thisfilipinoamericanlife

Episode 98 – Filipino Funerals, Spirits, and the Afterlife

Death is a natural part of life.  All of us have experience with death, whether it’s among our family, our friends, or even folks we barely know.  With death comes customs and rituals associated with it that we, the living, perform and practice.  For example, many pre-colonial peoples of the Philippines believed that one had to go through a voyage on a boat to the afterlife.  As such, many coffins and burial jars incorporate a sailing vessel in its design.

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In this episode, the TFAL crew explores funerals, spirits, and the afterlife.  Listen as we discuss Filipino customs such as 9-day novenas, blocking mirrors after someone has passed, and not being able to take food home from a wake.  We also talk about our thoughts about what the afterlife will be like!  With Halloween and Day of the Dead (Araw ng mga Patay) coming up, we thought it would be a good time to discuss some of our Filipino traditions when it comes to the “other world.”

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here or subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts here. For folks who are on Spotify, you can take a listen to us here.

Share some of your experiences with Filipino and Filipino American funeral customs by emailing us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com, or call us at (805) 394-TFAL!

PC: xiaochua.net and ilovephilippines.com.ph

Episode 97 – TFAL Game Show 2: Live at Beatrock’s 10th Anniversary

On Sunday, October 6th, the TFAL crew had the opportunity to be a part of the Beatrock Music 10-Year Anniversary Festival held at the Bootleg Theater in Historic Filipinotown. The crew revisited the fan favorite format of the TFAL Game Show which we introduced in Episode 27.5.

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On this episode we had Beatrock Music artist Faith Santilla, Elmwood Organics owner Wendy Layco, and Vintage Renewals owner Maria Ongpauco competing in this Filipino American History Month and Beatrock Music themed game show.

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In this episode there was audience participation and these festival attendees were able to win these “passed”-alubongs. Listen to the episode for our explanation of what is a “passed-alubong!”

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here or subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts here. For folks who are on Spotify, you can take a listen to us here.

How many questions did you get right? Let us know!  Leave a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL (8325) or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.

Enjoy these photos captured by Producer Mike.  

Episode 96 – Human Trafficking: A Conversation with Damayan and Mairi Nunag

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In early September, Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California (PWC) hosted an anti-human trafficking summit, bringing together survivors, advocates, and leaders from throughout the country.  After two days of workshops, panels, and performances, the participants launched the Baklas campaign (Filipino for dismantle / break free), a national effort to end human trafficking.

Post-summit, TFAL got a chance to sit down with Linda Oalican, Executive Director and Founding Member of Damayan Migrant Workers Association, as well as Lydia Catina, a Case Manager & Organizer, and Edith Mendoza, a Community Organizer & Damayan Migrant Workers Cooperative Coordinator.  Also joining us in the conversation is Mairi Nunag, an educator who came to the US through a Labor Broker that promised teaching jobs but through a scheme not unlike indentured servitude.

Thank you to Wowie at PWC for making this conversation possible.  And since this episode was recorded at PWC and not our usual recording space, there is a slight hum from the air conditioning in the room that we couldn’t completely tune out.  Otherwise, please take a listen, and please share your thoughts in the comments!

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here or subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts here. For folks who are on Spotify, you can take a listen to us here.

PC: AFP and PWC

Episode 95 – Filipino American Gangs, Part 2: Law Enforcement

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Historically, police departments have had a history of tense and even hostile relations with communities of color, with the Los Angeles Police Department as one of the most notorious.  Looking back as far as the 1960’s and 1970’s, the LAPD has had police chiefs at the helm whose approach to law enforcement was not only aggressive, but paramilitary.  What emerged in the later decades from the 80’s into the early 2000’s was an LAPD culture that was “anti-gang” equipped with policies with the intent of harassment, beatings, killings, and making lots of arrests.

Three years ago when we released our third podcast episode – “Filipino American Gangs in SoCal: Where are you from and where are you now?” – we wanted to look back at a time when gang crime was at its peak in California and how it affected Filipino American lives. On this episode, we wanted to extend that conversation. But, this time, we reflect back through eyes of our guest, decorated LAPD Gang Detective, Craig Marquez.  Craig talks to us about growing up in Hawaii, becoming a cop, and, of course, Filipino American gangs.  We look back what policing was like in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, and discuss what it’s evolved to today.  TFAL talks about gang injunctions, the “Rampart Scandal,” systematic oppression of communities of color, and we even share our own experiences growing up not only fearing gangs, but fearing cops.

