I was born in the Philippines at a particular hospital1 that the 2009 Typhoon Ondoy2 flooded and was spread all over YouTube with one of my mother’s high school best friends being the gynecologist responsible for my birth. I lived my first five years of my life in the Philippines in Quezon City, then my next five years my family and I moved to Las Pinas (I’m still used to saying Metro Manila rather than Las Pinas City… shows how long I’ve been away from the old home country) before we ended up here in the U.S. Back then, I had a rather normal childhood until the Philippine People Power Revolution3 in 1986 occurred.4 There were many inner conflicts within the family regarding this crisis in terms of which side of the two warring parties should become the president of the overly troubled land. Of course, I was still a kid then and didn’t understand what on earth was going on but I knew a lot of people were unjustly dying, suffering and a lot of people were getting killed just because they have different opinions opposing to the policies of the government at that day, but in some ways I felt rather brainwashed when everyone else in my elementary school were wearing yellow and making the “L” signs.5 My dad finally got his immigration visa approved just a few months after the revolution ended. The year after on Valentine’s Day, my family and I migrated to the U.S. to live a new life.
According to the Urban Dictionary, I am a 6 categorized under 100% FOB-ulous Oriental Being. In other words, I’m not ashamed if I have an accent when I speak English (though many say that I barely have any accent) and I’m not ashamed to like anything that’s not mainstream. I’m very well aware of my Asian identity and roots and thus keep an eye on certain Asian pop cultures. It helps keeping in touch with who I am and where I came from while still have all rights to call myself an American. I’m not ashamed because I’m cool like that. All you haters out there know you’re all jealous. You love our cuisine and some pop culture (ie. the eclectic languages and writing systems, video games, anime/manga, music, etc.)… and you know you’re jealous because we’re a lot younger than our own actual ages. Ha!
Tagalog (Filipino) is my native language. English is my second language. Spanish became my third language but more on a proficient level. Japanese is my fourth language, somewhat proficient, but I’ve been very focused on becoming proficient-to-fluent on this language. I hope one day I would get to learn new languages, like Hawaiian (yup!), Korean, German. French sounds too nasal for me and Chinese of any type of dialect intimidates me.
Though I still embrace my original roots, I also do embrace being American. In fact, somehow by adapting some of the American mentality made me a better person. There are some types of Filipino mentality7 that I really don’t like or even see myself identifying to that. But that personal rant of mine will come at a later time.
- UERM [↩]
- aka Typhoon Ketsana to the rest of the world. [↩]
- 1986 EDSA Revolution [↩]
- I think this should also give you an idea regarding my age… :| [↩]
- If you’re familiar with this piece of Philippine history you should already know what the yellow color and the “L” signs mean… [↩]
- “fresh off the boat” – racist/derogatory term for Asian immigrants and refugees. I really hate this term personally, as I’ve been called that since I started middle school, even up until 7th grade… [↩]
- You know what I’m talking about— the whole colonial mentality and the crab mentality and the whole “me first” mentality thing— with those kinds of mindsets combined it only makes Filipinos look like idiots to the eyes of the rest of the world. No kidding. [↩]