Back in Seattle: Culture Shocked?

I’ve been back on American soil for a little over a week now. It was really difficult for me to leave the Philippines because it meant saying farewell to my family in the Philippines, for who knows how long. I spent the last two weeks of my stay bonding with my cousins and shopping for gifts to bring home to friends and clothes. I even managed to snag a pair of good quality jeans for $5. That rarely exists in the States. Read More.

The Kaya Co. -nclusion

Last Friday marked the last day of the first Kaya Co. fellowship! I can’t believe it! Ten weeks flew by so quickly.

I haven’t written much about the fellowship aside from an initial introduction when I was first accepted into the program. Now, that the program is over and my internship is coming to an end, I have a little more time to reflect and share my fellowship experience. Read More.

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.

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