Nothing beats the unconditional love and support Filipinos have for each other. It’s this specific Pinoy pride that not only strengthens gaming in the country but also urges developers to pay tribute to one of the strongest gaming and esports communities.
Here are a few of the “kababayans” in games one might be familiar with:
Born and raised in Manila, Philippines’ Tala Nicole Dimaapi Valdez has her own OFW (overseas Filipino worker) journey as she gets recruited by Valorant Protocol under its Omega Project to play the important role of powering its Alpha—Omega Teleporter. Neon is the 19th “Valorant” agent with electricity-based skills and is voiced by a Filipina, Vanille Velasqueze.
Zeri The Spark of Zaun, “League of Legends”
Zeri is a fun-loving teenager with electric abilities and an even more striking personality. Her powers were put to the test when an underground excavation caused an earthquake, putting the citizens of Zaun in danger. Zooming through rubble and dirt, Zeri saved as many civilians as she could. Though not explicitly mentioned in her lore, her overall character design is inspired by Filipino culture as this character is a part of the collaboration made by Riot Games.
Isabella Reyes, “Call of Duty: Vanguard”
Operator of the Trident Faction, Isabella Rosario Dulnuan Reyes is skilled in the Filipino martial art, Arnis, and hand-to-hand combat, not only for the Filipino nation but also to honor her father who died while serving the country. Isabella Reyes was first released in both the “Call of Duty: Vanguard” and “Call of Duty: Warzone.”
Lapulapu, “Mobile Legends: Bang Bang”
Inspired by one of the Philippines’ national heroes, Lapulapu is one of the most honored warriors in the Venetian Islands as he defended his homeland from invading enemies. Since the Philippines ranks as the second country with the most users, it seemed fitting to give Filipinos the representation they deserve in “Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.”
Paquito the Heavenly Fist, “Mobile Legends: Bang Bang”
No one loves boxing more than the Filipinos! Which is exactly what the next character is focused on. Dreaming of being the world’s strongest fighter, Paquito tredges the Moniyan Empire to put a stop to Domineer’s control. His character and story design is inspired by Manny Pacquiao, who also happens to be one of “Mobile Legends’” ambassadors.
Josie Rizal, “Tekken 7”
Model by day and kickboxer by night, Josie started training in martial arts at a very young age. Her career as a part of the Task Force started when she was inspired by its work, providing help and assistance to the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines. Not only is Josie a fan favorite, but she is also a great character for beginners trying out “Tekken 7.”
Kerry Eurodyne, “Cyberpunk 2077”
This cyberpunk rock star, formerly a member of the band Samurai, now has a successful solo career. Kerry’s love of singing comes naturally from his close connection to his Filipino heritage. Shown not only in how he performs but also through the full arm sleeve tattoo that has what’s most important to him: music, the Philippines and Johnny. He takes the phrase, “Wear your heart on your sleeve,” literally!
Lechonk, “Pokemon Violet” and “Pokemon Scarlet”
Meet the newest addition to the world of Pokémon! Lechonk is an Iberian Hog Pokemon with a strong sense of smell and fighting spirit! Although not directly announced that Lechonk is inspired by the Filipino favorite, lechon, this porky Pokemon has already caught the hearts of Pinoy Pokemon fans.
Phoenix Adarna, “PUBG Mobile”
In collaboration with the homegrown airlines, Cebu Pacific, “PUBG Mobile” released an Ibong Adarna-based skin, attainable by accomplishing missions inspired by the Philippine mythological bird. This was a big step not only for the gaming industry but for the whole Southeast Asia gaming community as it is the first collaboration with an aviation company.
With the growing popularity of games in the nation everyone should expect to see more strong Filipino representation in games in the future. This won’t only build a bridge between the community and the developers, but also give wide-eyed Pinoy gamers a sense of connection with their favorite heroes.