Mother’s Day is coming up and we have some activities for how you can show these special women in your lives you appreciate them while learning some Tagalog and Filipino culture.
Read the Filipino Children’s Book, “Cora Cooks Pancit.”
“Cora Cooks Pancit” is an adorable story about Cora, a young girl, who wants to cook Filipino foods with her Mama, but is usually sitting on the sidelines. She finally gets the opportunity and not only feels like such a grown up cooking alongside her Mama, but she learns more about her family roots, making her Lolo’s pancit recipe. Learn more about the book and author, Dorina Gilmore, in our Filipino Children’s Book Corner post.
A fun activity to do with your mom or lola is to cook pancit with her or for her (if you learn to do it with another family member).
If cooking isn’t possible at this time, enjoy a plate of pancit from a local restaurant or from a family or friend who can make a delicious pancit dish.
Fil-Am Learners Printable Activities
Show your mom (ina) and grandma (lola) how you feel in English and Tagalog with the following printable activities.
Tagalog/English Mother’s Day Cards
Tagalog/English Mother’s Day Cards (FREE in our subscriber-only Tagalog Printable Resource Library. This is an exclusive FREEBIE for our subscribers. So if you haven’t signed up yet, head over here to sign up for our newsletter to get access to these printables along with many other free printables.
Mother’s Day Writing & Craft Activity
In our shop, we feature a Tagalog/English Mother’s Day Writing Prompt and Craft to learn Tagalog vocabulary to describe your mom or grandma. There is an accompanying writing activity and a paper craft, which would go well as a thoughtful gift. Head to this post in our Shop to learn more.
We are over the moon to share this month’s featured Filipino children’s book, Cora Cooks Pancit, written by Dorina Gilmore and illustrated by Kristi Valiant. It is a charming tale about a young Filipina American girl named Cora, who loves the smell of the Filipino dishes her Mama cooks and longs to cook in the kitchen, just like her older siblings. Instead, she is usually sitting on the sidelines, doing “kid jobs” like drawing in the flour or licking the spoon. She finally gets the chance to help her Mama and chooses to cook pancit, a Filipino noodle dish. Not only does she get to the opportunity to do the “grown-up” cooking tasks, but she learns about her Filipino heritage through her Mama’s storytelling in the process as well.
Why We Love the Book
My children and I love Cora’s determination to cook with her Mama. We appreciate the representation of a Filipino family in the story. Being able to see a family that looks similar to ours is very special and close to home. I also personally adore the bonding between Cora and Mama in the kitchen. Food is iconic for bringing Filipinos together. We admire the author’s introduction to the Filipino culture through Lolo’s story and how Mama passed on stories of the family heritage to Cora. My children thought it was also charming to see the dog in each picture bringing toys to Cora, wanting to play with her. It brought a realistic family element seeing each member of the book interact with one another.
Interview with the author
We had the chance to interview the talented author of Cora Cooks Pancit, Dorina Gilmore. Learn more about this amazing woman below and be sure to look out for a special treat for you in this post.
Q:What led you to write Cora Cooks Pancit?
A: As a child, I was a voracious reader. I was also looking for books about kids like me. I saw very little if any representation of kids from Filipino or mixed-race backgrounds. As a writer, I longed to fill this void. I also grew up in the kitchen with my mama, my grandmas, and aunties. My grandma Cora was an amazing cook and I wanted to preserve this recipe and the memory of cooking together.
Q:Tell us a little bit about your cultural background.
I’m from a mixed-race family. My mother’s side is mostly Italian with some Jewish and Armenian. My father’s parents immigrated from the Philippines to Hawaii. They were Filipino, Chinese, and Polynesian. My parents were very intentional to share these cultures and celebrate them with our family.
Q:What do you want others to know about the Fil-Am/Filipino culture?
A: Filipino American culture is a rich blend of Asian and Latin roots with an island flare. Food is central to our cultural identity. Despite economic hardships in the home country, Filipinos pride themselves on generous hospitality and inviting others to the table. I grew up experiencing the food, music, dance, and art of the Philippines and learning about others.
Q:What and/or who is your inspiration behind what you do?
A: My children inspire me to keep writing. I have three daughters ages 7, 10 and 13. I want them to have books that express the cultures and experiences that are familiar to them and that teach them about others. I believe books help us navigate life and trials. They give us examples and instill values in us.
Q:Where can people find you and learn about your work?
Sign up for the newsletter www.dorinakidsbooks.com where Dorina shares her publishing news, children’s book reviews and a FREE Christmas advent book list with you.
Q:Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share with our audience?
