The History I Never Learned

As I grow more self-aware of my identity as a Filipino American, I grow more aware of this big part of me that wants to learn the history of my ancestors: the Filipinos. Growing up, my dad told me bits and pieces about Magellan, the Spanish and American rule in the Philippines, Marcos and more. Whenever I could choose my topic for a research paper or project, my chosen topic usually revolved around some aspect of the Philippines. In high school, I wrote about America’s annexation of the Philippines and in college, I wrote about how Filipino Americans are perceived in today’s media.

The sad reality of my American education is that the history of the Philippines is not being included in the curriculum. In my high school U.S. textbook, the Philippine-American relations during pre/during/post WWII all got crammed into a tiny paragraph. Books and resources available in the U.S. in general fail to tell of America’s past relationship with the Philippines. It’s a story that isn’t being told, which was frustrating especially when I had to write a 5-6 page paper on a it. Read More.

Social Enterprises in the Philippines

Before I was aware of Kaya Collaborative., I ignorantly assumed that the Philippines didn’t have many locals striving for social good. Yes, it was a horrible thing to assume but every time I read about initiatives helping the Philippines, they seemed to be companies from the U.S. or Europe coming in to create what they believed were sustainable solutions. And the idea bothered me a lot because I’m firmly against the notion of the white man’s burden or the savior complex. As a Filipino American, I always liked to think that the Filipinos were just as capable, if not more. They’ve just been through a lot (years of colonialism and wars). Yet,seeing the lasting negative effects of Typhoon Yolanda resulted in a big blow to my hopes for the PI.

So when I heard about Kaya and the 14 internship placements of the fellows, I regained hope for the Philippines. The fellowship itself opened my eyes to the growing social venture movement that’s happening in the PI. And since I’ve arrived, I’ve had the pleasure to learn about more social enterprises.

Read on to see what types of ventures I’m referring to (in no particular order): Read More.

Why I Am in the Philippines

From the moment I started telling people that I was going to spend this summer in the Philippines, I’ve had trouble explaining why I was going.

People’s assumptions on my reason for going to the Philippines ranged from visiting family to study abroad to intern abroad. And although all of these are part of the reason I am here, I believe that why I am here is a lot more complex than that. Read More.

Summer Tropical Storms

In most countries like the U.S., summer vacation for students falls between the months of June and August. But not the Philippines. For years, the Philippines school system has been on a different system. And with good reason.

Between the months of June and August, the Philippines typically experiences heavy rainfall and immense gusts of wind. It’s typhoon season here in the Philippines and I’m in the middle of it.

Read More.

Fourth of July …in the Philippines?

The 4th of July came a day early here in the Philippines since we’re 15 hours ahead. Being in the Philippines made me forgot that the 4th of July is supposed to be a big deal. I forgot it was an American holiday. Come to think about it, what is the 4th of July really about? Gaining our independence from the British. But it’s turned into a day of eat all you can hot dogs and burgers and hours of fireworks blasting. I think a lot of us forget the real reason we’re shooting off fireworks and eating till we can’t eat no more.

So I forgot.

That is until I attended the U.S. Alumni Club’s 4th of July mixer event at the Manilla Polo Club on the night of the 4th.


Photo taken by Mika Reyes

Read More.

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