YouTuber Basel Manadil, more popularly known as “The Hungry Syrian Wanderer,” shared to his 4.3 million subscribers that he’s now a Filipino citizen in a vlog entitled “I am FILIPINO.”
On Independence Day, he posted, “I am no bird, but I am a free human being with an independent will. Thank you Philippines for having me. I am happy to celebrate Independence Day mga kababayan.”
Basel donned a Barong Tagalog for the first time ever for his special announcement. “Today is a very special day because it’s Independence Day and everybody outside is so, so happy. There are flags everywhere and I saw so many lechon baboy to celebrate,” he said. “I want to share with you very important news that I have never talked about before.”
He showed his Filipino passport, which he’s had with him for two years now. “Look at this. Filipino ‘yan, mga tao. You see, kalbo ako diyan. So, I have had this since 2019 and this is the first time I ever talked about it,” he said.
The 27-year-old vlogger said that he decided to keep his Filipino citizenship a secret to enjoy this important moment in his life. “When I had this more than two years ago, I wanted to have that moment for myself. I am considered Filipino and my blood is ‘Filipino Plus.'”
Choosing the Philippines
Basel has stayed in the Philippines ever since his family left Syria in 2013. He said that even though he had the option to go to Europe and reunite with his family members who are now in France, he chose to stay in the Philippines after graduating from college.
“When I was offered to go to Europe, I was thinking [deeply.] The luxury life, instant money, instant happiness, and instant job, which is Europe. Or [the] Philippines: simple life, no expected money, no expected job, and just living day by day.”
“I chose the Philippines, pure travel and mingling with the locals of every place I go to. This is what I chose,” he added.
Basel said that as his YouTube channel name suggests, he is “hungry to wander more, help more people, and explore more things about the Philippines.”