filipino american

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 thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com!

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

Episode 165 – The 2022 Philippine Presidential Election

In less than two weeks, Filipinos across the Philippines and dual citizens around the world will go to the polls to elect a new president.  This is a very important election for the Philippines and will affect those of us in the diaspora tremendously.  We at TFAL want to make sure you all know the basic information about the election.

Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos Jr., aka BBM, remains the front-runner ahead of current Vice President Leni Robredo in national polls. There are many people running for president, but these two stand above the rest.  Marcos is the son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who during his martial law regime tortured and murdered thousands of Filipinos. Critics accuse candidate Marcos of using social media and misinformation to target young voters, many of whom have no memory of life under his father’s rule. While Robredo is riding a recent wave of popularity.

In this episode, we talk to Rappler journalist Michelle Abad about the elections, the current candidates and issues, as well as why Bong Bong Marcos continues to be popular despite the horrific acts in the hands of his family.  We also discuss why this election is so important to Filipino Americans and why we need to pay attention to it.

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.

Who is your family supporting?  Who would you support?  Let us know by leaving a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL or emailing us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com!

Episode 164 – Belligerence Has Arrived! TFAL gets real with Melissa Beck from Real World NOLA Homecoming

In the year 2000 MTVs Real World took the audience to New Orleans and introduced Filipino Americans to Melissa Howard. Over 20 years later Paramount Plus is giving Gen Xers the opportunity to revisit classic Real World casts. In 2021 Real World New York and Los Angeles opened the door to these Homecoming reunions. These shows did not take place in the vacuum. The casts dealt with the impact of Covid, the Black Lives Matter movement, and LGBTQA+ issues. 

In this episode the crew learns about Melissa’s, now Melissa Beck, journey from reality tv to stay at home mom. The discussion ranges from learning about Melissa’s Florida roots (shoutout to the 813) to her memorable entrance into the Real World New Orleans house with her Calrose bag of rice.

Real World New Orleans Homecoming drops on Wednesday, April 20th on Paramount +. Make sure to follow Melissa on Twitter @MelissaBeckRWNO and Instagram @MelissaBeckRWNO for more gems that she will probably give to followers of the show!

 

Want your own Belligerence Has Arrived tote? Head to Melissa’s online store to pick up this tote and even a “I’m Not Trying To Mess With That Lady” t-shirt!

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 reality tv shows do you watch? What would your idea for a Filipino American reality tv show be? Should we do a Real World NOLA Homecoming IG Live watch party? Let us know by leaving a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL or emailing us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com!

Episode 163 – Who’s le beouf? TFAL talks food criticism with Annabelle Tometich

Surprise, surprise, TFAL talks about their favorite subject – FOOD – in this episode! Specifically food criticism. The team talks about the rise of Yelp reviews to which one of us wanted to be a food critic? Could you guess who that might be? If you suspect a TFAL food appreciator, you might be correct!

In this episode, the team talks story with Annabelle Tometich, a Florida based writer who revealed that they wrote under the pen name of the long established food critic Jean Le Beouf for The News Press and Naples Daily News. Annabelle shared her story in The Washington Post with the Opinion piece “What pretending to be a White guy taught me about privilege.” The conversation covers Annabelle’s journey from line cook to food writer and everything in between. 

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.

Who are some of your favorite food critics? Are you Yelp Elite? Let us know by leaving a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL or emailing us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com!

Episode 162 – Estatue, Filipino America? A Memorial-able Discussion about Filipino American Monuments

Monuments, statues, street signs, plaques, memorials, murals.  Our communities are filled with tributes to the people, places, and things that hold some sort of significance to the people who live there, and this holds true in past and present Filipino Communities throughout America.  Jose Rizal Bridge, Larry Itliong Village, and the upcoming gateway arch in Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown are all signifiers of the impact of Filipinos here and abroad… and yet, do people outside of our community understand the significance?  Are we properly honoring these moments in our history and educating people about them?  Are there people and moments that we should be recognizing, but haven’t yet?

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.

Is there a Filipino American monument in your community? What kind of monuments would you like to see?  Let us know by leaving a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL or emailing us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com

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Episode 161 – The Complicated History of SPAM with Gabrielle Berbey

Oh SPAM…the delectable, delicious soft pink slab of pork meat so ubiquitous to Filipino and Filipino American weekend breakfast meals. You love it fried, crispy, maybe with a sprinkle of sugar, served with a warm heap of garlic rice and egg. It tickles our taste buds and tummies with such delight, but also clogs our arteries with fat and cholesterol…one of the sinful contradictions our Filipino American lives deal with constantly. How did this beloved processed part the pig become so commonplace in the Philippines and many other parts of the world?

