Ashley Rivera, a.k.a. Petra Mahalimuyak, is a Filipino-American model and performer who produced and uploaded a number of video clips in YouTube that became viral in the Philippines. Her video clips are mostly about her commentaries on the behavior of Filipinos during specific social situations. The humor in her creations is premised on some unconscious and semi-conscious ideological discourses common among the dominant social classes in the Philippines. Using the semiology of Roland Barthes, this paper exposes these ideological discourses in Rivera’s 15 most popular video clips, and in the process opens a window to understanding the mentality of Filipino elites.
This paper has two substantive sections: the first one locates the place of Rivera in the Philippine social hierarchy, while the second one presents the actual semiological analyses on seven cultural icons that this paper isolated from the selected video clips, namely (a) the persona of Petra Mahalimuyak; (b) the exaggerated Filipino accent and the conyo idiolect; (c) the “amalayer” girl; (d) the Filipino melodrama; (e) Filipino addiction to Facebook; (f ) the jologs; and (g) skin whitening products.