Home » Archives for Fil-Am Teacher Mommy » Page 2

Author: Fil-Am Teacher Mommy

Featured Fil-Am: Danielle Colayco

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:

Partnering with CVFF to help the farmworkers of Delano

Partnering with CVFF at the Central Valley Pruning Competition

Komoto Family Foundation Reproductive Health Fund    

Guidance on how to talk to kids about their bodies, consent, sexual health, and mental health

Create a Creature Activity: (Tagalog Numbers, Colors, and Clothes Review)

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:

If you have not yet encountered those lessons and activities, be sure to also check them out to build your vocabulary. (Click on each of the concepts above to go to each post).

The downloadable printable includes two versions depending on how much writing your child can do. Get the printable in our Free Tagalog Printables Resource library. Click here to login OR sign up here to subscribe for free.

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.

Happy creature designing!

Taglish Postcard Activity

Taglish Postcard

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). 

First, download the Taglish postcard from our Free Tagalog Printables Resource library. Click here to login OR sign up here to subscribe for free.

Directions to Assemble the Postcard:

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”!

Tagalog Travel Activity: My “Maleta” (Suitcase)

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?

Get your printable Maleta/Suitcase activity in our Free Tagalog Printables Resource library. Click here to login OR sign up here to subscribe for free.

Flag of the Philippines Activity

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.

Get your printable Philippine flag activity in our Free Tagalog Printables Resource library. Click here to login OR sign up here to subscribe for free.

Read more about the story behind the Philippines flag with these sources:

Learn About the Jeepney

Did you know that the jeepney is one of the most popular forms of public transportation in the Philippines? Learn more about it with this interactive printable.

In the “Jeepney Trail of Facts” activity, you will be taking a “drive” through a winding path in the Philippines and will be learning facts about the jeepney along the way. 

First, you will need to access the printable in our Free Tagalog Printables Resource library. Click here to login OR sign up here to subscribe for free.

Next, cut out the jeepney.

Then, cut out the “trail.”

Next, get a craft stick and tape.

Stick the picture of the jeepney to the craft stick (with tape or glue).

Finally, take your jeepney for a drive through the path and read the facts along the route.

We hope this has helped you learn a bit more about Filipino culture and public transportation.

(photo credit: myelitedetail.us) 

For a bonus activity, download and enjoy coloring the Jeepney Coloring Page here (from Coloringpagesforfree.net)

valentine's tagalog card

Valentine’s Day Tagalog Cards & Activities

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.

valentine's tagalog card

There are four different creatures included in the printable to choose from: a penguin, giraffe, turtle, and dinosaur.

tagalog valentine's card styles

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). 

Get your printable Tagalog English Valentine’s cards in our Free Tagalog Printables Resource library. Click here to login OR sign up here to subscribe for free.

To proudly commemorate this month, in addition to making someone a card, think of some kind deeds you can do for others around you.

Here are some ideas we came up with to inspire you:

acts of kindness

To our Fil-Am Learners’ community, we wish you much love and kindness this month!

Share your love with our community and feel free to post images of your finished cards on social media or comment with kind acts you’ve done for others.

Oh My Kulay! (A Tagalog book about colors, fruits, and veggies)

Teaching Colors (mga kulay) in Tagalog:

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!

She also has other concept books for children at thelittleyellowjeepney.com.

teaching colors in tagalog

Tagalog Colors/ Mga Kulay Audio Glossary

Other books about colors:

There are a few Tagalog children’s books as resources but here are a few that we found:

Colors in Tagalog (by Mary Aflague and illustrated by Gerard Aflague)

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). teaching colors in tagalog

Printable activities

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.

kulay3d

 

Playdough Playmats

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.

You can buy playdough or find playdough recipes online. To get you started, here is a list of 20 playdough recipes (from Paging Fun Mums)

Alternative to Playdough: Playfoam

If you aren’t a big fan of playdough, playdough is another option to build creations. It’s squishy and easy to sculpt. A huge benefit is that it never dries out. Learn more about Playfoam here.

Head over here to get access to your Tagalog Colors (Mga Kulay) Playdough Playmats


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.

