Episode Archives

In the Belly of the Eagle: Man@ng is Deity Reminds Filipino Americans of Their Important Past

“Everybody doesn’t have to be a hero; everybody doesn’t have to be famous. Each person who’s Filipino American, to me, is very, very important as a story… Our stories are really in our people. It’s not so much in what the achievements are…as much as what is the story itself.” – the late Fred Cordova, co-founder of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS)

Everyone Filipino American has a story. Certainly, those who came before us had stories. Descendants of the Manong generation and students of Filipino American history may recall the history of the thousands of Filipinos who traversed the Pacific Ocean to make life in Depression-era America. During their heyday between the 1920s and 1960s, many Filipino Americans of this generation spent their lives picking fruits and vegetables in the Central Valley, canning salmon in Alaska, and bussing tables in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Mostly male, they came as laborers and faced the harsh reality of racism, anti-miscegenation, and poverty. Yet, they lived out more meaningful lives. Despite their bleak situation, these young pioneers shined in taxi dance halls, led labor strikes, built fraternal bonds, raised families, and developed long-lasting institutions. The Manong generation forged a community and identity lasting decades. Theirs is a story that too few know and remember.

Alleluia Panis pays tribute to the Manong generation and fights for their memory in her latest innovative work, In the Belly of the Eagle: Man@ng is Deity. The multimedia dance performance centers on Manong Valentino Pablo who, in his deathbed, experiences flashbacks of his earlier days in early 20th century San Francisco. Through dance performances, original music by Joshua Icban, and media art by Wilfred Galila, Man@ng is Deity communicates both the struggles and joys Pablo and so many of his contemporaries faced during their lifetimes. Through it all, Panis captures the resiliency of this increasingly forgotten generation of Filipino Americans, something in which all people – Filipino or not – can find inspiration.

Man@ng is Deity is truly a testament to Panis’ artistic creativity, passion for inclusion, and commitment to the Filipino American community. Like the Manong generation, Panis is a pioneer in her own right. For over three decades, Panis has contributed to the arts canon with more than 20 full-length collaborative dance theater works presented on stages throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Her work precedes and inspires this current age of #GoldOpen and #MyYellowFaceStory, when present-day audiences are voting with their money and demanding more diverse representation in the arts sector.

Panis joins many Filipino Americans – from Carlos Bulosan to Dorothy and Fred Cordova to Dawn Mabalon – in expanding the body of work of telling the Manong generation’s story. While so much of our Filipino American narrative points to our present day struggles of erasure and invisibility, we must not do the same to those who came before us. Filipino American history is vast; more than we realize. We must remember and honor it. Alleluia Panis’ Man@ng is Deity just does that.

 

In the Belly of the Eagle: Man@ng is Deity premieres March 22-24 at Bindlestiff Studios, 185 6th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.

 

SHOWTIMES

March 22 & 23 at 7:30pm

March 24 at 2:30pm

TICKETS

$20 in advance

$25 at the door

For tickets go to http://manongisdeity.eventbrite.ca.

About Kularts:

Founded in 1985, Kulintang Arts, Inc., now known popularly as Kularts, is the premier presenter of contemporary and tribal Pilipino arts in the United States. Through three decades of service, Kularts has grown into a leading elder arts organization, uniting generations of artists and community activists in a common effort to build a collective space and sense of belonging within San Francisco, specifically the SOMA Pilipinas: Filipino Cultural Heritage District. Kularts creates work that makes visible the contributions of Pilipino Americans and creates room for cultural continuity and knowledge.

About Bindlestiff Studio:

Bindlestiff Studio cultivates artists who reflect and celebrate the diverse values, traditions, and histories of Pilipino and Filipino American cultures through bold artistic expression and community engagement. Originally opened in 1989, Bindlestiff became the only permanent, community-based performing arts venue in the nation dedicated to showcasing emerging Filipino American and Pilipino artists. The studio provides the often under-served Filipino American community access to diverse offerings in theatrical productions, music and film festivals, workshops in directing, production, acting, stand-up comedy, and writing, as well as a children and youth theater program.