A: I want readers to know that their purchases have power. The more they share books with others and request them at the library and bookstores, the more you will see a demand for books about Filipino Americans and others in publishing. We need you!
A Special Treat for you from Dorina
Dorina would love to send any of our readers a signed, personalized copy of Cora Cooks Pancit for $10 plus shipping. (Here is a link to her Contact Page where you will see a contact form and her e-mail address. You can let her know you are a part of the Fil-Am Learners community).
Where to find out more about the Illustrator, Kristi Valiant
Book Giveaway (Update as of 5/22/19: Giveaway is now CLOSED)
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. MAKING A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. (READ MORE ABOUT NO PURCHASE NECESSARY)
1. PROMOTION DESCRIPTION: Cora Cooks Pancit Book Giveaway begins on May 6, 2019 at 12:00 a.m. and ends on May 21, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. PST
The sponsor of this Sweepstakes is Fil-Am Learners. By participating in the Sweepstakes, each Entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsor, which shall be final and binding in all respects. Sponsor is responsible for the collection, submission or processing of Entries and the overall administration of the Sweepstakes. Entrants should look solely to Sponsor with any questions, comments or problems related to the Sweepstakes. Sponsor may be reached by email at hello(at)filamlearners.com during the Promotion Period.
2. ELIGIBILITY: Open to legal residents of the United States who are 18 years or older. This Sweepstakes is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited or restricted by law.
1 Winner will receive the soft-cover children’s book, Cora Cooks Pancit
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We are excited to get to know and feature Danielle Colayco, a leader and advocate of healthcare for the under-served community. Let’s take a peek into the life of this influential leader of Komoto Family Foundation.
Q: Where do you currently live? Where are you from?
A: I currently live in Southern California. I was born and raised here.
Q:Tell us a little bit about your cultural background.
A: My parents were born in Metro Manila, and we are a multi-racial family which includes Filipino, Chinese, Spanish, and British ancestry. My four older brothers were all born in Manila. My parents and Lola then immigrated to California, where my sister and I were born. All of my siblings and I grew up speaking English at home. Our Lola spoke Tagalog to my dad and English with everyone else. She is also fluent in Spanish (Castilian). As a Southern California native, I took three years of Spanish (Mexican) in high school, so I can now speak like a toddler.
Now that I have a child of my own, I’m inspired to reconnect to my Filipino roots and learn basic conversational Tagalog along with my daughter. I’ve also recently learned to cook Filipino foods at home, including my Lola’s pancit bihon — but I add my own twists. For example, I’m too lazy to wash an extra pot. So rather than boiling the noodles separately, I just add stock to the same pan with the noodles and vegetables so they can soften while cooking. I do have to confess that when I was a small child, I didn’t love a lot of Filipino food. I thought American cheeseburgers and pizza were the most delicious foods, because all of my friends at school were eating those things. I was embarrassed to bring our food to school for lunch, so I begged for Lunchables and peanut butter sandwiches instead. Only when I became an adult and started to build more self-confidence did I start to appreciate and reclaim my own culture. It’s a method of empowerment and healing from our colonial mentality.
Q: What do you want others to know about the Fil-Am/Filipino culture?
A: One out of five Filipino-Americans is multi-racial. One of our most frequently asked questions, particularly from other Asians, is “what are you?” If we respond “Filipino,” typically the follow-up response is some form of “oh, so you’re half.” One time, somebody literally told me, “You’re not what I expected.” So, for my fellow mixed-race Filipinos, I’d like to share with you our Bill of Rights by Maria P.P. Root, PhD, a fellow multiracial Filipina: https://www.safehousealliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/A-Bill-of-Rights-for-Racially-Mixed-People.pdf You get to decide how you identify, regardless of your racial composition or whether you speak the languages of your ancestors. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not Filipino enough, or that you’re “only half.” You are a whole person, and you are enough. Full stop.
Q: What do you currently do or have you been doing in hopes to contribute to the Fil-Am/Filipino community?
