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UniPro Now: Vol. 4 May 2014

U N I P R O N O W Your Move.

In This issue UniPro Summit Panelists Responding to the Devastation of Typhoon Haiyan & Past Delegates Making Their Move  UniPro Summit Keynote Spotlight with Roe Aragon, Georgina Tolentino, Michele Bumgarner, and Major General Antonio M. Taguba, U.S. Army Retired An Old Novelty The Pilipino Arts Renaissance

Table of Contents

7 1 A Letter from the President 2 A Letter from the Editor 3 UniPro Summit Keynote Spotlight: Roe Aragon

7 UniPro Summit Panelists: Responding to the Devastation of Typhoon Haiyan

On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a. Typhoon Yolanda) made landfall in the Philippines as one of the strongest and deadliest storms on record. As citizens of devastated areas like Tacloban desperately awaited medical attention, food supplies and security, the Pilipino–American community in the United States scrambled to pool resources and energy to help friends and family back home. What were the challenges faced by survivors of the storm? What needs were met by humanitarian relief efforts? Where did the global community fall short? UniPro Summit panelists share their experiences in responding to one of the most extreme natural disasters in Philippine history.


Featuring: Melody Garcia–Muniz, Rio Guerrero, Ayesha Vera–Yu, Ginny Barahona, and Lakhi Siap 15 UniPro Summit Keynote Spotlight: Major General Antonio M. Taguba, U.S. Army Retired 16 Typhoon Haiyan Community Response Calendar Infographic 17 Everything You Need To Know About TPS by Edwin “Gino” Raagas

What happens when Philippine nationals in the United States can’t return home after a natural disaster? 19 Where Does Your Money Go? by Lauren Lalicon

A quick breakdown of donations to the world’s largest non–profit organizations.


Homeg rown Featur .ph e!

21 An Old Novelty: The Pilipino Arts Renaissance

Kristina Rodulfo raises the question, “Are we in the midst of a Pilipino arts renaissance?” The creative minds behind performing arts pieces Journey of a Brown Girl; Nanay, Tatay, Anak; and Tagalogue provide insight on the challenges of bringing varied and nuanced Pilipino and Pilipino–American stories to the stage. Featuring Interviews with Jana Lynne Umipig of The Journey of a Brown Girl; Renee Floresca of Nanay, Tatay, Anak; and Andre Dimapilis of Tagalogue. 29 The Colonial Mentality by Sherina Ong 31 UniPro Summit Keynote Spotlight: Georgina Tolentino 33 Mental Health Awareness: Seeking Help as a Young Fil–Am by Ryann Tanap 35 UniPro Summit Panelists: Past Delegates Making Their Move

Past UniPro Summit delegates share the ways in which social activism, entrepreneurship and community organizing have become a part of their lives, while encouraging others to make their move.


Featuring: Ryann Tanap, Cesar Abueg, Rexy Josh Dorado, Krystal Meñez 46 UniPro Summit Workshops

Featuring: Andre Dimapilis, Brad Baldia and Jason Tengco, and Ayesha Vera–Yu 49 How to Engage and Give Back by Joe Pallon 51 A Homegrown.ph Feature: Why I’m Committed to Filipino Entrepreneurs by Rachel Kelly Davis 53 UniPro Summit Keynote Spotlight: Michele Bumgarner 55 Special Thanks 56 UniPro Now Staff and Contributors


A Letter from the President Dear UniPro Now: Volume 4 Readers,

Rachelle Peraz Ocampo President of UniPro: Pilipino American Unity for Progress

Follow UniPro: fb.com/unipronow

Twitter and Instagram

I welcome you all to this year’s theme of “Your Move,” which has already made history as the first theme to unify several Pilipino–American leadership conferences. UniPro is thrilled to work with Fil–Am Young Leaders Program (FYLPro) in Hawaii and Empowering Pilipino Youth through Collaboration (EPYC) in California, resulting in greater efforts for young Pilipino– American leaders to collaborate and build one community across the country. These efforts illustrate that it is possible for us to share resources and best practices with each other, to connect organizations with similar interests across the country, and to encourage dialogue and awareness of the issues that impact us. Let’s focus on harnessing these opportunities to their full potential by flipping through these pages and recognizing how much talent there is within our Pilipino family. With “Your Move” as our unified theme, we are pushing not only to inform you of the accomplishments of the inspiring leaders featured in these pages, but also to challenge you to act. While reading this magazine, ask yourself: 1.  What inspires or interests me?


2.  How can I use this information to help steer my day–to– day decisions and help my community? 3.  Have I followed UniPro on Twitter, Facebook, and

Instagram to keep up with the topics and issues that the community faces?

This is it. This is your chance to be a part of a movement that has already caught the attention of fellow community organizers and leaders across the nation. What will you say that you contributed to the “Your Move” campaign? #MyMoveIs to mobilize the Pilipino community to work together in a more efficient, practical, and unified way through programs like the UniPro Summit.

What is #YourMove? 1  UniPro Now: Volume 4

A Letter from the Editor It’s amazing to consider that this volume of UniPro Now marks the fourth consecutive year of releasing a magazine in conjunction with the UniPro Summit: A Multicultural Forum for Pilipino Young Professionals, Students and Youth. In 2011, we celebrated the accomplishments of thirty Pilipinos and Pilipino–Americans under the age of thirty. In 2012, we orchestrated a Pilipino renaissance in a time and space of our own choosing. In 2013, we encouraged readers to rise above their present conditions toward a hard–earned and self– determined future. Where do we go from here?

Sabrina Echaluce Editor–in–Chief of UniPro Now: Vol. 4

The theme this year is about engagement. It promotes a thoughtful consideration of the needs of a community by its own members. It follows an active strategy based on those considerations. It demands constant effort from those who choose to get involved and keep things in motion. It expects tangible outcomes that benefit people as much as it merely affects them. It begs the question, “What is your move?” We hope that the latest volume of our magazine will help you find your answer. I cannot emphasize enough how this magazine would be impossible without our designer Alyssa Esteban. Thank you so much for managing to turn chaos into beauty (each year) without fail. Thanks to Summit co–chairs Noel Aglubat and Jennifer Delos Santos, for doing everything to ensure that the tradition of the magazine continued to its fourth year. Thanks to the UniPro Blog staff writers, as well as editor Ryann Tanap, for sharing their points of view in the editorial pieces found in this volume. Thanks to Kristina Rodulfo, for her wonderful feature on the Pilipino performing arts scene. And thanks to our readers. We hope you draw as much inspiration from the words of our Summit panelists, workshop facilitators and interviewees as we did in creating this magazine. Mabuhay!

