Here in the U.S., the entire month of May is designated as the month celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage Month. I figured this entry should be my very first entry that actually has content and takes from a personal perspective. This year 2019 would be the first time that we would be celebrating this month-long occasion without my father. He would’ve continued his legacy and causes with our local Asian Pacific Islander Association of California to this day like he always would for over 10 years. Therefore, hopefully through this blog as a start, I’ll be able to continue on with his main cause: the celebration and acceptance of all Asian cultures clashed together in a great country that’s stranger to any Asian existence in this world.
I’ll be writing a brief post about my thoughts on being Asian-American, strictly from being a former immigrant kid and eventually becoming an American citizen as a minor, 1 how I grew up, the struggles I face, and eventually became accepting of who I am since birth. Call it a life outline, somewhat.
Late 1970s – late 1980s
- I was born in 1976 in Quezon City, Philippines.
- Moved to Las Piñas at age 3-4
- Had a bit of a speech problem and didn’t learn how to speak properly until age 6
- Attended a Roman Catholic-affiliated Montessori school from pre-school till the first half of 4th grade
- Left with family to the U.S. a year after the Philippine Revolution
Late 1980s – mid-1990s
- Never finished 4th grade, was immediately accelerated to 5th grade after an entrance test; finished 5th grade in 3 months
- Experienced discrimination for the first time from American-born Filipino kids. Who would have thought that a Filipino immigrant would be looked down upon by kids who were Filipinos by visuals?
- So much culture shock, like kids my age dating, kids my age (and some younger) getting pregnant early, 2, kids younger than me dating, stuff I knew I would never see in Philippine schools in public.
- Did not make any Filipino friends until 8th grade, but did make many friends from other races, Asians and non-Asians alike
- Joined the newly-formed Filipino Youth Association in high school as one of its first members
- Took Tagalog as a foreign language in my senior year just to refresh and was overwhelmed how popular the Tagalog language classes would turn out. It was both ironic and at the same time hypocritical, considering all the discrimination and bash I’ve gotten from American-born Filipino kids for speaking English with a “fob” accent, etc.
Mid-1990s – early 200s
- University helped broaden my horizons from my very closeted persona and mindset.
- Joined my college’s Filipino students association, but left the club early. I didn’t like how that particular club was more of a social hangout than actually promoting Filipino culture, Filipino heritage, Tagalog and other dialects, etc. etc.
- Joined my Japanese culture club thanks to being enrolled in Japanese class. Best times ever. It’s when I discovered J-Pop first, anime and manga second
- Took a martial arts class (Taekwondo), learned a little bit of Korean culture, simple phrases, how to count in Korean
- Graduated Summa cum laude
Post-university graduation – Today
- Got more into anime and manga
- Got more into “internet publishing” 3
- Got more into blogging
- Got more into more J-Pop
- Attended our local Asian Pacific Heritage Festival since my (late) father joined the committee
- Learned more to appreciate being Filipino and just being Asian in general. I still do today
- Got more into eclectic Asian TV dramas and movies.
- Got more into reading literature works by Filipino and Asian authors
- More to come…
… but I have to cut this entry short. It’s May 31, and a few minutes till June begins right now.