“Barkada” Cultural Appropriation by Woke Filam


Barkada Wine Bar in Washington D.C., accused of cultural misappropriation, is changing its name after receiving flak from “woke Filipino Americans”

Barkada Wine Bar-Restaurant recently opened along 12th Street, NW, Washington D.C., is changing its name after backlash from the “woke Filams.”

The all-white male owners, Sebastian Zutant, Nick Guglietta, Nate Fisher, and Anthony Aligo, were accused of cultural misappropriation. They do not even serve Filipino food, but they like the connotation of the name.

The wine-bar owners were forced to issue an apology for the use of language and changing its name—though more Filipino Americans found the use of “Barkada” a good thing.

We hear you… When we ventured outside of our own language to capture that sentiment, we missed the mark. We apologize to all we offended and to the community we hope to serve.

We never intended to appropriate or capitalize on the Filipino culture, and we recognize we fell short in engaging more of the Filipino community…,” the Facebook post said.


“Barkada” meaning to white owners

The owners chose “Barkada” because it reflected their own experience of friendship. The word “Barkada” is slang for a casual but close-knit bond among Filipinos.

Facebook post by a triggered woke Fil-Am Jessica Millete wrote:

This is problematic on so many levels. Completely ignorant and, of course, a PRIVILEGED thought-process. What makes you think it’s okay to take a word from another culture…?”


Filipino association condemns the brand naming

The next day, the National Federation of Filipino American Associates (NFFAA) issued a statement that said, “Barkada Is Cherished, Not Appropriated.”

Another issue against the Barkada Restaurant was that it neither showcased Filipino wine nor food—nothing was Filipino about it.

Krystle Canare, Capital Region Chair of NFFAA, released this (partial) statement:

We are deeply concerned by the lack of apparent sensitivity and awareness displayed in the naming of the Barkada Wine Bar on U St. Sebastian Zutant, Nick Guglietta, Anthony Aligo, and Nate Fisher… they do not share our cultural heritage. It is disrespectful and misleading...”

The United Filipino-American Conservatives (UCFA) has to say this:

The word Barkada is a Spanish word for Barcada—Filipinos adapted to mean “group of friends hanging around instead of being productive” [Lexicon]. Today, it means more than that. The Filipino language is beautiful, and we appreciate the cultural appreciation of our language.

In 2020, Woke Filam Jessica Millete ranted against the white owners of Barkada restaurant: “CHANGE YOUR NAME.” Barkada is Filipino slang for the word friends, just as the owners are.

What happened to the Barkada Wine Bar restaurant?

Although the restaurant owners said they plan to change the restaurant’s name, it continues to operate as Barkada Wine, which interestingly delighted other Filipino Americans.


Not all Pinoys were amused by what woke Filipino Americans did

Most of the Filipino-Americans in social media reacted positively to the name change. Others mocked the wine bar. Only a few thought the name brand was a good idea by way of promoting Filipino culture in the USA.

However, Facebook netizens in the Philippines found the reaction of the woke Filipino Americans ridiculous.



  1. I think they should keep the name, so long as they serve something Filipino either a drink or pulutan.

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