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UniPro Summit

Keynote Spotlight

3  UniPro Now: Volume 4

Keynote Spotlight

Rose–Ann “Roe” Aragon UniPro  My move is… RAA  …to tell compelling stories that

Coming Together) conference, a leadership/ community engagement conference. My goal inform communities in hopes that informed as FACT co–coordinator was to bring my communities can better shape the world. I beloved FACT delegates (we seriously loved believe in the power of storytelling, the art of them and always kept them in mind) the best exploring humanity and, oftentimes, sharing of the best, and I couldn’t do that sitting at voices that are not necessarily being heard. My my desk. I promised myself that to the best goal is to tell all kinds of stories to all kinds of my abilities, I would challenge myself to of people—stories from the middle class, rich get bit uncomfortable and go to places and and poor; stories from the healthy, sick and conferences that I had never been (as much as suffering; stories from the East to the West, I financially could handle!). UniPro was one the North to the South. My move is realizing of the most, if not the most, influential trips. I my ironic love/hate relationship with the status was just in awe with how much I had learned, quo. I love it enough to care to attempt to and yet how different it was from what I change the things I dislike about it. For years, knew. The speakers—different. The format— I’ve developed skills and talents in part by the different. The number of delegates—different. sacrifice of my hardworking parents, my selfless The number of days—different. So much of teachers, and caring loved ones. For years, I the conference was different, but it worked so well. It inspired me to make my move. It was an experience that affected the way my partner “I believe in the power of and I ran a conference that, in turn, affected 1300 other people (FACT’s 1300 delegates). storytelling, the art of exploring UniPro helped me to question our comfortable leadership practices. “Why do we always humanity and, oftentimes, limit ourselves to what has been done?” Why? “Why are we comfortable sticking to a system sharing voices that are not that we think works the best?” Why? “Why are we only reaching out to those within arm’s necessarily being heard.” reach?” Why? Why don’t we question everything that we do so we can keep striving for more? have absorbed the everlasting impact of those It’s our move, and I’m not ready to get who cared to leave their mark and nurture the comfortable. I'm ready to get going. future generation of problem–solvers—our UniPro  Create a rallying cry for the UniPro generation. Now, it is my move. My time. Summit. How would these words mobilize My mark. delegates to serve a particular cause or act in UniPro  How did the UniPro Summit the interest of their community? RAA  “Ating Panahon: Leave Your Mark.” It is influence you as a past delegate? How did it inspire you to ‘make your move’ in the Pilipino my rallying cry and theme for life, and I carry these words with me wherever I go. Ating community? RAA  I came to the second UniPro Summit panahon is the Pilipino phrase for “our time.” the summer that I was the co–coordinator For our generation, it is our time to step up of the Midwest’s FACT (Filipino Americans as leaders and young professionals and leave unipronow.org  4

Keynote Spotlight

our mark on the world. There is no better time than when we have our education at our fingertips, a pocket full of new technological and groundbreaking opportunities and this unrelenting energy and talent from our youthfulness. But affecting your community does not mean changing who you are. You can utilize your current talents and interests to leave your mark. There is no single path to building, strengthening, and empowering a community. Whether it be social media, culinary arts, sports, theater, medicine—they are all ways you can leave your mark. UniPro  How would you like to see the UniPro

Summit evolve in the future? What would you change about the UniPro Summit? RAA  I am already seeing the Summit evolve. When I first came to the Summit, I remember thinking, “I have learned so much... I need to bring these brilliant minds to the Midwest so that our area can also benefit from the views and resources that exist on the East Coast!” And, as the FACT co–coordinator, it became my mission to connect the Midwest with the East Coast—its leadership, culture, viewpoints—so that we could all share what worked and what didn't work based on our experiences in our communities. Each of our leadership communities are like gold mines of un–tapped knowledge. There is so much to learn from each other. There is so much more to learn from many other communities outside the Filipino community. That is where I see we can all do work to evolve. But, with suggesting change comes recognizing the present, and we have all come a very long way. Even five years ago, a strong connection between East Coast Filipino leadership and Midwest Filipino leadership was almost unheard of (at least) in the young professional/collegiate communities. When I first came to UniPro, I was one of three or four Chicago delegates. I fell in love with the Summit. It worked so differently from FACT, yet it worked so well. I learned a lot, and I was determined to help my Midwestern peers learn as I did from people 5  UniPro Now: Volume 4

who did not think or work the same way we did in the Midwest. I learned to question our widely accepted, comfortable practices. So, my FACT co–coordinator and I brought UniPro to our delegates. We invited many of the UniPro leaders to our conference. The 1300 FACT delegates met Tony Meloto, Rafe Bartholomew and Randy Gonzales—speakers that had an impact on me at the UniPro Summit. We, Midwesterners, returned to UniPro the follow– ing year—this time ten of us. In 2013, for the first time, a group of UniPro leaders came to FACT. And this year, I am writing this as a speaker at Summit. I proudly stand with more

[My mother] always says, “There are three things you will always have: your values, your family, and your education. And no one can ever take those away from you.” than a dozen fellow Midwesterners who—I’m also proud to say—got out of their comfort zones to travel somewhere new, meet new people and learn new things (many of them for the first time). I see UniPro and FACT continuing to reach outside its geographical borders, but I tip my hat to our fellow leaders because we have all come a long way. UniPro  What strategies have you followed

to reach your goals in the past? Did these strategies fail you at any point? Did they succeed? What advice would you give to UniPro Summit delegates as they forge their own paths in life? RAA  The things I do that help me to achieve are inspired by a phrase my mother always tells me. She always says, “There are three things

you will always have: your values, your family, and your education. And no one can ever take those away from you.” I didn't understand it then, but I understand it now. The strategies I use to reach my goals all center around this phrase. Every decision I make, I make with my values. Every day, I am fighting to stay true to who I am, and what I believe (that in itself is a constant work in progress!). I strive to find opportunities—jobs, internships, leadership roles—that allow me to be me. I used to seek out any and every opportunity, but I found that that strategy failed me. I took some jobs I didn’t care about and took on some leadership roles that did not fit my values as a person, and I came out empty–handed. They ended up being a waste of time. I came out uninspired, drained, and without new skills. I wasn’t inspired to move. I was inspired to watch the clock. I didn’t learn anything. I chose work that didn’t challenge me. I didn’t love what I did because it worked against some of the things I fought for, and I couldn't be proud of my work. Then, I realized that growth and inspiration come from doing “me” in everything that I do. So, I chose to pursue an education and a career that I believe represents everything that I have come to stand for, and in turn, it’s those values that keep me going to work every day. When things get hard, which they do, it’s only those values, my family and my education that drive me to keep going. When reporting gets difficult, what keeps me going is the fact that the stories I’m telling are 100% worth the hardship of telling them, because informing a community can change a community. My family helps me achieve my goals because I always remember their sacrifice. They are the ones that sacrificed their time, money and energy so that I might have a future. And my education helps me achieve because I feel the need to take responsibility for my intelligence and give back to a world that has invested in me. My advice to delegates is to create a path that they love. It most likely won't be an easy path, but a path that drives

them to be better, figure out who they are, and a path they can be proud of. UniPro  Think of your favorite cultural items

from the Philippines. It can be a dish or dessert. It can be a popular image or trope in Pilipino stories. It can be a Philippine city or historical landmark. What makes this aspect of Pilipino culture so important to you? RAA  My favorite aspect of the Filipino culture is the storytelling (surprise, surprise)! It’s the stories that you hear from your father, mother, lolo, lola, uncle, great grandfather and more. It seems that almost every Filipino father or mother at one point trucked through miles of heat and snow just to get an education (even though there might not have even been snow!). It seems as though every Filipino has heard the story of someone dear to them at one point having only a couple hundred dollars in his or her pocket and a suitcase of clothes when coming to America. It is the story of relentless endurance and hard work that make up the spirit of the Filipino/a. There are certain stories and folklore that I hear that bring people of all ages together. I remember hearing folklore from my uncle when I was twelve. I heard the story of the “white lady,” a ghostly woman who haunts the streets, or the aswang or bampira who seek to kill. Or how about the stories of magical and spiritual happenings? The stories that show just how spiritual the Philippines is? I hear about the spiritual remedies, unexplained miracles and stories of people’s extraordinary powers of premonition, etc. It was always fun (and sometimes frightening) hearing those stories from my uncle and lolo while sitting in a bahay kubo, then sharing those stories with my college friends while hanging out in our dorms, and then sharing those same stories with FACT facilitators over a meal. It goes to show that storytelling has the power of passing on Filipino values and tradition while connecting those of all ages, backgrounds and viewpoints. That's why I love it! 

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UniPro Summit Panelists

Responding to the Devastation of



On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a. Typhoon Yolanda) made landfall in the Philippines as one of the strongest and deadliest storms on record. As citizens of devastated areas like Tacloban desperately awaited medical attention, food supplies and security, the Pilipino– American community in the United States scrambled to pool resources and energy to help friends and family back home. What were the challenges faced by survivors of the storm? What needs were met by humanitarian relief efforts? Where did the global community fall short? UniPro Summit panelists share their experiences in responding to one of the most extreme natural disasters in Philippine history.

Image used under a Creative Commons Liscense from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Typhoon Haiyan Panel

Melody Garcia–Muniz Occupation  Profession: Sales Supervisor for Liberty Mutual Insurance.

All other hours of the day: Associate Director for FILCOM CFL, Inc.; Founder and Creator of One Night One Voice; Celebrity Host; Event Speaker; Performer; Mother to two wonderful sons (Gabriel and Jonathan); US Representative for MSKK (Mobile Soup Kitchen for Kids). And, if I may add, “currently under construction for bigger things.” Do stay tuned!

UniPro  My move is… MGM  …the quote by Erma Bombeck that says, “When I stand

before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’” This pretty much incorporates my “movement.” I have been very active on/off the stage with people, networking throughout my life, but it was an internal passion to keep pushing to somehow make a difference no matter how small or grand that kept a silent but steady heartbeat in my journey in life. As I have gained more wisdom in my walk, everything I have involved myself in, especially during the latter years, had to have meaning and purpose beyond self–gain. It’s the legacy that I’ve inherited from philanthropic parents, and one I hope to leave behind with my sons and those who come to know me. Think beyond yourself, take action beyond yourself, and see beyond yourself. It’s quite amazing at the end of the day when you realize the impact of one thought—followed by action and carried by faith and determination—can do.

UniPro  When you first learned of the devastation caused by Image used under a Creative Commons Liscense from DVIDSHUB.

9  UniPro Now: Volume 4

Typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a. Typhoon Yolanda) on November 8, 2013, what was your initial reaction? How was your community affected by the news? Were any friends or loved ones immediately impacted by the storm? MGM  I first learned that a large storm was on course for the Philippines through social media. I left the country in 1986, and I have not been back. As far as relatives, there are a few left

that reside in the northern part of the country, far from Haiyan’s direct path. It wasn’t until I started seeing some of my closest friends, whom I consider to be my “heart sisters,” start asking for prayers (since their parents, siblings, and other immediate family members reside in Cebu and surrounding areas) that I took a real interest. Then it became very personal to me, as I saw them internalize their fears, their thoughts, and even their tears. One person reached out to me via social media, asking for prayers in the aftermath of the storm as he has not heard from his family. I stayed glued to the television, even researched Philippine news online known for “uncensored” reporting. Then, I started my journey to forming a benefit concert that took a life of its own after the second evening following the storm. I found myself on my knees, crying for people I didn’t know, and whispering one line: “help me help them.” What immediately followed was what I call “The Miracle Journey.” It became the very vessel that propelled me to take action and bring a community together, to bridge some of the gaps that existed in silos between different organizations, to eventually become the voice of those unheard and half–way around the globe with stories unpublished by media. The connections and dotted lines eventually led to a positive impact on the lives of others. UniPro  What was the most significant

challenge you faced post–typhoon? What were your main concerns for the Philippines? MGM  One that continues to be a challenge is creating the continued awareness, urgency, and understanding that help will be needed for a long time. Long after the media has moved on to the next big thing, some of us residing half– way around the globe continue to be involved in helping those who needs us. Also, how do we break the cycle of “competitiveness” that exists in our very culture towards a common purpose? Believe me, I faced that even when I was not associated with specific organizations. The first question I was usually asked was, “How much did you raise (because my

organization raised this much)?” Needless to say, people were focused on the wrong things. It created the opportunity for me to speak on the platform of unity, true intentions and the value of humanitarianism. In fact, when leaders came to find out about “The Miracle Journey” of One Night One Voice, I was met with almost disbelief. It’s almost unheard of to pull together an event or fundraiser without a single penny being spent, or the bells and whistles that usually draws the crowds, but that’s exactly what took place. And to see the collaboration of different organizations work together while global leaders step in… again, it’s a rare moment, but it happened. My main concern for my home country is the corruption that exist from the local to high levels, which commonly exists in other “third–world countries” or whenever a major disaster occurs. UniPro  How would you describe the Aquino

