Episode Archives

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.

 

Episode 89 – “Alam ko na kaya mo”: Experiences of Filipino “Positive” Parenting

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The TFAL crew is reunited in studio after a few months of travels to Canada and the Philippines.  This episode is inspired by a The Tagalog Project Instagram post that highlighted positive Pilipino Praises. When TFAL shared this post the feedback was on a certain theme. “Positive” parenting seemed like a foreign concept to several TPALs.

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While Filipino parents may not show their love through these phrases, they may do so through other ways like asking “Kumakain ka na? Did you eat yet?” In this episode we highlight our experiences or lack there of with “positive” parenting.

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 are your experiences with positive parenting? Are you a parent now? Have you started using similar phrases? Let us know by leaving a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL (8325) or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.


Headed to San Diego Comic Con? Join us at the Filipinx Voices in Podcasting Panel!  by Diverse Geeks in Focus, Gemma Vidal (host – Diverse Geeks in Focus), Alix Catherine (host – Ready Set Geek!), Justin Quizon (Screen Rant, That Hashtag Show), Elaine Dolalas (host – This Filipino American Life), Earl Baylon (Tomb Raider Series, Pangeekery), & JPG (CEO – Geek Say What? Network) will talk about how they represent the Filipinx diaspora in the podcasting world, tell stories that are uniquely our own, and how Filipinx voices fit into geek culture overall.

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The panel will be hosted at:

Neil Morgan Auditorium, San Diego Central Public Library

330 Park Blvd, Downtown, San Diego, California 92101

Friday, July 19, 5-6pm

More info can be found here: TFAL at San Diego Comic Con 2019


Want to check out CLARITA, the film we talk about at the top of the episode? Here’s the trailer! Head to their website for screening locations: CLARITA

TFAL at San Diego Comic Con 2019

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TFAL is going to San Diego Comic Con this week, and to celebrate, we’ll have these exclusive #SDCC2019 Sticker Packs! 

So how do you get your hands on one of these?  Just look for Elaine and Producer Mike!

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This is what they looked like the last time they went to SDCC in 2011. 

But where can you find them?

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At the Filipinx Voices in Podcasting Panel, of course!  Hosted by Diverse Geeks in Focus, Gemma Vidal (host – Diverse Geeks in Focus), Alix Catherine (host – Ready Set Geek!), Justin Quizon (Screen Rant, That Hashtag Show), Elaine Dolalas (host – This Filipino American Life), Earl Baylon (Tomb Raider Series, Pangeekery), & JPG (CEO – Geek Say What? Network) will talk about how they represent the Filipinx diaspora in the podcasting world, tell stories that are uniquely our own, and how Filipinx voices fit into geek culture overall.

The panel will be hosted at:

Neil Morgan Auditorium, San Diego Central Public Library

330 Park Blvd, Downtown, San Diego, California 92101

Friday, July 19, 5-6pm

After the panel, say hello and let us know you want a sticker pack! Sticker packs are $5 each. We take Venmo, PayPal, and good old fashioned Cash!  

Also….

NEW PATREON SPECIAL! 

If you sign up to be a patreon on the spot at any level, just show us the email confirmation and we’ll give you a sticker pack FOR FREE!! 

You can sign up at https://www.patreon.com/TFALpodcast

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We can’t wait to join folks in San Diego this week. What artists or booths are you excited to check out? Let us know! 805-394-TFAL (8325) or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.

 

Episode 88 – Colorism in the Filipino Community

Don’t play out in the sun.  You’ll get too dark!”

Most Filipinos have heard this phrase from parents or elders numerous times when they were children.  For Filipino Americans, this phrase might strike a chord as an example of Filipinos’ preference for lighter skin.  For some, it may conjure up memories of being bullied, traumatized, and socially excluded for having darker skin.  For others, the phrase may simply be a reminder of how to maintain a certain privilege for having lighter skin.  Regardless of one’s memory of that phrase, skin tone has unfortunately shaped all of our lives.

Colorism, the prejudice and discrimination based on skin tone, is a centuries-old practice of class stratification in many societies.  In the Philippines, light-skinned folks have a tremendous amount of social privilege compared to those who are dark-skinned.  Filipino celebrities, for example, go to great lengths to maintain the light-skin tone in contradistinction to their largely dark-skinned audience.  As such, colorism has fueled a multi-billion dollar world-wide industry based on skin-lightening products.  But where and how did it originate?

Colorism predates European colonialism and has been prevalent in many complex societies all over the world where field and domestic labor under the sun is not valued highly.  The practice of binukot among the Panay Bukidnon, for example, where young women were shielded from the sun in order to attract higher suitors, predates Spanish arrival in the Philippines. Nonetheless, three centuries of colonialism has solidified and exacerbated colorism in Philippine society.  Colorism is a sad reality and it affects many people, including Filipino Americans.

However, folks like Asia Jackson and her #MagandangMorenx movement and the backlash from colorist ad campaigns from skin lightening products have made inroads into trying to change the cultural perception that light-skinned is better.  Many Filipino and Filipino Americans have been slowly changing the discourse around skin tone with phrases like “Brown is Beautiful” and owning the term, kayumanggi.  It’s an uphill, yet necessary battle.

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Joanne Rondilla, SJSU Professor

In this episode, we talk about our experiences with colorism and where we’ve seen it manifest.  Then, we speak to Joanne Rondilla, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at San Jose State University, who has done extensive research on colorism in the Philippines and in the United States.  Listen as she discusses the history of colorism in Philippine society, the “secret” of the skin-lightening industry, the limitations of “colonial mentality” as the sole explanation for colorism, and suggestions on how to deal with colorism in your family.  It was a tremendous privilege to have Joanne on TFAL and we hope you enjoy the episode as much as we did.

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

What are you experiences with colorism?  Do people tell you that you’re “too dark.” Let us know by leaving a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL (8325) or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.

Finally, a special shout out to our TPALs who emailed us some of their comments and questions.  Here’s a picture of TPAL, Toni Geurts, and her beautiful mother:

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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).

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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.

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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 thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.

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

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(Image courtesy of Museum of History and Industry)