The Opposite Day (Araw ng Kabaligtaran)

The Opposite Day (Araw Ng Kabaligtaran) is a fun and humorous children’s story about a girl named Sophia who woke up in a strange position and declared that it is Opposite Day!

Follow along her day to see how she celebrates it with opposite manners and actions.

The book includes both English and Tagalog so children can gain literacy skills in both languages.

The character is inspired by the author’s daughter, Sophia. His daughter’s birthday is April 24, so Jomike Tejido decided that April 24 would be the “Day of Opposites.”

He encourages Filipino children around the world to join in on the celebration and have a “day of opposites” or “araw ng kabaligtaran” on April 24.

Themed activities to go with this book

  • Play “Eye Spy Opposites” – As you’re reading along, have an “opposites hunt” and ask your child to look for opposites. Discuss the vocabulary. It is the perfect time to teach the words and see them used in the context of the story.
  • Have your own opposite day –  Do opposite things during your daily routine. (Of course, make sure they are safe and responsible choices). Some examples include:
    • Eating dinner before dessert
    • Wearing your shirt backwards
    • Walking backwards a few steps to another room
    • Saying “Good morning” when it is night time and “Goodnight” when it is morning.
    • Using your opposite hand to write
    • Saying “goodbye” when you mean to say “hello.”
  • Paint a picture using the tip of the handle of a paintbrush instead of the brush

We hope you enjoy Opposite Day (Araw ng kabaligtaran)! Feel free to comment below to share how you celebrate it.

Featured Fil-Am: Deborah Francisco Douglas

We are excited to launch a blog series, “Featured Fil-Am,” in which we will highlight a Filipino/Filipina-American who is making an impact on our community. We will share our “interview” with each person in hopes to bring awareness of his/her amazing work.

Our first featured Fil-Am is blogger and writer, Deborah Francisco Douglas. She is widely known for her lifestyle blog, “Halo-Halo, Mix Mix” and has recently launched her own memoir, “Somewhere in the Middle.” 

Let’s learn more about Deborah:

Q: Where do you currently live? Where are you from?

A: I currently live in San Diego, but grew up in Washington State.

 

Q: Tell us a little bit about your cultural background.

A: I’m half Filipino but was raised in a typical American/white household. My dad is Filipino and is from Iloilo City, Philippines. My mom is part Slovenian, Irish and French(?) and grew up in California. It definitely makes me a very unique mix of different cultures.

Growing up I had always longed to know more about my Filipino side and oftentimes had this feeling like I was missing out on the “Filipino American experience,” not even sure what that meant.

“My identity as a Filipino American had always felt ambiguous. It was definitely not something I felt I could claim as my own. Sure, I knew what lumpia—the Filipino version of an egg roll—tasted like. I had learned tinikling, a traditional Philippine dance, and I remembered loud parties at my relative’s house where singing karaoke was just as important as the overflowing pot of white rice. But what did it mean to be Filipino? I couldn’t answer that question.”
 

– Somewhere in the Middle

A few years after college I was coincidentally assigned to the Philippines as a Peace Corps Volunteer and found myself on a journey of self-discovery with a unique opportunity to learn more about my roots and identity as a Filipino. Living in the Philippines for three years as a volunteer was such a transformational experience that I wrote a memoir about it called Somewhere in the Middle: A journey to the Philippines in search of roots, belonging, and identity. In the book, I reflect on my struggle to identify with both cultures at the same time, feeling caught in the middle between two very different worlds.

Q: What do you want others to know about the Fil-Am/Filipino culture?

A: Filipinos are one of the most hospitable people I have ever encountered. In the Philippines, I’d get invited to random people’s houses for coffee or to share a meal, or a random stranger would volunteer to accompany me to my destination if I was lost. Everyone would go out of their way to welcome me into their homes and share whatever they had. And I loved the smiles of the people on the street as I passed by. They’d give you a big smile, wave, and say hi and I always marveled at how easy it was for them to be so friendly to strangers.