Administration’s actions in the aftermath of the storm? How can disaster response and relief efforts be improved in the Philippines? MGM  My personal opinion? I would like to believe there are a few good souls out there trying to fight the good fight, but this is outweighed by those with very selfish intentions, bad publicity and corruption. There were those moments that made me cringe as we watched the victims of the storm hopelessly wait for help that was very slow to respond, while others suffered due to lack of it. Watching media coverage of the “song and dance routine” and the complete disconnect that officials had of what was happening on the ground was beyond aggravating and disheartening during the first few weeks after the storm. It starts with a higher sense of personal accountability and humanitarian focus from the top and down. An internal look of everything that went wrong and restructuring a more organized first response action within national and local governments is necessary. With all the financial assistance that has poured in, rebuilding devastated areas, unipronow.org  10

educating the masses, investing in first response disaster equipment, and having a good body of folks monitoring transactions, will be the first foundation that needs to be considered moving forward. It is a huge undertaking, but with the right folks in place, it can happen. UniPro  What strategies have you followed

to reach your goals in the past? Did these strategies fail you at any point? Did they succeed? What advice would you give to UniPro Summit delegates as they forge their own paths in life? MGM  Magnify the talents you’ve been blessed with. That intrinsic instinct that tells you where your passion lies… pay attention to it. Growing up Pilipino, most of my generation has heard the expectations, “Be a doctor, a nurse, an attorney, a business owner, etc.” And there is nothing wrong with that. I’m the product of a successful doctor and business

“Magnify the talents you’ve been blessed with. That intrinsic instinct that tells you where your passion lies… pay attention to it.” owner, and both came from families of poor means. However, one of the many attributes that both my parents have that I am highly proud of was their sense of kinship and true humanitarian spirit. They kept themselves grounded by doing what made a difference, despite the social circles we were in way back then. I remember my father telling another doctor when I was a child, “I took an oath to save lives, not to bleed my patients dry.” He used to take me to the province with him one Sunday a month to help volunteer his medical services. I was probably around four or five 11  UniPro Now: Volume 4

years–old at the time. Whatever you choose to do in life, the career you build, who you come across, make it matter. It’s sometimes easier said than done. You fall into a routine, you get desensitized by what’s going on, competition gets tough and keeping up with the Jones’ gets you side–tracked. There is absolutely nothing wrong with “living the good life,” but be sure what you do along the way counts for something good. It does not have to be as big as discovering the next big cure, but wherever your life journey takes you, make it count. You get one chance at this life. How would you like your legacy to be remembered? UniPro  Think of your favorite cultural items

from the Philippines. It can be a dish or dessert. It can be a popular image or trope in Pilipino stories. It can be a Philippine city or historical landmark. What makes this aspect of Pilipino culture so important to you? MGM  The spirit of “ kapwa ko mahal ko.” There’s something to be said about the Pilipino spirit. It’s almost uncanny how we can look across the room and recognize another Pilipino. We just know. The majority of us, once we confirm that the person who has activated our internal “spidey–sense” is indeed Pilipino, break into a smile, followed by rapid questions of “where are you from?” Then it’s a heart– warming invitation to visit or get together for a merienda, a birthday party or event, and within a couple of meetings, you are now considered family. The way we end up calling every elder our tita or tito, lola, lolo, etc. We truly define that family goes beyond blood. You can be anywhere in the world, you come across a Pilipino and you will never be alone. It’s that spirit of camaraderie, the stories we share of success, struggle and perseverance. The “bonding” formed over cultural dishes and thousands of pictures later on, the endless karaoke and our ability to laugh at our own expense makes us special. We bond together for the common purpose of creating that better tomorrow.

Typhoon Haiyan Panel

Lakhi Siap UniPro  My move is… improved with proper training and a proper LS  …to go back person with emergency and disaster planning

to the Philippines and bring up the standards.

experience in charge.

UniPro  What strategies have you followed

to reach your goals in the past? Did these strategies fail you at any point? Did they first learned of the succeed? What advice would you give to devastation caused UniPro Summit delegates as they forge their by Typhoon Haiyan own paths in life? LS  This is probably more like advice than (a.k.a. Typhoon strategies: to always network and make Yolanda) on Occupation  Community friends, to never give up, to always share your November 8, 2013, Relations Manager, what was your initial dream and passion with others, and to do Entrepreneur, Registered what makes you happy at the same time. Just reaction? How was Nurse, Theater Actor. like everybody else, I have had my share of your community affected by the news? failures and hard times. I have had many instances where I had to be on the Ramen Were any friends or loved ones immediately Noodle diet and be late on my rent and bill impacted by the storm? LS  Obviously, like everyone else, it was shock payments. I have met many people who have and disbelief. I knew a typhoon was headed taken advantage of my kindness, but I kept on their way, but I really thought it would be like being positive, and I did not have any space for any other typhoon. When I saw the images and negativity. I learned from mistakes and just heard the news, I called my mother and friends kept moving on. Their dream job does not back home to see if they were alright. I did have exist—they must create it. It is never too late family friends who lost their homes, and friends to start, and they should just go for something who went missing but were eventually found. and give it their all. I can happily say that I am on a path to living my dream, which is going UniPro  What was the most significant back home to the Philippines every year for at What were challenge you faced post–typhoon? least a month, travel the world and be able to your main concerns for the Philippines? support myself. LS  Corruption and a lack of systems. There UniPro  Think of your favorite cultural items were tons of people and government officials from the Philippines. It can be a dish or who took advantage of the situation. dessert. It can be a popular image or trope in UniPro  How would you describe the Aquino Pilipino stories. It can be a Philippine city or Administration's actions in the aftermath of historical landmark. What makes this aspect the storm? How can disaster response and relief of Pilipino culture so important to you? LS  It has to be Cebu City. It is a city that is efforts be improved in the Philippines? LS  Terrible and frustrating. Aquino’s unlike any other city I've been in, because it administration handled everything poorly. has some of the best beaches and mountains, Many people did not get the aid or help they while being urban with a down–to–earth feel. needed. Aquino down–played and down– That city has shaped me into being a giving, graded everything. Disaster efforts can be easy–going and positive person. UniPro  When you

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Typhoon Haiyan Panel

Rio Guerrero UniPro  My move is… RG  …to inspire all Filipinos to pursue their passion, achieve

their goals, and mentor those who come after them.

UniPro  When you first learned of the devastation caused by

Occupation  Attorney

Typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a. Typhoon Yolanda) on November 8, 2013, what was your initial reaction? How was your community affected by the news? Were any friends or loved ones immediately impacted by the storm? RG  I asked myself how my particular skill set, connections, and influence could help those in the Philippines, as well as those here in the United States that were affected by this unprecedented calamity. UniPro  What was the most significant challenge you faced

post–typhoon? What were your main concerns for the Philippines? RG  Six months later, the images have faded from many Americans' minds. But the recovery continues—and will continue for years. How can we sustain the recovery, and how do we prepare for the next natural disaster? UniPro  How would you describe the Aquino Administration's

actions in the aftermath of the storm? How can disaster response and relief efforts be improved in the Philippines? RG  I do not presume to understand all of the challenges that go into delivering the perfect relief and recovery response to any natural disaster, nor how to meet those challenges. But, certainly, I hope that all of us—including the Aquino administration—have learned from our deficiencies so that we will be better prepared the next time our kababayan are in such dire need.