The US military, of course, is the short answer. Introduced to many parts of Asia as a result of US military occupation, SPAM is also synonymous with American imperialism. The story of SPAM goes deeper and in many directions. In this TFAL episode, we spoke to Gabrielle Berbey, a journalist with WNYC who recently did an podcast series on the history of SPAM. We talk about SPAM’s rise with and for the US empire, labor disputes and global migration, and the unhealthy, yet alluring, consumption of it in our communities. Beforehand, of course, we discuss our complex relationship with SPAM as well as our other favorite canned foods.

Check out The Experiment’s podcast series on SPAM here.

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.

How much do you love or hate SPAM?  Let us know by leaving a voicemail at (805) 394-TFAL or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.

 

Episode 160: TFAL talks The Girl Who Sees with Pattie Umali

 

It’s no secret that TFAL Producer Mike and Elaine love a good video game from Animal Crossing to Uncharted to Final Fantasy.  Role Playing Games (RPG) are a favorite pastime. If only there was a Filipino inspired one we could explore? Well turns out there is! 

In this episode the crew shares their experiences with video games and speaks with Patti Umali, creator of The Girl Who Sees, a video game set in World War II Philippines. The game is a point-and-click adventure and turn-based RPG hybrid that explores WWII history and Philippine fantasy. Players learn about Philippine folklore and mythology, while the game also shares history and Tagalog language lessons. 

What video games are you playing? What was your favorite video game growing up? Let us know by leaving a voicemail or text message at (805) 394-TFAL or emailing us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com!

 

 

Episode 159 – The Secret’s Out: Secretly Filipino

Ever wonder why that peculiar Chinese restaurants have no chopsticks on their table settings?  Have you noticed that your finance branch at your work has a lot of Filipinos? Did you ever think, what’s up with basketball leagues that are 6 feet and Under?

These questions are some of the same things we’ve asked. We all know about places, businesses, or things that don’t look or sound Filipino or owned by a Filipino, but are DEFINITELY Filipino. But on this episode we spill the beans on things that we call “Secretly Filipino.”

Join us as we ponder these Filipino mysteries, touch upon how businesses have catered to the Filipino audience and tastes, and things that Filipinos love, but no one’s talking about. We hope that you laugh with us, but also tell us your own secret Filipino spots or things.  Call us at (805) 394-TFAL or email us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.

 

Episode 158 – Baybayin atbp. with Kristian Kabuay

Baybayin, the pre-colonial written script of the Philippines, is a major foundation of our cultural heritage.  The alphasyllabary script consisting of 17 characters was understood and used by communities throughout much of the archipelago prior to colonization.  Spanish missionary Pedro Chirino, who lived and studied Philippine society in the early years of Spanish colonization, documented in 1604 that “there is hardly a man, and much less woman, who does not read or write in the letters.”  However, as the Spanish expanded its rule over the Philippines, Baybayin fell out of favor among the locals and replaced by the Roman alphabet.

However, Baybayin has experienced a cultural revival over the last few decades largely due to the work of artists, historians, and practitioners based in the diaspora.  In fact, the script is relative easy to learn (quick tutorial here).  You can see Baybayin on artwork, logos, tattoos, and other branding that serve as a cultural identifier for Filipinos. One of the major cultural workers who has rebranded by my end and brought it back to the forefront of Filipino and Filipino American culture is Kristian Kabuay.

In this TFAL episode, Joe and Kristian discuss his work in promoting Baybayin, how it is used and its functionality in today’s world, and the myths and misconceptions of the script. We also talk about other projects that he’s working on as well as his opinion on cultural appropriation. Hope you enjoy this episode and that it inspires you to do your part in reviving our cultural writing.
Example of increased use of Baybayin on signage in Manila.
Note: I mentioned the use of the danda on the episode refers to the single or double line “punctuation” that locals used in pre-colonial times separate words or phrases. However, Kristian misunderstood my question and it was never addressed.  A more deeper discussion of the danda and its function on writing/reading Baybayin can be found on this lecture here: