Month: May 2022

Episode 168 – TFAL Goes to Chicago: Entrepreneurship, NFTs, and Sneakers with Francis Almeda and Jeff Masangcay

This episode rounds out the TFAL crew’s trip to the midwest. On this episode we talk to Francis Almeda, a Chicago based entrepreneur who owns Side Practice Coffee, Reppin Pins, and Filipinoadz. Francis explains what it was like to open a coffee shop in the middle of a pandemic. He also enlightens the crew on what NFTs are and how they work. Make sure to take note of the special TFAL code word that gets you something special at Side Practice Coffee! 

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Side Practice Coffee, 5139 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60625


The second interview in this episode is with Jeff Masangcay, founder of the non-profit Bata Sole. Bata Sole aims to collect & distribute new & used athletic shoes to impoverished communities. This journey originated from a trip Jeff took with his family to the Philippines. The trip sparked the idea for the non-profit and later Camp Sole, a youth basketball camp that also instills values of caring for your community. This conversation may lead to a few controversial basketball opinions (please note these are the sole opinions of Joe Bernardo and Joe Bernardo alone). 

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Listen or download the episode through the embedded player on this page, find us on Mixcloud or subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts here. And for folks on Spotify, you can listen to us here.


Many thanks to the Filipino American community in the Chicago area. The team only scratched the surface on what Chicago has to offer. Where should the TFAL crew travel to next? Leave us a voicemail and let us know 805.394.TFAL or email us at



Episode 167 – TFAL Goes to Chicago: Arts, Politics, and Community with Ginger Leopoldo and Mark Calaguas

One of the great things about traveling to a different city like Chicago aside from eating the wonderful food and visiting a Michael Jordan monument, is meeting people who have done tremendous work uplifting the Filipino American community.

First, we got a chance to talk to Ginger Leopoldo to talk about what it’s like to grow up in different Chicago neighborhoods and learn about different cultures and what it’s like to raise a family in the Windy City.  She also shares some insight about the organization Circa Pintig, their work, and how art challenges community thought as well as gathers community together. Check out Circa Pintig’s YouTube channel here
In the second part of the episode, we got to talk to longtime listener and supporter of TFAL, Mark Calaguas, Board President of Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) and active member of Filipino American Lawyers Association in Chicago (FALA Chicago) and NFALA, it’s National parent organization.  Mark explains his path from his hometown of Detroit to fighting for marginalized groups and advocacy for Filipino Americans in Chicago.
Through these conversations we see similar issues that Filipino Americans face across the United States, and also some of the nuanced experiences of Filipino Americans in the Chicago/Midwest area. What was not in the episode – Ginger and Mark brought us some presents and goodies.  Bottom line, a good time was had by all as we continue to realize…we’re all in this together.
Listen or download the episode through the embedded player on this page, find us on Mixcloud or subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts here. And for folks on Spotify, you can take a listen to us here.

Episode 166 – TFAL Goes to Chicago: Traveling to Chi-Town

The TFAL Crew is in Chicago!  Over the next three episodes, TFAL brings you to the capitol of the Midwest!  We will talk to some of the city’s community leaders and small business owners and discuss what the MIdwest Filipino American experience is all about.

In this introductory episode, the TFAL crew discusses traveling for the first time since the pandemic and all of the anxiety that fuels.  We also talk about our thoughts about being in Chicago and meeting our Chi-Town TPals during our meet-up.  And of course we discuss Joe’s LOVE of Michael Jordan and the ongoing G.O.A.T. debate.

(Joe’s commentary: Fuck that.  There is no love there.  Michael Jordan is the most overrated athlete in history.  His mystique is fueled by corporate interests – Nike, Gatorade, Hanes, etc. – that emphatically clouded the minds of the populace and elides any rational thought of how basketball actually operates.  Michael Jordan is the ultimate epitome of false idolatry.  If you want to read the conclusive article about the MJ sham, here is a piece I wrote a few years ago!)

Uh…OK.  Thanks, Joe.  On to the show?

Listen or download the episode through the embedded player on this page, find us on Mixcloud or subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts here. And for folks on Spotify, you can take a listen to us here.

What’s your experience in Chicago?  Have you traveled since the Pandemic?  Let us know by leaving a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL or emailing us at!

This episode is sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services.  Go to for further vaccine info and find a vaccine near you.