
Story Produced by Madel Asuncion
Video Produced by Deiniel Cuvin
Video Edited by Lui Jimenez
Art Direction by Mikka Caronan
Covert Art by Gabe Mabazza