Confessions of a Filipino Vegan in Singapore

The following is an article by Katrina Paola Lugartos, a Filipino vegan living in Singapore. Katrina shares with us her life story as a vegan and how was it like surviving as a vegan foreigner in Singapore.

Six years ago, I graduated from the university, I was the perfect embodiment of optimism and rock and roll. But the thing is, I had no idea what I’ll do with myself, all I wanted was bring the message out about the pressing issues on animal cruelty and how we can help them. Wearing a wavy shag and heavy eyeliner, I was young, smart, sexy, and somewhat rebellious – as I’m not your typical conservative Filipina. At 25, I never felt better about myself.

But reaching this point wasn’t easy. In fact, I’d say it’s more of an adventure. During a childhood holiday to the countryside, I amused myself by playing with pigs, goats, chickens and geese in our backyard in La Union. I was called in for supper that evening, and to my dismay, the entire meal was made from my playmates! From then on, I told myself that I would never eat my friends again. So ladies and gentlemen, here’s my confession.

I’ve walked the streets of Manila dressed in lettuce leaves to draw attention to veganism; strutted my stuff outside the Manila Zoo wearing nothing but a black bikini, protested during the Hong Kong Fashion Week back in 2008, and a lot of other things that you can think of, everything for the sake of animals.

It doesn’t matter if I have to go naked, wear an animal costume in the midst of heat in Southeast Asia, or wear almost nothing even if it’s 7 degrees in Hong Kong, bottom-line is it’s nothing compared to the trauma, hardships, and suffering that animals go through everyday when they end up in your plate, in your wardrobe, or your beauty product.

Being vegan, especially if you’re in Manila, could raise a few eyebrows. People will think that you are squeamish. That or they’ll tell you flat-out that you are finicky. I can still remember eating tomato soup for prom night on my 3rd year in high school just because they don’t have any vegan option. I told them that I was vegetarian and guess what they served? Fish. Fish is not a vegetable. Ugh! Same thing goes to my salad. I ask them for a plain salad, just vegetables and fruits, and they still sprinkle parmesan cheese on it. That’s why I decided to dedicate my life in educating people about the benefits of going vegan. You’ll actually see me walking around rocking my animal rights tee.

For me, being vegan isn’t only about my plate, it’s a way of life. I left Manila months ago and moved here to Singapore. The first few weeks were a bit hard. I avoided going to Orchard Road because I can’t stand it when people stereotype me as a Filipino maid sometimes a prostitute – I was mortified! I am a thesis awardee for crying out loud! I also avoid that dreaded place called Lucky Plaza for the fear of being called one. But that didn’t stop me from exploring good vegan foods here in Singapore. Challenge accepted.

I started reading blogs. It was very helpful, aside from the fact that HappyCow is very useful, although it needs some update. The first blog that I came across is (thanks, Luke) then this blog (you know I love you, Amanda!), so I go to the veg restaurants that they recommend almost everyday. And of course, who wouldn’t forget their first bite of the cracked pepper mayo burger from VeganBurg – it’s heaven!  And since my office is near Chinatown, everyday is a mecca of vegan goodness. Slowly, it’s becoming easier and easier for me to adapt to a vastly foreign city. Needless to say, I love it here!

I don’t really push my opinions to other people. I just let myself be a good example of what a vegan is. Compassionate, friendly, caring – not to mention, good looking haha! It’s just one of the many benefits of a cruelty-free lifestyle and we can make this world a better place by sharing it with our friends.

So if you’re reading this and still chomping that piece of meat, let me tell you this. Vegans are not weak because we love and care for animals. You know what is weak? Giving in to the taste of meat just because you and you think that might makes right.

I kicked the meat habit and it rocked my world. It will rock yours too!

23 thoughts on “Confessions of a Filipino Vegan in Singapore

  1. Hey girl! I am also a Filipina here in Singapore who started being vegan recently. Im so glad to see this blog of yours! Im proud of you.;)


    1. Hello there Mynelle,

      Its great to hear that! I’m sure Kat would be happy to hear the news too. 🙂



  2. I’m a fan of yours Katrina you are the meaning of true beauty. Not just outside but inside as well. I love your passion for loving and caring the animals. I wish you good health and beautiful career. God bless you 🙂


    1. Hello there Gerson,

      On behalf of Kat, thanks for your kind words and good wishes. 🙂 Have a nice day!



  3. Hi Sis,

    It was nice reading your wonderful blog. I am very inspired about your concern for the cruelty of animals. I’ve finally decided to go — vegetarian! 🙂



  4. Hello there,
    I am a vegan and in the Philippines…. I would like to meet Filipino vegans here in Manila but don’t really now where to find them, I want to join hands with them in an attempt to educate and create awareness on why people turn vegan. I wonder if you know of any??? Where can I meet them.


    1. Hi Debra,

      Your inquiry sounds more like it’s for April Fools’ but I’ll answer it anyway haha! Being on a plant-based diet is far more sustainable to feed humans and animals alike. Plus, most of the time, the plants that animals eat are not for humans so there’s no tug-o-war here 🙂


  5. I randomly stumbled upon your blog. Being a Filipina vegetarian (in her teens), I’m very proud of what you are doing in order to save the animals. I too am told Fish is a vegetarian (I mean, seriously?) I live in the states though, so there’s more vegetarian options here 🙂 thank you for this.


    1. Hi K, thanks for your compliment. Its just out of my passion that SGVegan was born. 🙂

      You’re right, fish is not vegetarian. But I’ve noticed that Westerns tend to embark on their vegetarian journey by being pescetarians first. Maybe its because they have not seen that white meat such as fish involves killing. Then after a while, they will go vegetarian and then vegan, hopefully. That’s the route my Australian friend took.

      I’m glad there are vegetarian options where you are. 🙂 Thanks for your support!



      1. Thanks Katrina for Yr wonderful writeup, I feel more encouraged n inspired to tread on this new journey for myself. I m a Singaporean Chinese who recently decided to change from being pescetarian, to vegan. I m glad we are not alone embarking on this lifestyle.Yes, nothing is impossible albeit the challenges everyday.


  6. Hello!!! It’s very brave of you to put up your photos and write so from your heart to the people in cyberspace. I’m a vegan as well though I’m not Filipino. I’m Singaporean Chinese. Salutes to your activism!!


  7. Dear Katrina Thank you very much and I truly support your actions. I was much like you too. My growing up was similar to yours and would cry once the chickens that I took care for was killed for meals. Thank you very much and I wish to tell you that you have lots of guts.


    1. Hi Elsie,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. Being vegan is a challenge, true, but the benefit that comes with it is enormous. One thing is for sure, compassion can make this world a better place. Let me know how your vegan journey is like. Feel free to tweet me anytime 🙂


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