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.
Plus, at the bottom of this post are 10 Tagalog Words/Phrases kids can learn to say to their moms. 🙂 Learn for yourself or have your kids learn them to say to you, if you’re a mama.
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
Mother’s Day Writing & Craft Activity
Below is 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.
Learn Tagalog Phrases To Say to Mom
In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought it would be fun for my kids to learn some phrases that I would want to hear as a mom. The kids practiced with their Daddy this past week, and we recorded their audio, which we included below. With time and practice, it will sound more fluid, but we are proud of their attempts and efforts to continue learning new words and phrases.
If any of these phrases resonate with you, feel free to learn them to tell your Mom or Mother figure, and have your kids try some that you would like to hear from them. 🙂
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
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.
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.
Paint a picture using the tip of the handle of a paintbrush instead of the brush
Learn opposite vocabulary words in Tagalog & English.
We created a bundle of “Opposites” printables: flashcards, a memory game, and a matching activity. Learn or review Tagalog vocabulary for opposites with these lesson printables.
Tagalog “Opposites” Audio Glossary (to go with the Opposites flash cards)
Eat Tapsilog –
Although this isn’t an opposite activity, the book does show Sophia eating tapsilog, a popular Filipino breakfast composed of tapa (beef), sinangag (garlic rice), and itlog (egg). The word tapsilog combines a few letters from each element to form the full word. It would be a delicious pairing to share tapsilog with the family, whether you decide to go out for breakfast or cook it yourself. Here is a recipe from Panlasang Pinoy if you’re looking for one way to cook it.
We hope you enjoy Opposite Day (Araw ng kabaligtaran)! Feel free to comment below to share how you celebrate it.
Another year has gone. For most, it is filled with many successes and challenges alike. For sure, many memories have been shared throughout the past 12 months. New Year’s Eve is a way to commemorate the year, to celebrate with loved ones, to reflect, and to wish for a prosperous new year.
New Year’s celebrations tend to be festive, joyful, and filled with unique traditions. Growing up, my Filipino family’s New Year’s festivities included the following traditions:
Family-centered: It was a tradition that the family stays together on New Year’s Eve. Whether with immediate or extended, our New Year’s Eve celebrations are traditionally centered around family.
Having a Clean Home: We necessarily don’t like to keep a dirty home generally but for New Year’s it is imperative to do a more thorough clean of the home and start the new year fresh. Sweeping, mopping, decluttering and having fresh towels and linens.
12 lucky round fruits: My mom emphasized the importance of displaying 12 fruits (especially round fruits) on our table. She explained to me that for New Year’s, the round shape is good luck and represents good wealth and fortune. The number 12 represents the 12 months of the year.
Jingle coins in your pocket: During the last minute counting down to midnight, each person would jingle piggy banks or put coins in their pockets to jingle. When the clock strikes midnight, coins would be tossed to the ground for others to gather.
Jump at the stroke of midnight to get taller: Another tradition at midnight is to jump as high as possible. It was said that jumping as high as we can help us grow taller. (Being that I’ve been 5 foot tall since I reached adolescence, I know jumping has not realistically been helping me grow, but we still continue this fun tradition to jump for joy at midnight.
Noisemakers: With our voices as noisemakers, party horns, pots and spoons, and jingling piggy banks our family gets loud! We cheer for the new year and the family’s volume sure is contagious.
Food: For all Filipino celebrations in general, food is one of the main highlights. For New Year’s Eve there are several circular foods offered. Some of the ones our family would serve are:
Ginataang bilo bilo- a sweet coconut milk stew of sticky rice balls, jackfruit, sweet potatoes, and plantains).
Puto- a Filipino steamed sweet cake)
Arroz caldo- a gingery rice soup with chicken and hardboiled eggs.
Sopas – a milky chicken macaroni noodle soup with quail eggs
Pansit or sotanghon- Not a round food dish, but the Filipino noodles represent long life. (Pansit is also traditionally served on birthdays)
Wearing polka dots: As mentioned, circles mean good fortune, so with that, Filipinos will wear clothes with polka-dots to wish for prosperity in the new year.