A: I run a nonprofit organization called the Komoto Family Foundation, whose mission is to improve access to healthcare services from pharmacists for under-served communities. One of our key communities includes the farmworkers of Delano, California. If you’ve ever eaten grapes before, chances are that they were grown and harvested by the people of Delano, which also happens to be home to over 7,000 Filipinos. Perhaps the most famous is Larry Itliong, who led the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) in the Delano Grape Strikes of 1965. He convinced Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, and the Latino farmworkers to join forces with the Filipinos to fight for fair wages and humane working conditions. (There’s an excellent children’s book written by the late Dawn Mabalon and Gayle Romasanta:Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong
These days, many of the growers have partnered with the Central Valley Farmworker Foundation (CVFF), whose mission is to improve the quality of life of farmworkers. We collaborate with CVFF to bring health education to the farmworkers during their work hours in the fields. Because of several factors including social conditions (low incomes and educational attainment, immigration issues, language barriers, etc), the farmworkers face a number of health concerns including diabetes, heart disease, depression and anxiety, sexually transmitted infections, and unintended pregnancies. One thing we’ve noticed is that our health education materials are typically translated from English into Spanish to accommodate the 70% Latino population, but very rarely do you see anything translated to Tagalog, Ilokano, or any other Filipino language. When I attended a talk by Dr. Mabalon last year, she mentioned the erasure of the Filipinos within the majority Latino population of Delano — which explains why Cesar Chavez is so well-known but Larry Itliong is only recognized by some. Part of her legacy as a historian was to bring visibility to the Filipino community, and I’d like to help continue that in her memory.
It starts with engaging the community in their languages (our staff includes native Tagalog and Ilokano speakers in addition to Spanish speakers, and we have started translating our materials accordingly), but it also includes speaking to the unique health challenges of the Filipino community. How do you tell a Filipina with diabetes that she needs to stop eating white rice, when it’s such a staple of our diet? Maybe it starts with incremental changes, like reducing the portion from two cups to one, and encouraging her to replace that volume with some gulay.
We also need to start breaking the stigma around mental health and sexual health, because these are literally life or death issues. Most of us have either been personally affected or know somebody who has been affected by depression or anxiety, as well as unintended pregnancy — and yet, these issues are completely taboo in many Filipino families. Some of this stigma is related to our colonial history, in which our indigenous practices around sexuality were considered sinful by our Spanish colonizers.
In addition, the suppression of normal emotions like sadness or anger is common in many Filipino families. The concept of walang hiya has resulted in the silencing of those who suffer from mental illness, those who have experienced an unintended pregnancy (especially teen pregnancy), and those who are not cis-gendered and heterosexual. This needs to change, and it starts with our generation beginning to talk to our kids about mental health and sexual health in age-appropriate ways. If our kids are lucky, they can find a trusted adult to talk about these difficult issues (e.g. a teacher, coach, doctor, etc), but wouldn’t it be great if our kids could also feel safe turning to us for that help?
Finally, we need to harness the power of our Filipino resilience so that we can rise above our risk factors and find strength in our community. Our people have survived over 400 years of colonization by Spain, Japan, and the United States, and we all have stories of suffering — but we also have stories of family, faith, and healing in the wake of adversity. Part of the work I do as a pharmacist in the for-profit sector is engaging key family members as part of the healthcare team along with the patient, and other healthcare professionals. It is crucial to acknowledge the patient as a whole person and part of a whole community, rather than just treating their disease. By engaging communities, we healthcare professionals can start to become much more effective as healers.
Q: What or who is your inspiration behind what you do?
A: My daughter inspires me to be a better person because I believe in leading by example. The most important lesson that my husband and I can teach her is to treat all people with kindness and to think about how to make our community a little bit better. Usually, that involves alleviating human suffering. This can be achieved in both big and small ways. Right now, the superhero stories are very popular, where you hear about “chosen ones” doing grand gestures to “save the world.” But not everyone has the means or the ability for that.
I also think that the savior narrative is problematic because it doesn’t acknowledge the agency of the communities who are being “saved.” These folks are protagonists in their own stories, too. Instead, if the rest of us would focus on our local communities and just do one small act of kindness per day, it would be so much more transformative. This desire to make incremental, positive changes is what led me to pursue a career in healthcare. My parents made that possible through their unconditional love and by financing my education. My dad told me once, “Your mother and I will do everything within our means to help you chase your dreams,” and they have done that for all six of their children. Because of their personal sacrifices, I feel that it’s especially important to make sure that their efforts were not in vain.
Follow the Instagram links below to see some of Komoto Family Foundation’s work:
Imagine you met an unusual, unique, and special creature. What did it look like? What was it wearing? In this activity, you will be creating a creature! Let your imagination soar. Think about what its name would be, how many eyes, ears, arms, legs does it have? What color is it?
The “My Creature” printable is a great way to review:
Feel free to also take the creature “beyond the page” and build the creature using other craft supplies such as construction paper, clay, paint, playdough, Playfoam, popsicle sticks, googly eyes. Here is an example below.