13  UniPro Now: Volume 4

UniPro  What strategies have you followed

to reach your goals in the past? Did these strategies fail you at any point? Did they succeed? What advice would you give to UniPro Summit delegates as they forge their own paths in life? RG  Discover what drives you, and pursue that passion relentlessly. Be sure to stop and look around. Enjoy the journey. UniPro  Think of your favorite cultural items

from the Philippines. It can be a dish or dessert. It can be a popular image or trope in Pilipino stories. It can be a Philippine city or historical landmark. What makes this aspect of Pilipino culture so important to you? RG  The sun in the Filipino flag. There is always a new day for us to be better, to be more unified, to be proud Filipinos, and to be beacons for the future.

Ginny Barahona

Occupation  Senior

Development Advisor at the U.S. Agency for International Development

Ginny Barahona serves as a Senior Development Advisor at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). She focuses on USAID Forward, which aims to transform the Agency to achieve high-impact development by creating new partnerships, emphasizing innovation and focusing on results. She was appointed by the Obama Administration in 2010 to USAID’s Legislative and Public Affairs, where she focused on the role of development in national security and led strategic communication and outreach for USAID’s work in Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance. Before joining USAID, she worked with the International Rescue Committee in the Democratic Republic of Congo; the Afghan Women’s Network in Afghanistan and Pakistan; and Sesame Workshop in New York on international Sesame Street co-pro– ductions throughout Asia, Africa, Middle East and Latin Amer– ica. She began her international affairs career in the Domini– can Republic in 2001 as a Fulbright scholar examining parent participation in primary school. Ms. Barahona graduated from Temple University and has two graduate degrees in History and Foreign Service from Georgetown University. She is originally from New York City and was raised in Elizabeth, NJ. 

Image used under a Creative Commons Liscense from DFID - UK Department for International unipronow.org  Development. 14

UniPro Summit

Keynote Spotlight

Major General Antonio M. Taguba U.S. Army, Retired. Chairman of Pan Pacific American Leaders and Mentors (PPALM). President of TDLS Consulting, LLC. Community service advocate.

LEADER. 15  UniPro Now: Volume 4

Typhoon Haiyan Community Response Calendar Considering the large number of individuals and organizations taking every opportunity to contribute to relief efforts in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan, UniPro developed a Community Response Calendar to foster collaboration among Pilipino– American groups, as well as maximize the turnout for each fundraising event. UniPro was able to compile the following information surrounding fundraising events held in New York and New Jersey.  Above  Organizations’ names reflecting the

relative number of events in the Community Response Calendar. Below  A per-week event count from November 10, 2013 to February 17, 2014.


portrayed in these infographics were based on the New York and New Jersey events featured in UniPro’s community response calendar on Facebook. These events were found by UniPro members or submitted to UniPro by event organizers. This data does not represent every Typhoon Haiyan/Typhoon Yolanda fundraiser in New York and New Jersey. Numbers regarding the amount of funds raised were submitted by the event organizers to UniPro. unipronow.org  16


Everything You Need to Know About TPS What happens when Philippine nationals in the United States can’t return home after a natural disaster? By Edwin “Gino” Raagas


the base of the Statue of Liberty—a symbol that welcomes immigrants arriving from abroad—is a quote from Emma Lazarus that reads, “Give me your tired, your poor; Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

In these months since Typhoon Haiyan, Pilipinos have figuratively been trying to etch in another line that reads, “Give me your people who are temporarily unable to return safely to the Philippines.” WHAT IS TPS?

Temporary Protected Status (or TPS) is granted by the U.S. to foreign nationals who temporarily cannot return to their country of origin because of armed conflict, calamity, environmental disaster, or an extraordinary and temporary condition. If granted TPS, and assuming no travel ban applied to them, Pilipino citizens currently living and working in the U.S. (documented or undocumented) would be: • Protected from deportation • Legally authorized for employment for as long as TPS is granted • Issued documents required for outside travel WHY IS TPS IMPORTANT?

The fight for TPS is so crucial right now because it affects Pilipinos facing the threat of deportation in the U.S. who also serve as breadwinners for their families back home. According to the World Bank, “remittances sent home by migrants to developing countries are equivalent to more than three times the size of 17  UniPro Now: Volume 4

official development assistance.” Going back to the Philippines—if they even have a place to return to after the devastation—would not only result in a loss of financial support for their families, but would also add further bottlenecking in relief and recovery efforts. WHAT IS THE CURRENT TPS DESIGNATION STATUS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

As of December 16, 2013, the Philippines has formally requested that the U.S. grant the country TPS. The request is still being reviewed by the US government, but if approved, there will certainly be thousands of Pilipinos coming out en masse to avail of the benefit by meeting all criteria including: • Philippine citizenship • Proof of being “continuously physically present” in the U.S. since the designation date • An application filed within the allotted registration period • Security and criminal background clearance WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TPS?

TPS, however, is not the same as permanent residency. When TPS is terminated, beneficiaries go back to either the same status they had before TPS, or to any other status they acquired while listed as TPS. The latter is considered to be the game–changer in this situation since one can apply for adjustment of status or other immigration benefit while registered as TPS, contingent on eligibility. If granted TPS, the Philippines would join the list of countries that have received TPS as a result of a calamity or environmental disaster, which comprise of El Salvador, Haiti and Honduras. Other TPS countries include Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan and Syria. Fil–Am communities are mobilizing by urging their elected officials and the State Department to take action and grant TPS for Pilipinos in response to Typhoon Haiyan. Relief 2 Recovery has staged demonstrations in front of the White House, and has provided templates that supporters can use on social media platforms to promote awareness to the call for TPS. 


tps4filipinos.org @Relief2Recovery NAFCON

nafconusa.org @NAFCON


• http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-statusdeferred-enforced-departure/ temporary-protected-status • http://tps4filipinos.org/ • http://immigrationimpact. com/2013/11/22/will-filipinosbe-granted-temporary-protectedstatus-in-the-wake-of-typhoonhaiyan/ • http://www.filipinoreporter.us/ home/immigration/2786-immigration-corner-tps-and-work-authorization-for-filipinos-affectedby-typhoon-yolanda.html • http://globalnation.inquirer. net/94323/fil-ams-hail-aquinorequest-for-temporary-protectedstatus-for-filipinos • Thttp://web.worldbank.org

