Month: June 2019

Episode 87 – Filipino Americans in the PBA: TFAL Talks to Former PBA Star Tony De La Cruz

It’s no secret that Filipinos are obsessed with basketball.  Same goes for Filipino Americans.  Ask many Filipino Americans and more likely than not, they LOVE basketball.  TFAL even did an episode on it.  Did you know that several hundred Filipino Americans are in the Philippines playing basketball in the college, minor leagues, and the PBA? When the NBA seems out of reach for most, many Filipino Americans strive to join the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).


What are the experiences of Filipino American ballers in the Philippines?  What is it like to move away from the U.S. to pursue their hoop dreams?  In this special TFAL episode from the Philippines, we speak with former PBA star Tony De La Cruz about his journey to the PBA.  He talks being among the first Filipino American players to join the PBA, the culture shock he experienced when moving to the Philippines, his current role as a basketball and life coach, and his views about Filipino-style of basketball and basketball in general.  He also discusses his battle with depression and the importance of mental health among Filipinos.  Tony truly believes that basketball is an apt metaphor for life.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

Tony is truly an inspiration and it was a honor to interview him.  He welcomed Joe and Gerlie to his lovely home and we broke bread with him.  Though the premise of the interview was basketball, our conversation was so much more.  We hope you enjoy this episode.

Episode 86 – Filipino Americans Doing Business in the Philippines: TFAL Talks to Roland Ros of Kumu and Carmel Laurino of Kalsada Coffee

As a Filipino American, have you ever considered moving to the Philippines?  Whether you were born in the diaspora or moved from the Philippines as a small child, does the Philippines ever “call to you?” If you’ve ever contemplated it, you should check out this episode about two Filipino Americans who moved to the motherland to set up socially-conscious businesses.


In May, Joe and Resident Reality Checker Gerlie was able to carve out some time during their Philippine vacation to speak with a couple of Manila’s newest Fil Am residents. In this TFAL episode, we speak to Roland Ros of Kumu, the hottest social streaming app to hit the Philippines (download it now!). We also speak to Carmel Laurino of Kalsada Coffee, a company that supports Filipino coffee producers in their efforts to bring Philippine coffee to the world. Listen as these two talk about the reasons why they decided to move to the Philippines, how they work with local entrepreneurs to set up their respective businesses, and how they come to terms with their Fil Am privilege.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

Do you have any urge to move to the Philippines?  Let us know by leaving a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL (8325) or email us at

P.S. This is the photo of early Philippine coffee importers in Seattle that Carmel referenced in the interview.

Pike Place-crop_main

(Image courtesy of Museum of History and Industry)

Episode 85 – Filipino Ethnic Enclaves: Do They Exist? Do We Need Them?

Despite efforts to create Filipino ethnic enclaves – Historic Filipinotown in LA, SoMa Pilipinas in San Francisco, Filipino Village in National City, Little Manila in Toronto, etc. – a common narrative out there is that Filipinos do not have a discernible ethnic enclave. Even heavy Filipino-populated suburban cities such as Daly City, Carson, Vallejo, Jersey City, etc. are not majority Filipino and arguably do not have a markedly Filipino character, economic activity, or cultural identity like say a Chinatown, Japantown, Little India, or Koreatown.  Are they considered Filipino ethnic enclaves?


In this TFAL episode, the crew discuss Filipino ethnic enclaves in the United States.  Do enclaves – in the common American immigration context – exist?  Are they necessary? What would Filipino Americans gain or lose if a Filipino ethnic enclave existed? Are current geographies – where Filipinos are largely scattered in a metropolitan area with some concentrations in certain urban neighborhoods and suburban cities – adequate for the Filipino American community? We also talk about Joe’s early – and quite embarrassing – obsession on Filipinotowns.


Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

Here is the picture of the Joe’s drawing referenced in the episode.  Please remember that Joe was 15 when he drew this. =)

Filipinotown Design 1996-Joe(1)

We only scratch the surface on this subject and admittedly neglect certain topics.  For a more in-depth analysis on Filipino ethnic enclaves, feel free to download Joe’s dissertation about Filipino American racial space in Los Angeles.