Kyle Jennermann is a popular travel YouTuber.
He has more than a million subscribers on his YouTube channel, ‘BecomingFilipino.’
Kyle Jennermann was born on 22 April 1988 in Canada; he hails from Vancouver and grew up in the Comox Valley.
Both his parents are travellers, and they took him around.
Kyle has a sister.
Love for travelling & Philippines-
As a teenager, Kyle visited Thailand, and many Southeast Asian countries: Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam; he also travelled to India.
While working in the outdoor education industry, he lived in Britain, and travelled Europe.
In September 2012, Kyle got an outdoor education job in Hong Kong, and his job involved working with international schools in Hong Kong.
Here, he befriended his 15 Filipino work colleagues, and was intrigued by them and their attitude; and as he had never visited their country before, he decided to travel to the Philippines.
At that time, Kyle was travelling in Thailand, he flew from Bangkok to Cebu, Philippines on 17 January 2013.
The Philippines was the 30th country that he travelled to; here, he spent three and a half weeks with his Canadian friends and some of his work colleagues, exploring, and travelling around the country, interacting with the people.
During this trip, Kyle was overwhelmed by the positivity of Filipinos.
Quitting his job & revisiting Philippines-
After his 3-week Philippines trip, Kyle returned to Hong Kong.
As his first trip to the Philippines was extremely positive, he decided to visit the country once again; so, he travelled to the Philippines, and from June to August 2013, he lived with the Filipino families in Cagayan de Oro and Cebu.
Then, Kyle returned to Hong Kong and resumed working at his job; at that time, the Philippines was devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda; as the Philippines had a positive influence on his life, he felt upset by the devastation.
So, he quit his job, and visited the Philippines for a month, and spent time in Tacloban where the storm came through.
Here, Kyle interacted with a family affected by the typhoon, and was inspired by their positive attitude, even as they were digging for their grandmother’s body from the boat; this incident had a profound impact on him, and he was inspired by their resiliency.
YouTubing & blogging-
Even though Kyle travelled to 29 other countries prior to visiting the Philippines, he didn’t blog, or publish videos on YouTube; but thanks to the positive experience that he had at the boat, he decided to blog and publish YouTube videos to share about the Philippines.
Even though he started his YouTube channel on 30 December 2006, he published the first video only on 28 February 2014; the video is titled: ‘(Miles of Smiles) – It’s More Fun In The Philippines.’
Kyle named his YouTube channel appropriately as ‘BecomingFilipino.’
He started filming videos with his point-and-shoot camera; and this was the first time that he ever filmed videos.
In 2014, Kyle also started his blog, ‘#BecomingFilipino’ (but a few years later, he abandoned it).
At that time, he also started a small local organization in the Philippines, and raised $10,000, and helped the school, worked for the tribal community, and did relief jobs.
Then, Kyle paused working on his YouTube channel and blog, and returned to Hong Kong, and from here, went on a month-long trip across India driving an auto rickshaw.
Since 2014, he has been living in the Philippines, and made this country his permanent home.
During his first trip to the Philippines, Kyle visited Cebu, and then, Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, and Davao of Mindanao, he also visited Camiguin, Bataan, etc.
He had positive experiences in Mindanao; later, when he told his friends and parents that he visited Mindanao, they were shocked, and suggested to him that the place was dangerous, and he shouldn’t have gone there.
Later, when Kyle researched about Mindanao on Canada Travel Advisory, it too suggested not visiting Mindanao.
But he couldn’t agree with all these suggestions, thanks to his positive experiences at Mindanao; later, he explored Mindanao even more, and had positive experiences and became saddened by the negative perception of Mindanao.
Kyle believes that Mindanao has only a few negativities, but these get exaggerated.
So, he started publishing videos onto his YouTube channel, and writing blog posts to repel negative generalizations, and share positive information about Mindanao in particular, and Philippines in general.
Kyle initially lived in Liloan for a month and a half; then, lived with a Filipino family in Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao and became a part of the community there despite people stereotyping Mindanao unsafe; he believed that by living here, he could help break the stereotype about Mindanao; he also travelled Mindanao extensively on a scooter.
Later, he also bought a piece of land in Mindanao under the name of his friend, Kumar.
Kyle also built a home in Davao Oriental in Mindanao and made Mindanao his home base.
A successful YouTuber & becoming ‘Kulas’-
As of May 2023, Kyle has 1.07M subscribers on his YouTube channel; and has 1.6M followers on the Facebook page, and 225K followers on Instagram.
He is a full-time YouTuber, and earns from advertisements, and ‘Super Thanks’ on his YouTube channel.
On 24 May 2014, Kyle’s unofficial family in Cagayan de Oro nicknamed him ‘Kulas,’ and the name stuck.
On 15 December 2021, Deputy Speaker Len Alonte filed a bill in congress with few principal authors a bill aiming to grant Kyle Filipino citizenship.
Migz Zubiri, a senator, authored his Senate Bill for Citizenship; during a session, house majority leader, Senator Joel Villanueva, announced Kyle’s recognition in the chamber.
In 2023, congress granted him citizenship.
Kyle’s work depicting the Philippines in a positive light through his YouTube channel helped him in getting citizenship.
Kyle has been in a relationship with Catherine Diquit (Therine); she hails from Maragondon Cavite, and sells local merchandise through ‘Likhang Maragondon.’
Some interesting facts about Kyle-
- He travelled to all the 82 provinces of the Philippines, and more than 100 islands.
- Once while travelling, Kyle was mistakenly assumed to be a Peruvian cocaine dealer and was arrested and later released.
- He is a polyglot as he knows English, Tagalog, and Bisaya; knowing Tagalog and Bisaya greatly helped him in connecting with Filipinos.
So, how are you inspired by the success story of Kyle Jennermann?
Share with me in the comment section below.
Looking for inspiration to start your travel?
‘To Shake the Sleeping Self’ is the best book for travel inspiration.