Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

Brown is Beautiful

I never have liked my skin color.

I grew up in the States, where cultural values are quite different. The skin-tanned look started to become fashionable in 1920’s, and skin cancer rates have continued to soar ever since. Yes, that’s right–we are endangering our lives in order to have brown skin.

Each summer my friends/classmates would compare forearms to see who had managed to acquire the best tan. Needless to say, that’s one competition I had no shot at winning. I never even bothered to hold up my pasty limb next to theirs.

Then there’s the sunburn. I know some of you have experienced sunburn, but I burn on different level. Too much sun exposure and my skin turns bright red, sometimes to the point of blistering. After a few days of pain, the damaged layer of skin peels away—like I’m some kind of reptilian mutant from the x-files. This process still doesn’t result in a tan. About all I can do is turn from white to “less white.”

I was in for a surprise when I moved here. I still remember seeing the first commercial for a skin-whitening product–I was completely stunned. “Who in the world wants to be whiter?” I asked myself. Sadly, It seems many Filipinos do. Funny how we always want what someone else has.

The before-mentioned forearm competition has taken a bizarre turn. Filipinos often hold their arm next to mine and make self-effacing jokes about the color contrast. “Kape at gatas” (coffee and milk) is one of the more common jokes. I’m quick to remind them of the Caucasian quest for a suntan—a color that Filipinos have naturally.

Most of my Filipino brothers are attracted to mestizas (light-skinned Filipinas). Not me. Nothing attracts me more than a lovely morena (brown-skinned Filipina).

To my Pinoy brothers and sisters: wear your color proudly. Brown is beautiful!


  1. yeah! brown is beautiful!

    let’s embrace that…

    I am satisfied with my skin, and what’s weird is that my room mate would apply this whitening sun-block lotion all over his body in i dunno purpose. to get fairer skin? i really don’t get it.

    I think it’s human nature that what we lack, we desire.

    You said caucasians want tanned skin, we on the other hand want fairer skin. It’s the lack of it that makes us want it.

  2. I guess we as human always want to have the things that we don’t have instead of what we already have.

  3. I don’t get it too when filipinas dye their hair brown or blonde, i mean there’s nothing like a shiny, stunning black hair.

    The best is still to be beautiful inside, no matter the skin color.

  4. i agree! i’m a true-blue, authentic, genuine MORENA! and i loooove my color!
    i remember telling one of my sunday school students how to appreciate her color. this girl was just 3 years old then and she’s always being compared with her older sister who is fairer.
    After sometime, when asked who among the disney princess she wanted to be, she confidently said “i love my color! I’m brown! I’m Snow brown!”
    i guess i’ve influenced her that much! hehehe!

  5. According to a TAGALOG Legend. Filipinos are brown(kayumanggi) because God cooked him very well.

    ASccording to the tale, God first took a clay and shaped him into man. When he put him in the oven God slept and burned the whole thing-ergo the black people. Then he undercooked the next batch-the caucasians. So he really tried to do well the next time and cooked the Filipino race- not too dark-not too white.

  6. oh btw, that girl is now 6 yo and in east africa. she’s still morena, still beautiful… (but sometimes called “white” when compared with the people there) hahaha!


    By far, this is my fave post/article you’ve written! Kidding! 😉 I like and read most your articles kuya.

    I think our lack of appreciation (for our color) goes back to the Spanish era.

    Mabuhay ang mga kayumanggi! MABUHAY!!!

    Lj 🙂

  8. I love being a Filipino. That’s one reason why I wouldn’t exchange my skin color for anything! hehe.

    another thing is that i look like someone from india. that’s why i try my best to be Filipino. I love my language, I love my Kayumanggi color, i love my black hair, i love my ilocano dialect, i love Filipino pulutan (i don’t drink, i just love the pulutan) and i love Filipino culture.

  9. Great photo Kevin! The article is spot on as well. After my trips to South and Central America and reading about the growth of the church in SE Asia I came home and reminded our faithful whitey’s that the great preponderance of the church is brown, not white. We must get past the skin we are in.

  10. I suppose we really can’t fault a person for wanting to be “fairer”, or “darker”. That’s human nature – to be dissatisfied, I mean. I won’t be a hypocrite and say I am 100% content with my skin tone, or the color of my hair. Not that I don’t appreciate how I look but I suppose vanity (not excessive, though) comes naturally when you’re a woman. Of course anyone wants to look pretty – and definition of pretty varies. Now, I don’t think it’s fair to tell people what’s pretty and what’s not.

    But I do agree about how some people go to great lengths to change the way they look – you know, the bleached blonde hair, the excessive intake of glutathione, the rhinoplasty, etc. That’s not enhancing your God-give beauty, that’s changing it entirely.

    And yes, I have noticed how Americans love the sun. I mean, sunbathing under the 2pm sun? Can you say “Melanoma”? We usually went at around 5pm for 2 reasons – beach is less crowded and the sun, more forgiving.

    No wonder, a lot of Caucasians have not-so-good skin (I am not talking about you, Kuya. I haven’t met you so I wouldn’t know), all dried and wrinkled like prunes.