About Alleluia Panis:

Alleluia Panis has received awards for her choreography from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, California Arts Council, New Langton Arts, and Creative Work Fund. She has created over twenty full-length dance theater works since 1985, which have been performed on main stages in the United States, Europe and Asia, including the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Dance Theater Workshop, Singapore Arts Festival, and Verona Arts Fest – Italy. Her work was recently nominated for two Isadora Duncan Awards in ‘Outstanding Achievement in Performance’, and ‘Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design, for ‘Incarcerated 6×9’ (2018).

About Wilfred Galila:

Wilfred Galila makes use of a variety of media for storytelling and art making. His films have been screened at the 23rd and 26th annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. As a media artist, he has collaborated with dance artist Alleluia Panis on the multimedia dance theater productions She, Who Can See (2015) and Incarcerated 6×9 (2018, nominated for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design – Isadora Duncan Dance Awards), as well as the dance film She, Who Can See (2017) that was screened at CAAMFest in 2018. Galila is mounting a multimedia art installation piece as a commissioned artist by Kularts for the Postcolonial Survival Toolkit exhibition and series of events at The Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco in May 2019.

About Joshua Icban:

Joshua Icban is a composer based in Vallejo, California. As a creator, his work focuses on the intrinsic relationship between memory, history and identity. Josh is also a regularly performing guitarist who plays in a number of projects and groups in the Bay Area. Past credits include the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco State Gospel Choir, Afro-Cuban Ensemble He has served as composer/arranger & music director for Awesome Orchestra and Bindlestiff Studios and has had his work as sound designer featured in spaces such as Counterpulse and the Asian Art Museum. He recently graduated with an MA in ethnomusicology at CSU East Bay and teaches private lessons in the North Bay.

Episode 77 (33.5) – Healthy Filipino Cooking: A Conversation with RG Enriquez of Astig Vegan

We talk a lot about food on the podcast (and in life) partly because it’s fun, but also because it creates discussion about recipes, deliciousness, and creativity. Filipino cuisine continues to evolve. Creative home cooks and chefs alike are more mindful about available ingredients relative to their geography and health benefits of delicious alternatives.

If you ask most Filipinos of what popular Filipino dishes look like, the majority will likely have meat in them (lechon, adobo, dinuguan).  Clearly, none of those are vegan, but are you able to imagine kare kare that’s completely vegan? Or having bagoong (shrimp paste), that’s completely made without any shrimp?  What would our health be like if we removed (even a little bit) the meat from our favorite Filipino dishes?

That’s exactly what chef RG Enriquez from the blog, Astig Vegan, talks about on this episode as she talks to the TFAL crew from San Francisco. RG is a vegan Filipina who re-imagines and creates vegan Filipino dishes. RG believes that Filipino food can be vegan, healthy and delicious without losing its soul!  Find out which is our favorite spice, why some of us have changed our eating habits; and join us in discovering with RG some Filipino dishes that are traditionally vegan and we just didn’t even think about it.

And, let’s face it – we just want our food to taste delicious, right? But we also want them to be healthy and nutritious as well!  Hopefully, you’re flexible enough to try vegan Filipino dishes and check out RG’s YouTube channel for some awesome recipes.

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

Do you want to eat healthier?  Are you vegan?  Tell us your story!  Call us and leave a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL (8325), or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.

Episode 76 (33) – When Filipino Pride Goes Wrong…

Most of us have some ounce of Filipino pride.  “Successes” by other Filipinos such as Bruno Mars, Jordan Clarkson, and Catriona Gray become “successes” for us.  Because Filipinos are constantly rendered invisible in the Western world, we tend to internalize these victories as our own.  But what happens when fellow Filipinos do something “embarrassing”?  Countless incidents in our past – Pacquiao’s anti-LGBT comments, Filipino divers, the 1992 Philippine Little League Team, Marcos, Duterte, etc. – have cause an unwanted spotlight on us.

In this TFAL episode, we discuss those moments that make Filipinos and Filipino Americans feel “not so proud.”  How do we feel about it? How do we handle it?  Does our pride remain incognito, then emerge when something goes right?  Are we simply out for global recognition rather than internal legitimation?  What does this tell us about “Filipino Pride” (nationalism) in the diaspora at its root?  Why is representing an entire Filipino nation our cross to bear?  We explore some of these questions and more in this latest episode.

