I’m Back for #FAHM

Wowz, it’s been years since I’ve had the nerve to post here. I read through my old posts periodically and feel like I’m reading the writing of a different person. A testament to what this blog was intended for all along – to document the formation of a member of the Philippine diaspora.

I’m back to share the first chunk of my daily reflections, sparked by Anakbayan New Jersey’s Filipino American History Month writing challenge. But before I share the first set of posts, here are some fun facts about Filipino American History Month:

  • The first Filipino American History Month was commemorated in October 1992
  • October was chosen to celebrate month to commemorate the arrival of the first Filipinos who landed in what is now Morro Bay, California.
  • October is also the birth month of Filipino American labor leader Larry Itliong.

Read more for reflections #1 – 3:

001 Migration

Sometimes, it feels like we’re forced into decisions
Someone tells us to or
There seem like no other options.

And yet,
Though elements external to us pressure and make demands
The internal is decisive.
But there’s always a reason
Conscious or unconscious
Your inner workings will tell you when you’re ready

I wonder
At what point did my parents became decisive?
Where were their hearts in relation to the global context?
What did their decisiveness feel like in their body?
At what point did hope in the homeland see futile?
At what point did hope feel an ocean away?

002 Roots

Every time I grew sick
My mom whipped up a cup of salabat.
I used to hate the concoction,
Going so far as to dump sips into the sink periodically
To make it seem like I had fooled her.
But my prolonged colds
Signaled to her my disobedience.
What reckless abandon, defiance, walang hiya
Years later,
The sight of ginger at a grocery store
Provides me nostalgic relief
Of a home my mother carved out for me
One that, though a coast away leaves me feeling

003 Obstacles

Growing up as a first-generation Filipino American
The expectations are rarely explicitly said
But they are implicitly built over time
“Good” job, marriage, house, kids
They never tell you how these expectations
Imprison you for years
Make you starve for liberation
They never tell you of the history of oppression before you
That got us to the point of these expectations,
Expectations that turn out to be your greatest obstacles
To living a fulfilling life
Even when you have
The “good job,” marriage, house, and kids
Tell me, how can you be satisfied?

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