    Rambling again…

  11. anthony scalia

    08/05/2008 at 12:52 am

    funny it takes a white man to tell the brown people to love their skin!

    thanks kuya kevin!

    to all Pinoys – mahiya naman tayo!

  12. From another pasty skinned white girl, I totally agree with you Kevin! Brown is beautiful! If I didn’t develop a new mole (which I have had to have removed and checked for cancer) almost every time I expose myself to the sun, I would happily sport the color brown. Skin whitening? That’s the strangest thing I’ve ever heard of. This picture in your blog just proves how beautiful Filipino people are. And you are lovely too Kevin 😉

  13. Dear Melissa,
    Im sorry about those moles, my sister though Filipina is quite fair skinned and has to apply sunblock, she’d rather do without!She easily gets moles and spots of all sorts, under the sun..

    Thank you for writing how beautiful Filipinos are!

    -from a Filipina 🙂

  14. yeah! freedom for brown colored skin! yeah! throw away papaya soaps! hahaha!

    this is encouraging kuya… i visited my lola in Samar… somwhere in visayas last month… and my skin darkened more than i expect…

    people and friends often create jokes out my skintone… now i can tell them the opposite story of my skin

  15. Hi Kevin,

    It boast my morale your article, ha ha! I have a brown complexion too! We are 10 persons living in a boarding house and honestly I have a tanned brown color.Mostly they had a joke “they just see a white color if my my eyes was open, and when im smiling, they just seen my white teeth. Ha ha. Anyways,my principle I believe in whitening products if they get me as model.For sure the company of whitening have a hard time to make me white! I did not use any whitening.Love your own I told them…Thanks for posting!
    Proud to be a true Filipina!

  16. Great post Kuya Kevin! This is a wake-up call to those Filipinos who are spending so much just to become “whiter.” I completely agree that Pinoy should be proud of their color.

  17. hahah.. i’ve already read some of your articles and this one i really like.

    there was a time when i had to go to several trips, and came back all brown. i thought it looked good, but then my boyfriend told me he preferred my skin color before.

    “nung high school tayo ang puti puti mo.”

    so there. now i’m one of the common filipinos who want fairer skin.

    you know, i need to go see other countries. ^^

  18. brown or white, yellow or black. If you know you are a child of God, remember Imago Dei..

    God does not make any mistakes in life, for His thoughts are higher than ours..

  19. reminds me of Barth Suresky’s article-
    Inferiority Complex: A Filipino Malady?

  20. thanks Kevin for appreciating our color. most people here in our country admired white skin complexion that’s why most ads on skin whitening really attracts people who wanted to lighten their skin color by having it white. i do have friends from other countries who really are attractive to women that are morenas like me, hehehe…… as what the saying says you can really see the beauty of a woman when her color is tan or morena. by the way i’m Lilian, your friend in my space and friendster

  21. You would get along very well with my husband. He also always tell people in the Philippines that brown is beautiful.

    It is somehow very difficult to convince Filipinos that. He always giggles when he tries to find soap in a store and the most soap that are on the rack are whitening soap;)

  22. from a filipina in u.s.a

    yes,indeed.we need to be content of what we are and what we have as well.

    i truly believe that no matter what skin color we have,God loves us all.mine is not a real filipino color though,i’m a mocca baby =)yet,all my friends like my color.i don’t need other people’s approval anyway.nevertheless,i thank and praise God for that…

    1 Thes.5:18 ” In everything give thanks,for this is the will of God in Christ…”And besides we are created by God in His own image or likeness.He doesn’t care about our outward appearance,what matters most to Him is the heart.It needs to be pure.”Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”Matt.5:8

    thanks for this post kuya kevs.

    God loves you.

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  24. nice article there kuya kevin!!!

    I really love my skin color

    but others said that i’ll be more prettier kung pumuti ako


    none the less i want to keep my color but still use whitening products

    may epekto tlaga ang mga sinasabi ng tao=)

  25. I really love my skin color

    but others said that i’ll be more prettier kung pumuti ako


    none the less i want to keep my color but still use whitening products

    may epekto tlaga ang mga sinasabi ng tao=)

  26. I love the white color, though. It only tells us that we like what we don’t have and we always want to keep up with the Joneses all the time.

    We admire white people. White people admire brown skins.

    It is not true that all Filipinos love their skin color. Most Pinoys would spend money to get their skin whitened to a mala-kutis-artista (celebrity-like complexion) look. Most Filipinos think that having a fair skin complexion elevate themselves above the ordinary. If you have a fair skin color you associate yourself with well-off people.

    This is only my observation. Filipinos would die hard to get the Western-like beauty.

    Whether Filipinos admit it or not, they still love and adore the American look. Sorry to say, I am just being honest. Kuya Kevin, you
    have no clue how many people desperately wanted to be in your shoes.

    -WVG of LA, CA

  27. If you’re not white or fair in the Philippines, they would call you “Ita”, “aswang”, “igorota”, “panget”, you name it. The Philippine culture has been dictated that being “beautiful” is to be a photocopy of a Barbie doll. That’s why every Filipina girl wants to doll a Barbie. It is a part of what they call– “Colonial Mentality” daw. Believe it or Not. Only in the Philippines.

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