These traditions are some of the greatest memories I have with my family during this holiday. I hope to continue sharing many of them with our younger generations and to make new traditions as well.
What does New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day look like for your family? Feel free to share your traditions in our comment section or on social media.
We have also created a printable activity for your child to do. It teaches how to say Happy New Year in Tagalog and to practice writing it. It also includes a second page for your child to illustrate and color what New Year’s looks like for your family.
It is a great activity to have a discussion on your family’s traditions and also a wonderful keepsake to save for the future and look back on what the New Year’s celebration looked like through the eyes of your child/children during that year. The pages can be printed in the future years too if you want to date it and see the progression of the illustrations and memories.
We also made Countdown Cards from 10 – 1 to ring in the new year in English and Tagalog.
Christmas in the Philippines is known to be one of the most festive and grand celebrations. Between the assortment of delicious food, bright and colorful decorations, large family gatherings, and Simbang Gabi, Pasko (which is Tagalog for Christmas), is such a special celebration that carries on through the month and even longer.
Filipinos all over the world celebrate this wondrous holiday in ways that both have commonalities and that also include traditions unique to each family. This post is a round-up of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans who each are taking a moment to share their special traditions.
If you’ve never been to the Philippines during Christmas, the following posts give us a taste of “Paskong Pinoy.”
Ria Pretekin of Urban Ohana recounts her interfaith family’s celebrations of Christmas and Hanukkah in her post, “Latkes and Lumpia.” Much of their tradition is decorating the tree with Filipino decorations including mini parols, attending Christmas mass, and taking pictures with Santa.
For the holidays, Chef Rafi enjoys many kinds of Filipino foods including morcon, embutido, adobo, and hamonado, and take their New Year’s fruit picture. Chef Rafi’s YouTube channel has videos in multiple Philippine languages showing how to make these foods, such as their traditional pork adobo. In addition, they share another popular Christmas tradition of making the sweet, nutty dessert known as Food for the Gods (Head over here to see their video in Cebuano, Bisaya, and English)
Crafts and Activities
Are you or your kids into those surprise balls? This Surprise queso de bola activity (created by Albert @Filipeanut) is the perfect blend of the widely-known surprise ball with a Filipino twist. It is a Filipino Christmas tradition to serve queso de bola (ball of cheese) during Noche Buena. Learn how to make this fun craft here.
Maligayang Pasko! A Filipino Christmas unit: If you have children from Kindergarten through third grade, this printable unit on Filipino Christmas (from Teachers Pay Teachers) might be for you. It includes writing activities, a booklist, vocabulary cards, a mini-booklet, a parol craft, and more.
Last, but certainly not least, we musttalk about the parol when we bring up Filipino Christmas traditions! The parol is a brightly colored star-shaped lantern that is displayed magnificently lighting up our homes and streets during the holiday season. When seen, the parol symbolizes Christmas at its best.
Fil-Am Learners Activity: Make a Filipino Christmas Traditions Parol
In honor of Christmas and sharing all of these wonderful traditions, we have created a printable craft for you and your child to make. It is a mini parol to draw and write some of your favorite Christmas traditions on. The parol can be decorated and hung as a reminder of the special traditions, whether it be food, activities, games, songs, places that you share with your loved ones on Christmas. Do you like word games? Here is a Word Scramble of Filipino Christmas-themed words to try for yourself or print several out for your family to try at home or have it available as an activity during your Christmas party.
So let’s hear from you. What are your favorite Filipino Christmas traditions? Comment below to share. Our community loves to hear and share cultural stories with each other.
Related post: Managing the Stress of the Holidays
Although Christmas is such a joyous time of year, it can also be hectic at times with the preparations and planning. Roanne of Kalamansi Juice shares her tips to help minimize the stress in her post, “A Filipina Mom’s Mini Survival Guide to a Stress-Free Holiday.”
Books About Christmas & Other Celebrations in the Philippines
Do you know someone who loves to read? These books make great reads for this holiday season and teach so much more about Filipino heritage and their many celebrations.
Shopping for someone with style? Get exquisite handcrafted products made by Filipino artisans at Cambio & Co.