Image used under a Creative Commons Liscense from The Austrailian Departmen of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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Where Does Your Money Go? A quick breakdown of donations to the world’s largest non–profit organizations. By Lauren Lalicon


egardless of our intentions when we The American Red Cross seeks to provide donate money, charities highlight the emergency assistance, disaster relief, and humanitarian in us, enabling people to education to those in United States. 90.7% of their budget is dedicated to program selflessly donate without expecting anything expenses. In 2013, total operating revenues in return. Accountability and transparency and gains equaled $3,435,941. Program surrounding the charities’ finances are two expenses came out to be $3,054,869 and in– important things to consider when choosing cluded travel, maintenance, supplies, materials, to donate. Fortunately, sites like Charity Navigator can provide analyses of the financial contractual services, and more. The remaining statements of high–profile charities like United $325,714 was spent on overhead costs. Nation’s Children’s Fund, the Red Cross Doctors Without Borders, a French– and Doctors Without Borders. founded international medical non– United Nation’s Children’s Fund, UNICEF, governmental organization, provides provides humanitarian and developmental humanitarian aid to developing, disease– aid to children and mothers in developing stricken and war-torn countries. According countries. According to Charity Naviga– to Charity Navigator, Doctors Without tor, UNICEF allocates 90.3% of its budget Borders-USA spends 86.8% of its budget on on program expenses, while 2.8% and 6.7% program expenses. Total revenue in 2012 are spent on administrative and fundraising amounted to $203,348,061, while expenses expenses. UNICEF’s 2012-2013 financial were $209,527,324, creating a deficit for the statement shows that the organization organization in that year. LoveToKnow received $586,646,533 in donations, mostly Charity notes that Doctors Without Borders from United Nations members, while their spends “approximately 86 to 89 cents of every unrestricted expenses totaled $578,130,201. dollar you give… to supporting the With a percentage of 90.3%, UNICEF overall mission.” could be considered a sound choice from a financial perspective. 19  UniPro Now: Volume 4


Doctors Without Borders

86.8 9.3

American Red Cross

90.7 9.7


90.3 0

20 Overhead





Program Expenses

While a high percentage of these donations The popularity of a charity enhances the go directly to the programs, a small percentage amount of accountability and transparency is required for overhead costs. However, these needed to remain influential in the world of overhead costs are crucial in order to pay for humanitarianism and philanthropy. Each operating expenses such as salaries, training, organization’s financial statements show the electricity, etc. as well as increasing the increase in revenue throughout the years. Five charity’s public awareness. Without these years ago, UNICEF decided to release its expenses, the organization cannot function. financial statements. In 2012, the charity High overhead costs are not necessarily bad received $501,571,105, and just one year later, as long as they come with accountability it raked in about $90 million more. and transparency. Even with high overhead When people see where their money is going, costs, an organization might be able justify they are more inclined to donate to a specific dedicating 30% or more to administrative charity over another. Accountability not only and fundraising costs, but also only if the increases revenue but also legitimacy. The public can freely access this information. world is full of charities, and in order to come Nevertheless, high costs can be detrimental out on top, an organization needs to show how to a charity’s legitimacy. Charities that spend dedicated it is to its goal of humanitarianism. 90% of their revenue on their programs are Use this information to your advantage the typically more desirable. According to the Foundation Group, 501(c)(3) charities, like the next time you choose a charity to ensure that three aforementioned, are generally even more their dedication matches yours.  favorable because the American government recognizes them as non-profit organizations that are dedicated to humanitarian goals.

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An Old Novelty

The Pilipino



Kristina Rodulfo raises the question, “Are we in the midst of a Pilipino arts renaissance?” The creative minds behind performing arts pieces Journey of a Brown Girl; Nanay, Tatay, Anak; and Tagalogue provide insight on the challenges of bringing varied and nuanced Pilipino and Pilipino–American stories to the stage.

Photo credit: Sachi Villareal

The Pilipino Arts Renaissance

The Journey of a Brown Girl An interview with Jana Lynne Umipig By Kristina Rodulfo


ccording to Jana Lynne Umipig, creator storytelling, movement and prose, in order to and director of The Journey of a Brown combat subordinate and objectifying attitudes Girl, the Filipino–American arts surrounding Filipinas. renaissance is nothing new. With its successful debut and encore in March “I don’t see it as an arts renaissance,” she said. 2014, Journey is just the beginning of what “I see it as an evolution, or a revolution, Umipig so confidently describes time and again from where we were before and where we’re as a movement. She states, “I truly believe this going to continue.” type of work is much more than us going on stage and talking about all the bad experiences It’s characteristic of Umipig to turn a popular and struggles of our people. It’s about thought upside–down. After all, Journey does connecting with other individuals on the idea exactly that to previous conceptualizations of empowerment and creation and building of the pinay. The show combines true larger possibilities.” testimonies with history and creative KR  Why did you create The Journey of a Brown Girl? JLU  I really put it together for myself first and foremost. It was my pathway to discover who I really was—my identity as a pinay. That was the core reason. As I started to expand, doing interviews of different women, I realized for myself that this is not just my story, but that her story was mine and mine was hers. A lot of sisters felt the same about the hardship, the disparity, and having a hard time in the U.S.

23  UniPro Now: Volume 4

living as pinay. I wanted to talk about how we begin healing from that. How do we come to a space together where we can start to create something together and say, ‘That’s it! We’re not going to be in a space of being victimized anymore!’ We’re going to return to our roots, and rather than connect on our struggle and how Filipinas have been exploited, we will heal by continuing to do the work and find empowerment with one another.

KR  How has Journey changed or grown since

its first incarnation as a one–woman show? Any future plans? JLU  I think that a big thing for me was, in the process, just allowing it to become even more so owned by those who are a part of it. That is really huge for me. Since the show, many of the girls have pushed on their own platforms. Karen [Pangantihon] is working on a one–woman show. Renee [Floresca] is working on a manuscript and a web series. Precious [Sipin] is working on writing, and everyone is just coming to new spaces. They are growing individually and with the project. The hope was to put it up again, and for us to go on tour. I’m now learning more about the business of theatre and media, and I’ve been working on sponsorships. We want to meet multiple audiences in addition to those grassroots connections and activists in the community. We want to use Journey as a platform for putting on more events for pinay empowerment. KR  What is the greatest challenge or issue you’ve encountered while creating Journey? JLU  Very often we have divisions in our community. We have the academic community versus the art community, the radical community. The word ‘militant’ comes up often. All of these words say, ‘I don’t roll with those people because I’m not that,’ as opposed to looking at the truth of us all being Filipinos in trying to really fight for the presence for the community, and spaces, and be able to talk about our narrative, hear our voices, and rise up for our causes. It’s just crazy for me how divided it can be. These groupings in our community are not fully collaborating with each other on projects. That is something I seek to do and hope for. KR  Sisterhood is central to the production of Journey, can you elaborate on how everyone came together? JLU  We are such a diverse group of people. I wasn’t looking at organizations or affiliations.