Whether or not we have mixed emotions about the law enforcement system as a whole, we hope we continue to remain vigilant and hopeful that law enforcement can truly protect and serve ALL people.  Having the presence of Filipino Americans, like Craig, in law enforcement can perhaps be a small step in getting there.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts here. For folks who are on Spotify, you can take a listen to us here.

Have any opinions about Filipino American gangs and law enforcement?  Leave a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL (8325) or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.

Episode 94 – Filipino Americans in Wrestling and Comics: A TFAL & PNGpodcast crossover with Scott Lost

While at San Diego Comic Con this year Elaine and Producer Mike were lucky enough to speak with Scott Lost, former professional wrestler turned comic book artist. Scott is one of the founders of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, an independent wrestling company that has alums such as TJP, the Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, Ricochet, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and more.

After leaving professional wrestling behind Scott founded Accidental Aliens, a San Diego based art studio, creating stories with characters that he always wanted to see in comic books. 

This episode is also a special cross over episode with the new Pencil Neck Geeks podcast on the Geek Say What network. PNG podcast comprises of Berto Ponce (Balut Club founder), Elaine from TFAL, and Justin Mallari of Geek Offensive. PNG podcast will be coming out soon, so follow the show on instagram (@PNGpodcast) for updates!

Episode 93 – The Murder of Joseph Ileto: 20 Years Later

On August 10, 1999, Buford O. Furrow, Jr., a white supremacist, shot and killed JOSEPH ILETO, a Filipino American postal worker in Chatsworth, CA, after firing 70 shots inside the North Valley Jewish Community Center with a semi-automatic weapon.  Ileto had just delivered mail to a home when Furrow approached him and asked if Ileto could mail a letter for him. Furrow then shot Ileto nine times. Furrow later admitted that he shot Ileto because he worked for the federal government and “looked Latino or Asian.”

In this episode, half of the TFAL crew talks to members of the Ileto family – Ismael and Deena Ileto – and discuss keeping Joseph’s memory alive through their advocacy against hate.  Also, joining the Ileto family is Stewart Kwoh, longtime national Asian American community leader.  Listen as they discuss Joseph’s tragic killing, their thrust into community advocacy, their plea to the Filipino community to stop being complacent, and the frustration towards the lack of political accountability for the ongoing hate-fueled mass shootings that seemingly have no end.

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Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts here. For folks who are on Spotify, you can listen to us here.

If you remember that day or you have an opinion on hate crimes and mass shootings, email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com or call our voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL (8325).

“Joy is Here”: A Review of Hello, Love, Goodbye

Hello, Love, Goodbye is breaking box office records in the Philippines, and now it’s making waves throughout the diaspora.

The film centers on Joy (Kathryn Bernardo), a domestic helper living and working in Hong Kong, and her determination to fulfill the responsibilities to her family in the Philippines. She then meets Ethan (Alden Richards), a Filipino immigrant in Hong Kong working as a bartender, who, unlike Joy, skirts many of his responsibilities to his family. The two meet, fall in love, then…life happens.

 

It’s easy to see why the movie has won the hearts of many Filipinos worldwide. Yes, Filipinos love their romance films, but Hello, Love, Goodbye also reminds audiences of the realities so many Filipinos face. Amidst the love between the couple is the harrowing life of an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) and the various ways the two have to navigate through the social, legal, and geographic boundaries that separate them from so many people. The film sheds additional light on the realities of living abroad and the seemingly impossible ways of finding and sustaining love transnationally. It’s not your typical melo-drama about OFWs, nor is it just another sappy Filipino rom-com. Instead, filmmaker Cathy Garcia-Molina brilliantly takes the best elements of both genres and fuses them together to make an emotional-laden, yet entertaining film.

The acting of Kathryn Bernardo certainly carries the film, particularly through the roller coaster emotions Joy felt during her journey. Alden Richards was a bit more stoic in character, but he still serves as a suitable love interest. Additionally, as a Filipino film, family is a big element for both characters’ lives. Garcia-Molina successfully lines out the main plot narratives that demonstrate Joy and Ethan’s obligations of family that complicate their love for each other.  Garcia-Molina also employs artistic filmmaking devices that gives the film a very poetic touch.