With Thanksgiving on its way, it is the perfect time to stop and reflect on what we are thankful for. In another one of our posts, “Showing Respect in the Filipino Culture,” we mention the Tagalog phrase, “salamatpo,” which means “thank you” as a way to show respect to others. To express that we are thankful for someone or something, we use the phrase, “nagpapasalamat ako” (translated “I’m thankful”). For example, if we wanted to say, “I am thankful for my family,” we would say in Tagalog, “Nagpapasalamat ako sa aking pamilya.”
We have created a craft activity for you and/or your child to make a beautiful gratitude banner. It can be hung this month (or any time of the year) as a visual reminder of all of the wonderful things you are thankful for.
The printable templates and labels for the banner are FREE. Once you download and print them out, pictures can be pasted on or drawings may be illustrated and colored to go with each Tagalog/English label.
Blank labels are also included for you to customize and fill in your own response of what you are thankful for.
It’s October! That means it’s time to celebrate Filipino American month. There is so much to be told and shared from the history of Filipino Americans. When did Filipino first migrate to the United States? How were their lives like? How did they establish themselves in this country? The Filipino American story, that is not published and shared enough in history books, in our country, is out there to be uncovered by more people and passed along so that our current and future generations can see the hardship and beauty of this culture. This month we will be sharing resources and facts from Filipino American history. Keep reading on to find a list of resources. While learning more about the history of our culture, we have created a printable fact sheet graphic organizer for you or your kids to fill in some facts that resonated with you.
Resources to Learn About Filipino American History
FAHNS (Filipino American History National Society) – A national organization, founded by Dr. Dorothy and Dr. Fred Cordova in 1982 with a mission to preserve and document Filipino American history. Their site is filled with extensive resources, a gallery, information about the museum, events, educational activities, and more.
Salamat Po! was written by Adriana Allen, a mother who wanted to teach her Filipino American children about the Filipino culture, but couldn’t find many books on it, so she decided to write her own book to share. It is an adorable picture book teaching children how to show respect in the Filipino culture, which is a very important value. (To learn more about showing respect in the Filipino culture, see related post here).
America is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan, tells the story of growing up in the Philippines, migrating to America, and the struggles as a first-generation Filipino-American.
Respect is a very important part of Filipino culture. We show respect to our elders, parents, grandparents, older siblings, relatives, friends, and teachers. Some examples of respect are:
Addressing elders with “po” at the end of sentences
Answering, “opo” to reply “yes” respectfully
Calling your older sister, “Ate” or your older brother, “Kuya.”
Listening respectfully to your parents and teachers
Using “mano po” to request for blessings from your elder relatives
We read the book, Salamat Po! by Adriana Allen, a Filipina who moved to the U.S. as a young child. It is an adorable picture book showing many ways to show respect in the Filipino culture.
It is a great overview to teach children or to reflect on and discuss ways we show our respect to others.
Showing Respect Activity
We were inspired by the book and wanted to create a follow-up activity to pair with our reading. So, we created a printable booklet for children to illustrate ways they show respect or ways they can show respect. It is a nice culminating activity to reinforce what was read in the story.
Although Salamat Po! is not required for this activity, it is the perfect pairing and a sweet book to read with your children.
What are some ways YOU show respect in your family? Feel free to share in the comment box below!
It’s Back to School season! We are starting a unit to learn about school-themed vocabulary words to kick off our season returning to school.
Activity 1: School Tagalog Pictionary
Our first activity for this unit is School Pictionary in Tagalog/English. It includes 18 pictured vocabulary cards to cut out. They can be used as flash cards to learn and review the words first. Then the cards can be used in an exciting game of Tagalog Pictionary.
Activity 2: Tagalog Memory Game: School-Themed Words
Using the same vocabulary words from activity 1 (Tagalog Pictionary), we have created cards to play Memory or a matching game. There is one set of picture cards and another set of just the Tagalog word for the picture.
Flip the cards over face down on a flat surface. Then choose a card from the picture pile and a card from the vocabulary word pile to see if you can make a match.
If you make a match, you can have another turn. If not, it will be someone else’s turn (If you are playing with other players).
It is a great test of memory and also a way to review Tagalog vocabulary for school-themed words.