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  • Fil-Australian Kids Are Learning About Their Pinoy Roots by Making YouTube Videos

    Their message to Filipino families around the world: culture and learning goes beyond school.
    by Anna Rhea Manuel .
  • Each member of the Rodas family is getting out of their comfort zone with this vlogging journey.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of the Rodas family

    Meet Bridgette Rodas, a Melbourne-based mom and a new vlogger. Her children, Versace and Chace, 10 and 7, respectively, are the hosts of a children’s review channel "Bridgette VC" where they review food, stories, travel, movie trailers, and Filipino TV commercials. Recognizing that her kids are growing up in a world shaped by technology, Bridgette had felt she had the responsibility to guide her kids to use vlogging powerfully and responsibly. 

    Vlogging as a family project

    The Rodas’ started their vlogging journey in February 2019. YouTube was a tool to create a “family project,” which Bridgette initially saw as an opportunity to bond with the kids after they came home from school. It was also a chance for them, who are Australian-Filipino, to know more about the Philippines.

    In their first few videos, the kids reviewed “mini-movie” Jollibee commercials. They watched them in real time (with an inset for the audience to see what they are viewing), and at the end of each video, Versace would summarize the ad, and she and Chace would share what they think of it.

    The vlogging process encourages the kids to pay attention and comprehend what they are watching. They learn how to express their ideas and feelings. (Editor's note: They also did a video review of SmartParenting.com.ph's read-aloud of Adarna Books’ Chenelyn! Chenelyn! by Randhee Garlitos and Liza Flores. The author of this piece is the storyteller in the video.)


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    On average, Bridgette VC vlogs are less than 10 minutes long. However, backend work could take up a few days. Bridgette, who has no computer background, let alone editing skills, had to learn along the way.

    Many times, she got frustrated and wanted to give up, but in the end, Bridgette would always ask herself, “I need X to work. How do I do it?” She wouldn’t be able to manage without the support of her husband Clyde who does the PR, video layout, management of the Facebook page, and helps her to improve the channel.

    As of to date, the Rodas family has made over 60 videos and have just hit 1,000 subscribers who describe Versace and Chace as cute, cool, smart, witty, and adorable. One commenter in one of their baking videos said, "Nakakatuwa silang panoorin. Pati mga anak ko, pinanonood sila."

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    Children-led vlogging

    Bridgette intended the video series to focus on her children’s open and playful nature. She encourages them to be themselves and be spontaneous with their expressions. Although she’s in charge of making sure the vlog content is relatable and appropriate for kids, Bridgette takes cues from her children as to which video, product, or activity they wish to review next. More often than not, kids take cues from other kids. They look to other kids to see what’s fun and exciting. Both Versace and Chace are very much engaged in the planning and execution of the videos. They enjoy the process it entails and has fun watching themselves afterward. They've "owned" to making it and have started sharing with their family, school friends, and teachers.

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    A behind-the-scenes look at Versace and Chase who are watching a video for their review as they are recorded .
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Rodas family

    Making these vlogs has become a part of the family routine. Bridgette appreciates how the experience has given her access to know her kids' interests and what they think about the world.

    Versace, who’s 10, is now dealing with the changes a tween goes through (and they are not always easy). Chace, who is 7, has been diagnosed with autism and reacts to the video prompts in the way his brain is particularly wired. These give Bridgette a glimpse on what’s going on in their own worlds as they do the vlogs. For her, she feels much more connected with them and feels confident about meeting them where they currently are.

    Ever since February, the vlogs have gone beyond video reviews. They now feature family trips to local attractions, birthday tributes, and “mystery hauls.”


    On their next family holiday to the Philippines, Bridgette and Clyde are hoping their children find the place, food, and people familiar and welcoming. So watch out for balikbayan kids’ reviews of the different delicacies, street games, transport modes, and sites that are uniquely Filipino! 

    Aside from families and friends in the Philippines who support them by watching and sharing the videos, Bridgette has learned so much from "Momshie Vlogger Ph Inspiring Story," a group of mommy vloggers that has given her vlog advice, promotion, and friendship. Clyde, on the other hand, has stepped out of his comfort zone and made friends with the people who continue to support the vlog including his boss and colleagues. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a few towns across different sectors to keep a vlog running and gaining more traction!

    Born to a family of teachers, Anna Manuel is a reading advocate and a children’s book author with a degree in Language Education, with a minor in Special Education, and a Master's in Reading Education. She is the master storyteller behind Melbourne-based Heads and Tales, which offers storytelling sessions, family literacy workshops, performances, and more. Her work and latest book, Leo’s Pet Bug, focuses on empathy, which she believes keeps us connected and thriving.

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