By no means is Hello, Love, Goodbye perfect. Some of the subplots are a bit excessive: three disabled characters, both stars’ ex-partners make an appearance, and a run-away cousin. One can also do without the romantically-laced music in the background of almost every conversation between Joy and Ethan. Also, Bernardo and Richards’s light skin color aren’t exactly the prototypical among Filipinos living in Hong Kong (but that’s certainly a larger and ongoing issue in Philippine society).

Yet, despite these minor glitches, the movie works best as an expanded view of OFW life. Most films centered on OFWs highlight the horrific elements – an abusive employer, spoiled children left home, or cheating spouses. One particular scene in the movie is even an ode the classic OFW film, Anak. We see Joy and her friends watching quintessential scene in Anak (2000), where Vilma Santos, in an Oscar award-worthy performance, painstakingly explains to her daughter the tremendous sacrifice she has to make for her family as an OFW. We are thus reminded that the OFW experience of hardship continues on in this global economy, with no concrete end in sight.

While this movie touches on some of these elements, Hello, Love, Goodbye also conveys that OFWs maintain humanity and happiness amidst the chaos and injustice abroad. Throughout the movie, the characters live full lives. Though their life situations are not ideal, they can still unwind at a bar at night, they can poke fun at their friends, and they can enter beauty contents. But most of all, like Joy, they can fall in love.

 

Hello, Love, Goodbye is playing in theaters throughout the U.S. and Canada.  For theater listings, click here.

Episode 92 – Fading Cultural Practices

Do you still mano po?  Do you still call your siblings ate/kuya or manang/manong/ading?  Do you know the recipes that your grandparents used in their cooking? Do you miss the local Filipino restaurant or store that no longer exists?  Do you wear barongs or baro’t saya? What markers of Filipino culture do you still preserve in your family and community?

As Filipino Americans, many cultural practices that many of us grew up with may be slowly fading away.  Some may completely vanish, but others may still be preserved.  Many practices may even take on new forms, yet keep the same meaning behind them.  Change is inevitable in this fast-paced world, but what cultural practices get preserved in our community and why?  In this episode, the TFAL crew discusses some cultural practices that our parents and grandparents may have passed on to us, but are slowly changing due to the realities of living in the United States.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts here. For folks who are on Spotify, you can take a listen to us here.

What aspects of Filipino culture have faded away?  What aspects do you still practice? Let us know by leaving a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL (8325) or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.

(Photo credit: thinkingwithb.blogspot.com)

Episode 91 – TFAL talks Paleontology: It’s not just Dinosaurs!

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Did you know that Paleontology is more than just dinosaurs? If so, YAY for you! When the opportunity to talk to a Filipino American paleontologist came about it got Elaine excited to talk all things dinosaurs, which is exactly what happens in the beginning of this episode.

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Luckily TFAL talks story with Gabe Santos, Filipino American paleontologist on staff at the Alf Museum of Paleontology based out of Claremont, CA. Gabe shares his journey from bio major to paleontology and how a trip to the Natural History Museum inspired this whole process. He is also the founder of Cosplay for Science, a STEAM-powered science community initiative that reveals the real hidden science in fandoms that was featured in this article: Teaching Science Through Cosplay.

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here , or subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts here. For folks who are on Spotify, you can take a listen to us here.

Have you ever thought about being a paleontologist? Are you a cosplayer using your talents for education? Let us know by leaving a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL (8325) or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.

Episode 90 – SDCC 2019 Panel: Filipinx in Podcasting

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Photo by Producer Mike

This year TFAL’s Elaine and Producer Mike got to take in the magic that is San Diego Comic Con (SDCC).  The panel was hosted by Diverse Geeks in Focus with Alix Catherine (host – Ready Set Geek!) moderating the panel of Gemma Vidal (host – Diverse Geeks in Focus),  Justin Quizon (Screen Rant, That Hashtag Show), Earl Baylon (Tomb Raider Series, Pangeekery), JPG (CEO – Geek Say What? Network), & Elaine Dolalas (host – This Filipino American Life).

Thank you to Diverse Geeks in Focus for the opportunity to be on this panel and to share our Filipinx American stories with the SDCC audience!

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts here. For folks who are on Spotify, you can take a listen to us here.