In this activity, you will be writing a postcard to a family or friend, pretending you are taking a vacation somewhere you have been (or would like to go). The introductory page teaches you sample Tagalog phrases to include in your postcard message. There are two versions included (One with pre-typed fill-in-the blank sentences and another with just a blank message for you to write your whole letter).
After reviewing the Introductory pages and Tagalog phrases, choose which type of postcard you will create first (whether it’s the blank one or the one with a pre-typed message). Cut out both rectangles.
Glue the back of the picture portion of the postcard to the back of the letter portion.
Now you have your postcard ready to write in and draw a beautiful picture of the location where you have “traveled”!
It’s summertime and many people are traveling and going on vacation. What a perfect time to learn Tagalog words all about traveling.
Activity: My “Maleta” (Suitcase)
This first activity teaches you the vocabulary words for items you possibly would pack in your suitcase. Here is a four-page printable for your child to learn the names of common items to pack, a suitcase to “pack” these items in, and two packing lists (one with English translation and the other is Tagalog only).
First, the child will decorate his/her suitcase (or “maleta” in Tagalog).
The next step is to color the items and cut them out. Review the English and Tagalog words for the travel supplies.
One by one, the travel supply will be placed in the suitcase and a dry erase marker can be used to check it off on the list. Once the child is comfortable, the Tagalog only Packing List can be used.
It can be printed on regular 8.5″ x 11″ paper. It will be more durable on cardstock or if the papers will be laminated. For repeated use, the packing lists can be slipped into one of these reusable dry-erase pocket sleeves.
Ready to take off with a fun activity to learn travel supplies in Tagalog?
Learn about the flag of the Philippines with this craft. This two-page printable has basic facts about the meaning of the colors and symbols of the flag. It includes a Philippine flag craft for the child to color, cut, and paste.
It’s February! There are several celebrations this month. One of the main holidays associated with February is Valentine’s Day on February 14. Following this holiday on February 17 is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. So, this month we are focusing on love and kindness.
One way to show someone you love them is to say, “I love you” or “mahal kita” in Tagalog. To say, “I love you very much” in Tagalog, you would say, “mahal na mahal kita.”
In honor of these celebrations, we have created a Tagalog/English Valentine’s card for your kids or you to share with someone special.
There are four different creatures included in the printable to choose from: a penguin, giraffe, turtle, and dinosaur.
There is space to write a thoughtful message and an area to draw a picture to show the recipient how much you care about him/her.
(A helpful hint for printing is to print on cardstock so it is durable OR if printing on printer paper, print the cover and inside on separate papers instead of double-sided. Then glue the two pages together to add thickness. This prevents the picture on the back being seen through the thin page).
One of the early basic concepts we teach children is colors. No matter what language your family speaks, color is such a universal concept because our world is surrounded by color. From the food we eat, to the toys they play with, to the color of their hair and clothes, colors are something that children interact with daily.
Because colors are easily found around us, it can easily be applied in daily conversation and apply the Tagalog vocabulary frequently.
Our featured Filipino children’s book is:
Oh My Kulay! is a vibrant, well-composed concept book that teaches Tagalog words for colors, fruits, and vegetables.
This adorable book was written by Dr. Jocelyn Francisco and illustrated by Jamie Lee Ortiz. The pages have easy-to-read and clear font for kids and bright pictures of fruits and vegetables. It is a wonderful concept book for little ones!
Caroline’s Color Dreams (written by Tanner Call and Joshua Timothy) is a bilingual book about a girl named Caroline who has a colorful dream and learns about the color wheel.
Here are some other suggested activities to teach and reinforce colors:
Sing songs about the colors in Tagalog
Here is a video that teaches colors and other educational concepts in Tagalog.
Below are two Fil-Am Learners original songs for individual colors.
More songs to come in the future …
Sort items by color
(e.g. sorting laundry, sorting toys, food, things out in nature, or anything that interests your child).
Here is a 14-page lesson activity reinforcing colors in Tagalog. It is geared for preschool through elementary age children and can be used to practice in class or at home. Click the image to get your printables.
Playing with playdough is an engaging sensory activity for kids. There are so many ways to use playdough to learn and use your creativity. Sign up below to get printables for each color that you can transform into playdough playmats. A tip is to print on cardstock and to laminate each page for multiple uses. On the playmats, the kids will be able to:
Shape the playdough to spell the color word in Tagalog.
Create an object of that color using the playdough.
Use their creativity to make their own playdough creation with the same color.
There are so many interactive ways to teach colors and a new language! What are some ways you incorporate teaching your children colors? Please share more ideas not included in this post or let us know if you’ve implemented any of the ones we shared.