“Are You Filipina?”
a little bit late to discover this post, but I feel what’s inside the hearts of Filipinos who became adults somewhere….
October is Filipino Heritage Month and the one month of the year when I reflect upon being part-Filipino. It’s not as if that’s lost on me during the rest of the year; I am reminded every time I look in the mirror, but since I have identified as Native Hawaiian for the better part of my life, the month of cultural introspection certainly allows for much-needed perspective.
When recently emigrated people ask if Iʻm Filipino, the conversation usually plays out like this:
Stranger: “Are you Filipina?”
Stranger: “Ahh! Where is your family from in the Phillippines?”
Stranger: “I know Ilocos!” then speaking in Tagalog or Ilocano
Me: “I’m sorry. I was born here, but my family is from Ilocos.”
Stranger: “So you aren’t from the Phillippines?”
Stranger: “And you don’t speak Filipino?”
They are disappointed. For me, I use the term…
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