A foreigner in my own country

     When I was twelve years old, my parents decided to move the whole family from America back to the Philippines.  At twelve, I had to figure out how to live as foreigner in the country I was born in.    I don’t remember having the same existential worries my peers did upon entering my teenage years. I had worries, of course, but they … Continue reading A foreigner in my own country

Listen: This podcaster explores forgotten Filipino-American histories. – Overseas Filipino

“What does it mean to be a Filipino outside the homeland?” This question spurred journalist Paola Mardo to launch Long Distance, an audio documentary series, last October.  Timely, personal, and evocative, this Filipino-American’s podcast delves into seldom told stories about the Pinoy diaspora. Mardo, who was born in Los Angeles, is Long Distance‘s creator, host, writer, and producer. Its latest episode, entitled “#2 Little Manila,” was … Continue reading Listen: This podcaster explores forgotten Filipino-American histories. – Overseas Filipino

Five books for your OFW family

 There’s nothing like the gift of a good book. Few presents are as intimate and heartfelt than a recommended novel or memoir, especially when it comes from those dearest to you. Particularly, when a story is resonant and powerful, it will take no more than a couple hundred pages to change a person’s life.     For overseas Filipinos workers (OFW), what will inevitably resonate … Continue reading Five books for your OFW family

“It is a tremendous balancing act to create a work of art that takes on real events without being exploitative” (USA)

For visual artist Chico Quizon, an unwitting introduction to the arts came in the form of penmanship lessons. This was at the Conception Parish School in Manila, and part of its curriculum was teaching students proper handwriting technique. “I was given a workbook to practice, but I just drew all over it,” recalls Quizon. “I have been drawing ever since.” A Quezon City native, Quizon … Continue reading “It is a tremendous balancing act to create a work of art that takes on real events without being exploitative” (USA)

“Even as a permanent resident, I always go back to my roots, how I was brought up” (Canada)

It was 2010, and Jourdan Rosell was planning out a family vacation. He had just graduated  with a degree in Technical Theatre at the De La Salle College. He simply wanted to bond with one of his three sisters in Singapore. Eventually, when Rosell’s savings began to run out, he threw all caution to the wind. Rosell, now a theater production manager in Canada, figured … Continue reading “Even as a permanent resident, I always go back to my roots, how I was brought up” (Canada)

Jessica Zafra on Fil-Am republicans, malling in Italy, and the great diaspora

The overseas Filipino experience is unlike any other, and Jessica Zafra knows it.   “We’re all over the place” the author tells Overseas Filipino, who had launched late October a memoir entitled Twisted Travels: Rambles Central Europe. “The Philippine diaspora is different because, you take somebody who is Indian—they have a strong cultural background that they travel with. So everywhere they go, they’re Indian. For … Continue reading Jessica Zafra on Fil-Am republicans, malling in Italy, and the great diaspora

How to Celebrate Thanksgiving When You’ve Never Had It Before

There are so many voices that need to be heard around the world. Experiences are personal essays written by our kababayan as they—or their loved ones—navigate a different life in a different country.  —   1. Google what it’s about. Yes, the word “Thanksgiving” is a dead giveaway that you’re supposed to give thanks, but make the effort to know the origins of the American … Continue reading How to Celebrate Thanksgiving When You’ve Never Had It Before

Films that Capture Alienation Overseas

When you uproot life for opportunity abroad, struggle will be inevitable. You are the farthest you have ever been from home. People’s faces, the highways and avenues—they are all alien to your senses. The barriers to communication are legion. To boot, the threat of racism, exploitation, and hate crimes fester in the back of your mind. As if the toil of earning a buck wasn’t … Continue reading Films that Capture Alienation Overseas

Does Kelsey Merritt represent the Filipina?

For too long, Asian women have clamored for representation in the media. Pretty much everywhere else, too—in literature, arts, and, with the case of one Kelsey Merritt, even in international lingerie catwalks. In recent years, there has been progress. Hollywood blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians featured strong women, and even had Kris Aquino as Cambodian royalty. With this November’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion show, many rejoiced when … Continue reading Does Kelsey Merritt represent the Filipina?

“Why not be a part of a bigger change in the world?” (USA)

When 17 year-old Lauren Macasiljig filed into the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California with fellow members of the Boys and Girls Club of Silicon Valley last September, she thought she was just going to enjoy performances by music idols Beyonce and Jay-Z. But during the concert, DJ Khalid announced that she was chosen as a recipient of a scholarship to fund her college tuition—something … Continue reading “Why not be a part of a bigger change in the world?” (USA)