I was looking at the individual people. Those individuals are my sisters now. We’re so close. Journey is a space of connection, and what I want to continue to work on is how can we create more spaces like that that allow us to connect on this deeper level of being that aside from all these labels and titles that seek to divide us even further. These are constructs that our community has perpetuated. It’s aggravating sometimes. Why do we hinder ourselves in that way? I see it a lot with artists, too. We lose sight of the real purpose. The whole point in us putting on these shows or creating in this way is to fulfill that need for creating and to make room for a larger scale of narratives that are aside from masters’ narratives. Everyone has a story to tell, and every different group that comes together, they have a different story to tell. It’s our story that makes it so strong—written by us, performed by us, designed by us and meant to have conversations with us. KR  What are your thoughts on the growing

Filipino theatre community in New York? JLU  In light of Journey, I’ve been paying homage to those before us. There have been individuals who invested themselves in the theatre community before. When I was in college, it was really important for me to find access [to] as many Filipino–written plays as possible. Different generations have different experiences and different mindsets. Now, we started looking at a new generation of spirituality, a lot of connecting to ancestry, delving deep into indigenous identity, and unearthing our stories as second generation people in New York. There is a disparity within the theatre community for the presence of Filipino–, or even Asian–Americans. I saw this ‘renaissance’ as us finding each other and converging in the same space and time and new pathways. 

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The Pilipino Arts Renaissance

Nanay, Tatay, Anak An interview with Renee Floresca By Kristina Rodulfo


enee Floresca, a.k.a. Renee Rises, is a force to be reckoned with. She commands the room with her commitment, whether to a character, her craft, or her Filipino roots. When Nanay, Tatay, Anak, a play written, starring, and co–directed by Floresca, debuted in New York City last December, she knew it would introduce taboo topics to the Filipino community: mental illness, addiction, and infidelity, among others. Nanay, Tatay, Anak was originally produced in Floresca’s hometown of San Francisco as her first full–length independent work. In its first run, she did not advertise it as a personal narrative, nervous about the way it would be received by family and friends. In reality, the story about her drug–addicted father was close to the truth.

“Everything that had happened [in the play] happened in some shape or form to me and my family,” she said. After a blessing from her parents, she undertook the second run of Nanay, Tatay, Anak in New York, fully disclosing just how honest the narrative was this time around. With a new cast and co–director, Andre Dimapilis, plus an audience largely comprised of strangers, Floresca’s play not only pushed boundaries in the Fil–Am community, but also extended them.

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KR  What was your inspiration to write and produce Nanay, Tatay, Anak? RF  Personally, as a performance artist, one of my major reasons for writing this piece was to seek catharsis, and seek forgiveness, and a larger understanding of my father and his migrant experience. My goal was not to write this and make a change in our community, but what I realized was it had an effect, and it opened a lot of doors and pathways for people to connect to a family that looks like their own. My art is not explicit art. All of my writing is very implicit, and one of the issues that I think people didn’t fully gauge is the connection between mental health and addiction, which is a high occurrence. That’s something my father was dealing with—I wanted to bring that to the forefront of the narrative. I wanted his character to unveil a lot of different shades that the daughter couldn’t see, but the audience could see. A huge part of my misunderstanding of him was what the fuck he was going through. I was angry at him, and I hated him, but there was clearly much more depth to his experience. As a young child, we tend to judge what our parents do without having any deeper understanding of why they do that, how they get there, without questioning and being reactive. We judge ourselves—and judge other people—without really walking in their shoes. KR  There’s been talk about a Filipino arts renaissance in New York. What are your thoughts? RF  Filipinos and art have always existed in New York. I think that for our community, it has not existed in our age group because there wasn’t a space to cultivate our artistry. I do think that there is a Filipino arts renais– sance occurring in New York City. I don’t think. I know. I’ve been here for six years. The kind of art that we’re creating is not of master narratives. We are reacting to a lack of narratives. This art is very specific to our community.

KR  What do you have to say about other Filipino–centered works like Here Lies Love? RF  I hear Here Lies Love is an amazing piece, but I think (like a ton of others) this isn’t a narrative of our own. Yes, it is about a Filipino woman from the Philippines, but we are Filipino–Americans, and we have such a rich narrative here that has not been explored. I want to learn from things like Here Lies Love because of the caliber of talent, but also because I am a Filipina–American. I think it’s important to address the fact that it wasn’t written by a Filipino–American, but by David Byrne. I think that it’s great that it exists, and it’s great art, but it’s extremely important to use the talent in our community. It is vital to see our talent is extremely competitive. We are just as great as any community as long as we see that. That’s the problem. We haven’t given our selves the credit that we deserve. KR  What does the future of the Filipino arts

movement look like? RF  When I have my children in the future, I want them to be able to say, ‘Nay, I want to go to this show.’ And I want them to be able to see that those young women and men look like them. I want them to have that as a normalized thing. I don’t want it to be an exception. That’s not what I want. I want to redefine otherness so that people can really cultivate our own stories and celebrate them in a way that has not been celebrated. What I mean by that… is in droves. KR  What are the next steps for Nanay,

Tatay, Anak? RF  I wrote Nanay, Tatay, Anak with the intention for it to be produced by someone else. I don’t know if I’d personally pick up this project again. I definitely have had visions of doing it again in a different city. I’m at that point where I want to create more of media that is film–based and video–based, so if I do it, I will do it in a different largely Filipino community with a local cast. I want to cultivate artistry within the community.  unipronow.org  26

The Pilipino Arts Renaissance


An interview with Andre Ignacio Dimapilis By Kristina Rodulfo


s soon as actor and director Andre Ignacio Dimapilis heard about the Filipino–American “arts renaissance,” he would not let it happen without him. While art has always been inextricably tied to Filipino communities, Dimapilis first heard the “renaissance” term used during a talkback after the production of Tagalogue Volume 1. After seeing the first run, he performed in Tagalogue Volume 2, and later became a director for Tagalogue Volume 3, which de– buted in October 2013. After the show was when Dimapilis used the term himself, proclaiming to a packed room that, indeed, New York City is home to a flourishing Filipino arts renaissance. Dimapilis, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in theatre and a Master’s Degree in applied theatre, got his start teaching acting classes in community theatres and schools. He focuses on using theatre for education, social justice, and community building, and there is no doubt that Dimapilis is a community builder. Encounter any member of the tight–knit Tagalogue Volume 3 family and they will sing praises about the way he leads. We spoke with the artist to explore his perspective from the forefront of a thriving movement that celebrates Filipino–American art.

