By Maria Isabel Gallego and Miguel Angelo Magbag
From “isang kahig, isang tuka” to providing 180 meals in the community.
Allyn Balaba, also known as “Indai Allyn”, is a 23-year-old content creator from Iligan City, Lanao Del Norte. She uses Youtube and her website to share her fond local recipes, appreciates the simple life that she has, and tells her journey to inspire others through cooking hundreds of meals to help a community.
Balaba in her blog said that among the four siblings, she is the youngest and the only girl. This optimistic vlogger all the way from “the land of beauty and bounty” already gained 241 thousand subscribers with 270 videos and 27 million total views as of writing.
However, before she opened her gates for people to witness her journey, the Balaba family went through challenges that tested her strength as a person and a loving daughter.
Balaba, in an interview with Manila Standard, said growing up she always helped her parents to sell out home-cooked meals and delicacies (ulam at kakanin) in their community and wet market. At a very young age, she saw her family’s hardship to overcome financial struggles.
“Sobrang hirap, sobrang hirap po as in […] isang kahig isang tuka, ganoon,” as the content creator described. Despite their situation, she labels herself as a “product of kindness” because of the help she received that inspired her to become the person she is right now.
“[M]aliit palang ako nagbebenta kasi kami ng mga kakanin mga ulam so meron [..] isang transwoman po na sobrang naawa sa akin so everytime na nagtitinda ako binibili niya po 'yung mga paninda ko.” She added, “sabi ko sa papa ko noon, ‘Papa, kapag ako lumaki gusto ko […] tutulong din tayo.”
Balaba said that she is a “papa’s girl” and witnessed how wholehearted her father is, “ano siya eh, lapitin siya ng mga tao na humihingi ng tulong. Sobrang maawain po ni papa, […] kahit konti na lang yung sa kanya binibigay niya sa taong nangangailangan po.”
The deeds of her parents and transwoman made a mark on her mind and heart to be inspired to help whatever she have at the present. During her teenage years, as per her blog, she worked as a saleslady and a nanny. She went to college pursuing a degree in teaching social studies however, due to unexpected life events she was forced to postpone it first.
Before entering Youtube she had gone into depression and financial struggles as her father and older brother passed away.
“I’ve been from depression tapos ano one of the reason din po na gumawa ako ng channel para to look back one day 'yung journey ko, kung paano ko siya na overcome ganoon. Paano ko naipakita 'yung passion ko, parang ano rin, parang nare-recover ko din 'yung sarili ko through cooking,” Balaba shared.
Indai Allyn’s YouTube journey
Since the start of Balaba’s youtube career in January of 2019, she revealed that it was not as smooth as she had expected.
As she shared in the interview, “until now, mahiyain parin ako, mahiyain parin ako mag-vlog, I think boring ako eh…tapos minsan na-co-concious din ganoon.” She said that through self-appreciation, words of encouragement, and constructive criticisms in her comment section, she was able to improve as a content creator.
Her mom, aunt, grandfather, sibling, and neighbor help with the content she is making but the video editing and content were done solely by Balaba.
Photos from Indai Allyn/Facebook page