Monday May 1, 2023

By Naiia Lajoie GLASS HALF FIL   Did you know that Filipinos bow? While it is commonly known that Asian countries like Japan and Korea bow out of respect or reverence, so too does the Philippines. The gesture of goodwill, or Bating Filipino, was introduced as a direct result of Covid-19; to replace a traditional tactile handshake. If you were unaware of this custom, you are not alone! I am a half-Filipina who (in pre-pandemic times) would visit the Philippines yearly and considered myself relatively knowledgeable of the culture. Admittedly, I was mistaken. I, like so many other Fil-Ams (short for “Filipino Americans”), wear my heritage proudly, yet know little of its rich history and language. This became abundantly clear when I went to the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles to apply for my Philippine citizenship (as my mother was still a citizen when I was born, making me eligible). The reception I received was cold; while I understood what the clerk at the kiosk was saying, I could not respond to her in Tagalog, ultimately resulting in my application being “incomplete, for now”. Rather than let this experience dissuade me, it inspired me. Having recently given birth to my first child, I want my son to have an awareness of his cultural background from a young age – something I regrettably did not. I decided to learn the Filipino language. Thanks to the Meta algorithm, an Instagram ad for Adult Tagalog Lessons popped up on my feed, offered by Kabataan Culture, a nonprofit organization and “Filipino Enrichment Program”. Reaching out and subsequently signing up, I connected with founders Mari-Anne De Castro Miralles and January “Jan” Beulah Obciana. In a situation close to my own, according to the “About Us” tab on their website, Mari-Anne...... Read more on Full Issue!

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