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

What do you do when Filipinos are viewed in an infamous light?  Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

Episode 75 (32.5) – Pinoy Basements: A Conversation with Filipino American Actor Eugene Cordero

You might recognize Eugene Cordero from roles in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Wrecked, or the film The Mule. The TFAL crew love him as Pillboi in The Good Place. On this episode the TFAL crew chats it up with Eugene and learn about his path into comedy and improv. We also find out how he convinced his parents to let him go to college to study theater. And what goes down in a Filipino basement! For us California kids, this basement conversation was quite insightful!

You can catch Eugene currently on Showtime’s Black Monday. You’ll also be able to find him in TACOMA FD, a new series on truTV, by the crew that created Super Troopers.

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

Do you have a Filipino basement? What happens in your basement? What have you sold as fundraiser for school? Let us know by emailing us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com or call our voicemail (805) 394-TFAL.

Take a moment to watch the short film we mention in the episode ASWANG NEXT DOOR and the Spinning Beach Ball of Death prank that Eugene was a part of with Improv Everywhere

Episode 74 (32) – TFAL Live at Cinema Sala: Filipino Films with Marie Jamora

During the holiday season, TFAL was invited by the good folks at Cinema Sala to record a podcast episode live in front of an audience. As a first attempt at a live show, this mini-episode looks at the handful of Filipino films on Netflix.  Filmmaker Marie Jamora joins the crew to discuss films like Heneral Luna, BuyBust, and Bird Shot, as well as the state of Filipino film distribution outside of the Philippines.  Listen to our armchair, half-assed internet researched critiques of these films, our dark meat vs. white meat debate, and Ryan’s knowledge of bomba flicks.

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

What do you think about the films that are on Netflix?  How do you watch Filipino films?  Let us know by emailing us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com or call our voicemail (805) 394-TFAL.

Big shout out to Marie Jamora for inviting us to join Cinema Sala!

Episode 73 (31.5) – Reflections on Beauty Pageants and Miss Universe Catriona Gray

Though beauty pageants in the Philippines can be traced back to the celebration of Santacruzan and other religious festivals, modern beauty pageants, emerged out of the Manila Carnival, an annual event during the early 1900s.  According to scholar Genevieve Clutario, the queen contest became a platform where both Filipino nationalists’ and American colonial officials attempted to redefine Filipina femininity and with it, the image of the Filipino nation.  Today, beauty pageants are a fixture in almost every Filipino celebration from the small town fiesta, to the ever-popular Miss Universe contest.

In this episode of TFAL, the crew, with special guests Gerlie Collado and Kat Carrido-Bonds, discuss the pervasive cultural phenomenon of beauty pageants in the Philippines and the impact of Catriona Gray’s Miss Universe win on Filipinos everywhere.  Why were so many Filipinos ecstatic over Gray’s victory?  What does her win say about the Filipino nation?  Why are pageants so pervasive in the Philippines?  Can we simply ignore beauty pageants as spectacles of patriarchal notions of femininity?  Or are there more nuanced aspects to such extravagance?

We discuss these topics and more in this episode!  Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here, or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

Have any thoughts on beauty pageants? Leave us a voicemail at 805-394-TFAL (8325) or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.

PLEASE NOTE: We are slowly veering away from the “.5” numbering system of the episodes, in case you’re wondering where episodes 32-72 are.

Episode 31 – TFAL Goes to SD: Community Organizing w/ DJ Kuttin Kandi, Kirin Macapugay, and Ree Obana; Filipino American Apparel w/ Zar Javier of Kampeon Co.

 

We conclude our San Diego interviews with community organizers DJ Kuttin Kandi, Kirin Macapugay, and Ree Obana. In this discussion we highlight the issues that these womxn currently center their work around. Kirin and Ree give their perspectives as born and raised Pinxys, while Kandi discusses her experience as a transplant from Queens, NY by way of the Bay area. You may also know Kandi from her time as a member of DJ team champions 5th Platoon. The TFAL crew discuss the work that Kandi, Kirin, and Ree presently do with the Paradise Hills community, Asians for Black Lives San Diego, and Asian Solidarity Collective.

