If you grew up in Dominican Republic anywhere from the late 80s to the early 90s, you probably remember the iconic Ron Barceló ad campaign that perfectly captured the beauty of being Dominican.
But if you didn’t, here’s the back story: Ron Barceló — a very popular rum brand in the DR — ran a series of commercials in the late 80s titled “Mi Puebo Natal.” There was one ad for each of DR’s 31 provinces, as well as additional commercials that captured el folklore dominicano to a T. From classic merengueros to la vida campestre and everything in between, these ads still stir up a nostalgic feeling among many Dominicans.
So for Dominican Independence Day on February 27, we’re looking back at 10 Barceló commercials to celebrate the essence of our amigos isleños:
In this Santo Domingo commercial, Barceló features the art of selling food on the street.
With cameos from beisbol legends Juan Samuel and Alfredo Griffin, the love for the sport is well-captured in this San Pedro de Macoris commercial.
In this clip, there’s also a cocolo dance by the Guloyas – performers who represent the mix of cultures found in the Lesser Antilles Islands, where descendants of British Caribbean slaves came to the Dominican Republic in the mid-nineteenth century to work in the sugar fields. Guloyas are of African descent and speak English.
For those who stayed behind
This commercial was – and still is – super relatable to anyone who had family members leave their homes for the U.S. to pursue new opportunities. It captures the hope for a better quality of life felt by those who stay behind, as their loved ones move on to somewhere new.
For those who moved away
They were also smart enough to capture the perspective of an immigrant. This one hits close to home.
Chivo de la Loma
There’s also the maldito chivo who got his own song, which I’m still trying to get out of my head.
A campestre love story
Then there’s the campestre love story, which includes a song by the one-and-only Juan Luis Guerra. You know, before Tinder, when conservative parents had the power to forbid relationships, and courting included actually serenading your lover through her bedroom window. Rings a bell, no?
Another campestre love story
And because love stories tend to be dramatic, here’s part two.
This one captures the cultural phenomenon of Dominican men catcalling women, aka el piropeo.
There’s also the La Vega commercial that became very popular. This is the place where you deliberately go get your vejigazos (que duelen mas que el diablo) during El Carnaval Dominicano. P.S. The old lady at the end is super cute so make sure to stick around for her.
All of the merengue
Finally, for the big whammy, Barceló gathered up all the classic merengueros of era to make this awesome piece.