In terms of Filipino American culture, I have come to realize that Filipino American identity is actually a much more diverse experience than people realize – and that’s a good thing! I grew up thinking there was only one type of Filipino American and that if you didn’t experience the same things or weren’t able to relate to that one type, it meant you weren’t really Filipino American. But my experience of living in the Philippines, as well as reading/writing about Filipino American identity over the past few years, has taught me that the term “Filipino American” can mean a lot of different things. One’s perspective of Filipino American identity can be shaped by various factors such as where you grew up, the friends and family you were surrounded with, your economic background, the demographics of your hometown, or even how you saw yourself in relation to others. Even depending on whether you’re a 1st generation immigrant, a 2nd or 3rd generation, or even what some now define themselves as a millennial Filipino American can affect how you identify yourself and how you view Filipino American culture. Some feel much more connected to their Filipino side and some much more connected to their American side, and most are somewhere in-between. It’s important to recognize that we all have diverse experiences and that each is valid and at the same time we can still be connected through our common Filipino roots.

Q: What do you currently do or have you been doing in hopes to contribute to the Fil-Am/Filipino community?

A: One of my passion projects is running a Filipino American lifestyle blog called Halo-Halo, Mix-Mix: Discovering the Filipino American Identity. I chose the subtitle to include the word “discovering” because I have come to understand that my identity of being Filipino American is an ongoing learning experience and I wanted to reflect that fluidity in the title. The original purpose of the blog was to share more about Filipino culture for those who want to connect more with their roots and heritage. But in the last year or so I have come across so many Filipino entrepreneurs that are doing amazing things and I love helping to promote these businesses and improve their visibility. The best part about this has been developing an awesome community of friends all over the world from Australia to Canada to the Philippines and all across the U.S.

Having now published my memoir, I hope to be able to inspire others who are searching for their roots to seek out their own journey of discovery and hopefully write and share their stories. Each of our stories matters and if we don’t tell our own stories, the world will be missing out on something great. In the future, I would love to be able to host memoir writing workshops to help others craft their story in a creative and fun environment.

Q: What or who is your inspiration behind what you do?

A: I feel very inspired by the Entrepinay community which is a group of Filipina entrepreneurs who connect with one another for networking, collaboration, and sisterhood. Just seeing all the amazing things they have accomplished inspires me to keep on pursuing my own dreams.

Q: Tell us anything else about where to find samples of your work.

A. Be sure to check out my book Somewhere in the Middle, and let me know what you think about it! It’s available on Amazon in both the paperback and Kindle version. You can also purchase it at any major online retailers such as Barnes and Noble or Apple Books.

Feel free to also check out my blog for posts on Filipino culture, food, travel, books, and identity. You can also read about my journey in the article “What are You?” featured on the Filipino American Voices series.

Giveaway Time!

Next week you can enter the giveaway of an autographed copy of Somewhere in the Middle, hosted by This Filipino American Life Podcast on April 10-14. Check out the Instagram accounts @tfalpodcast and @halohalo_mixmix for details.

Upcoming Events

In June, Deborah will be speaking at an author event hosted at Philippine Expressions Bookshop in San Pedro, CA on June 29 from 3-6pm. Please come say hi if you are in the area!

For future dates, she will be posting book events on her website at http://www.halohalomixmix.com/read-the-book/

Follow Along & Learn More

Instagram: @halohalo_mixmix

Email: info {at} halohalomixmix.com

Blog: http://www.halohalomixmix.com/

Bio:

Deborah Francisco Douglas is a writer, blogger, dreamer, and adventurer. She served three years in the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteer (2011-2014) working on community development and youth outreach programs. As a Filipino American, Deborah’s volunteer experience abroad connected her to a culture she had long desired to understand. When she returned to the United States, Deborah created the blog Halo-Halo, Mix-Mix – Discovering the Filipino American Identity, as a way to share her love of Filipino culture.

Deborah lives in sunny San Diego and loves hiking, reading, walks on the bay, and lazy mornings drinking coffee. Somewhere in the Middle is her debut memoir.

Visit her blog at http://www.halohalomixmix.com to learn more about Filipino culture, travel, and lifestyle.