Prior to departure, we received many warnings I received from my family:
"You’ll get kidnapped!"
The list continued...
We pressed on and rather than changing our tickets to go to Europe, we boarded the plane for Manila via Beijing. And, I’m glad we did – the trip was nothing less than fantastic. What was only imagined before about where my dad and grandparent lived, was now full of concrete images, smells, sounds, tastes.
While "going home" would certainly be an overstated cliché, my experience was certainly transformational. Rife with discovery, the three weeks spent in the Philippines allowed me to learn so much about where my family is from, the incredibly diverse Filipino culture, the struggles among its peoples, and how the "American history" we are taught in the US barely even acknowledges the intricate political relationship between the two countries. What a shame.
While Manny Pacquiao has become a household name, as Americans, we know so little about the US occupation of the Philippines, in the guise of freeing the Filipinos from Spanish rule at the turn of the 20th century; about the hundreds of thousands of civilians who lost their life; impacts of American colonization; the attack and takeover by the Japanese during World War II (who were eventually defeated in 1945); and eventual independence from the US. Then, of course, there is migration of Filipinos to the US.
This month is Filipino American History Month and I was hoping to see a long list of public events to celebrate and increase awareness of the culture and history of Filipinos in the US. Unfortunately, aside from a handful of events, not much was/is available—much less promoted by mainstream media. This was a shock given the large Filipino population in the Bay Area.
Some upcoming events:
D-CYPHER: Dialogue with Bay Area Filipino Street Dancers
Monday, October 17, 6-9pm (Liwanag Kultural Center, 222 Laussane Ave, Daly City)
Kasanayan Movement: Filipino Cultural Dances
Tuesday, October 18, 7-8:30pm (Liwanag Kultural Center, 222 Laussane Ave, Daly City)
Isang Mahal: Open Mic presented by Pilipino Youth Coalition-SMC
Friday, October 21, 5:30-8:30pm (Liwanag Kultural Center, 222 Laussane Ave, Daly City)
"Universal Filipino" with Jeremy Kilusan Bautista
Spoken word, martial arts and movement artist from San Francisco
Friday, October 21, 8pm (La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley)
Saturday, October 22, 3-5pm (International Hotel Manilatown Center, 868 Kearny Street, San Francisco)
Comic Artist Panel Discussion and Merienda
Presentations by Vidda Chan a.k.a. Edna Jundis and more!Saturday, October 29, 2-4pm (International Hotel Manilatown Center, 868 Kearny Street, San Francisco)
Talk Story and Book Launch for Peter Jamero's Vanishing Filipino Americans: The Bridge Generation
Sunday, October 30, 1-3pm (International Hotel Manilatown Center, 868 Kearny Street, San Francisco)
Vanishing Filipino Americans: The Bridge Generation focuses on the experiences of children born in the U.S. before WWII to the pioneer Manong Generation who immigrated during the early 1900s.
"Rhymes & Rhythms" Music and Poetry Series
Featuring Avotcja, Nancy Hom, Edwin Lozada and more!
Saturday, November 5, 2-5pm (International Hotel Manilatown Center, 868 Kearny Street, San Francisco)
"Resistance in Paradise"
Saturday, November 12, 2-5pm (International Hotel Manilatown Center, 868 Kearny Street, San Francisco)Fact and fiction about guerilla fighters and Buffalo Soldiers during the Philippine American War. Presentations by SF Presidio Ranger Penn and playwrights Jeannie Barroga and Elena Mangahas
Saturday, November 19, 1-5pm (International Hotel Manilatown Center, 868 Kearny Street, San Francisco)
Filipino and API artists working in cartoon, comic book, and graphic novel media invited to display their work. For a registration form, e-mail email@example.com. Registration deadline is November 12, 11:59 p.m.
Past events celebrating Filipino American History Month specifically:
Pamana, Preserving Our Heritage
October 1, 2011
Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 1 and 2, 2011