From PNoy Apparel to Kampeon Co, the TFAL crew gets to know Filipino American business owner Zar Javier.  Zar highlights how Pnoy Apparel was founded and its transition from its early days as a t-shirt/streetwear brand to branching out and growing into Kampeon Co.  The company will be celebrating their 20 year anniversary in 2019. Be on the look out for exciting things!

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

Thank you San Diego for your hospitality. We only scratched the surface. Where should we head next? Who should we talk to? Have thoughts or suggestions? Leave us a voicemail at 805-394-TFAL (8325).

Episode 30.5 – TFAL Goes to SD: Filipino American Politics with SD Councilmember Chris Cate; Broadcast Journalism with KGTV Newscaster Melissa Mecija

Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diego, which of course in German means a whale’s vagina.” – Ron Burgundy

Anchorman jokes aside, San Diego has a long history, and Filipinos have been a significant part of it.  Largely attracted to the region because of the large naval presence, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos have been migrating “Daygo” since the early 20th century.  The last census counted close to 93,000 Filipino Americans living in the city of San Diego and over 182,000 living in San Diego County, making it one of the largest Filipino regions in the United States.  Naturally, it became one of the must-visited places for TFAL.

In the next couple of episodes, we talk to some of the movers and shakers of San Diego’s Filipino American community.  The first installment features a short introductory interview with USD Professor of Political Science, Alan Segui, and interviews with Councilmember Chris Cate, the first Filipino Councilmember of San Diego, and Melissa Mecija, news anchor for KGTV Channel 10, San Diego’s ABC affiliate.  Find out why many flock to San Diego, how we can get more Filipinos involved in electoral politics, and what it takes to be a newscaster in today’s multimedia world.  And of course, hilarity will ensue.

 

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

Part 2 of our trip to San Diego coming soon!

Episode 30 – Creative Writing w/ Jason Magabo Perez

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The pen is mightier than the sword, they say.  And in our history, the pen has certainly been very powerful.  The Illustrados who started the Propaganda Movement, which included Jose Rizal’s novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, sparked the rise of Philippine nationalism and the Revolution during the late 19th century.  Carlos Bulosan with his quintessential novel America is in the Heart and his other writings forever cemented the history and legacy of the Manongs for future generations of Filipino American generations.  And today, numerous Filipino American writers, poets, and musicians continue the writing tradition to spark social change.

In this TFAL episode, we talk to Jason Magabo Perez, writer, poet, and Professor of Creative Writing at Cal State San Bernardino.  We discuss the power of writing, the re-emergence of the Filipino American spoken word movement during the 1990s/2000s, and pedagogy of creative writing – if there is such a thing.  We also have time to talk about the relevance of Zack Morris to young Filipino American graduates and the significance of his mother’s fight for justice for our community in the U.S. v. Narciso-Perez court case.

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

Do you have any writing that you’d like to share?  Email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com and maybe we’ll publish it on our blog!

Check out more of Jason’s work on his website: http://www.jasonmagaboperez.com.

 

Bonus Episode – A Conversation with Geena Rocero

On this bonus episode the TFAL crew has a conversation with Geena Rocero, the trans activist, model, producer, and founder of GenderProud, her advocacy and production company that is committed to tell trans-focused and trans-specific stories.   We learn about Geena’s life as a trans beauty queen in the Philippines, her journey to creating a new life in San Francisco, and how she went from passing to coming out as trans through her widely viewed TED talk in 2014.

Geena is also a contributor to American Like Me : Reflections of Life Between Cultures.  This compilation of stories curated by America Ferrera reflects what it is like for 31 of her friends, peers, and heroes. Make sure to pick up your copy of American Like Me and read Geena’s story after you check out this episode of TFAL.

For folks looking for resources here are links to a few of the organizations we talk about in this episode:

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Many thanks to Visual Communications for hosting our conversation and welcoming Geena to Little Tokyo

Random fact: We learned that Geena is also a big fan of Ruby Ibarra. She raps the along lyrics to US just like we do!

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You can also catch Geena on tour with Together Live and Hello Sunshine, Reese Witherspoon’s media brand who’s mission is to tell stories centered around women.

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

What are your suggestions with supporting our trans family and friends? Leave us a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.