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Photos: Sachi Villareal

KR  Why did you decide to work on Tagalogue Volume 3? AD  After Tagalogue Volume 2. It was important for Filipinos to have a platform, and it felt really good to be on stage with all Filipinos. That was the first time it ever happened for me, so I decided I needed to create something. I needed to create some Filipino arts organization, or some kind of collaborative. In January 2013, Renee Rises hit me up randomly on Facebook, and she was looking for the same thing. She said she wanted to do a performance about honoring our ancestors, and I thought, ‘Oh, so do I!’ That’s how we got our theme for Tagalogue Volume 3. KR  You have been talking about this idea of

a Filipino–American arts renaissance. Can you elaborate on what this means? Why is this happening now? AD  I think Filipino–Americans are now asking the question, ‘What is our Filipino–American identity?’ The Filipino–American diaspora is huge. I think it’s misrepresented and under– represented in the media. I think that all these strong, powerful, and creative artists really have something to say about what it means to be Filipino–American. And they’re letting our society know that we’re here, and we have a lot to say. We’re not just engineers, nurses. We’re not just all those stereotypes.

KR  Most of the performers in Tagalogue were quite young. Does this have any significance? AD  I think it’s great! But, I also think there is room for an intergenerational spectrum on stage with learning from elders, and teaching the youth, and the youth teaching us. We start that way because we’re the same age and have these same goals in mind. [We have the] tenacity, the determination, and the fun

Filipino–Americans are now asking the question, ‘What is our Filipino–American identity?’ of being on a similar path on our journey for what it means to be Filipino–American. That’s where we connect. I would love to see an inter– generational performance. My goal was to get more youth in Tagalogue, but you can only tackle so much at one time, and trust that the seeds you plant will bear fruit at another time.

KR  What does the future of Tagalogue look like? AD  I see it continuing. The reason why I say continuing is because after six months of being away from Tagalogue Volume 3, I’m really feeling and seeing the effect it has on the community. We’re asking for a Filipino– KR  What has been the most gratifying part of American community and Filipinos to come this project? forward with their personal stories, and that’s AD  Kapwa. It is. Connecting with other important. I see it expanding. I’m looking Filipinos and sharing our experiences and to have more directors, more of a production really understanding each other because we team, a bigger venue because we sold out all are Filipino or Filipino–American and our three shows. I have a lot of ideas. I see a experiences are very similar. We understand it one–man show or solo piece from me—less because we lived it in our own ways, and lived directing. I don’t know what is going to it through our own experience, and we connect happen, but once you get people on board, with someone who looks like us, someone who they have better ideas, so whatever is in understands what we’ve been through, and my head now will not be what comes out what our parents have been through, too. Our in October.  ancestors all migrated here, which makes us who we are today.

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Contributor Right  Skin–whiteners

targeted at women and men are “one of the top grossing products in the Philippines.” 3 Photo credit: Rappler.com

The Colonial Mentality: Prideful Shame By Sherina Ong


hile growing up watching The Filipino Channel (TFC), there was always something disturbing about it that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Behind the glowing pale faces of Pilipina celebrities and the incessant barrage of American pop culture, there seemed to lurk a hidden shame that was brazenly flaunted as pride. It was only recently that I learned the terminology to pinpoint exactly what irked me while watching TFC for so many years. Colonial mentality describes how people of colonized nations learn to adopt the values and beliefs of their colonizers as their own, even when those mores degrade their previous values and beliefs as inferior.1 After enduring almost 420 years of colonial rule under Spain and the United States, many Pilipinos around the globe have internalized corrupted beliefs such as, “Pale skin is superior to dark skin,” and, “English is the language of the civilized.”

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It’s theorized that the widespread acceptance of colonial mentality among Pilipinos resulted from the fact that there was no established con– cept of a nation or cultural monuments uni– fying the people of the Philippine islands prior to colonization. Because there was nothing to unite and remind the conquered of their pre–colonial identities, they were left to assume the cultural and political institutions that Spaniards and Americans forced upon them.2

and collective self–esteem and higher depression levels.4 So how does one combat colonial mentality? One answer is decolonization, the task of understanding the colonial experience and exposing its oppressive intent.3 Strobel’s model of decolonization consists of three stages: naming colonial oppression and understanding its impact on identity, reflecting on how colo– nialism has impacted one’s life and social circle, and acting by encouraging others to decolonize themselves as a leader in the community.5

Now, almost seventy years post–American colonization, it seems as if the Philippines still lacks its own cultural monuments that express While I can’t speak for the Philippines itself, pride in a Pilipino identity. Popular culture, I have seen the decolonization process unfold– for example, is one of the foremost ways that ing in Fil–Am communities in which the a nation broadcasts its public image to the world. While other Asian countries like Japan Pilipino identity has become an emblem for unity and empowerment. Modern fusion and South Korea have influenced the world restaurants vying to make Pilipino food the through J–Pop and K–Pop, addictive anime next big cuisine are popping up on the coasts series, and mouthwatering cuisine, how much and opening to rave acclaim, while nonprofits does the global public know of a distinctly like UniPro facilitate dialogue around com– Pilipino culture? In terms of art, literature, or industry, it’s difficult to name examples since a munity issues and provide a space to develop colonial mentality “involves an automatic and and showcase Fil–Am leaders. unreasonable rejection of anything Filipino and an instinctive and uncritical preference for Moving forward, our task as members of the global Pilipino community is to educate others anything Western or foreign.”3 and find ways to carve out our own place of By suppressing their own unique perspective, belonging and acceptance that integrates the Pilipinos are essentially sidelining themselves values of both Pilipino and Western culture from the global playing field, crippling the without denigrating one or the other. Let’s nation’s progress culturally and economically leave behind the prideful shame of our past since psychological research has also shown and strut forward with just pride.  that colonial mentality may cause Pilipino– Americans to have significantly lower personal Sources

1  Nadal, Kevin L. "Colonial Mentality of Filipino Americans." Filipino American Psychology: A Handbook of Theory,

Research, and Clinical Practice. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2009. N. pag. Print. 2  Drona, Bert M. "Colonial Mentality, "Damaged Culture," IMSCF of Filipinos: Its Roots." The Filipino Mind. N.p., 3 Aug. 2006. Web. 3  Gabornes, Maris Cay. "Colonial Mentality: A Filipino Heritage?" Learning Fragments. N.p., 11 Mar. 2010. Web. 4  David, E.J.R. "The Colonial Mentality Project." The Colonial Mentality Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2014. 5  Strobel, L. M. (2001). Coming full circle: The process of decolonization among post–1965 Filipino–Americans. Manila: Giraffe Books.

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UniPro Summit

Keynote Spotlight

Georgia Tolentino San francisco Native. Independent Film Producer. Owner of Icarus Film Studios. Actor. Role–Maker.

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Mental Health Awareness Seeking help as a young Fil–Am By Ryann Tanap


ental health and safety aren’t regularly discussed in our society. Our culture as a whole has stigmatized mental illness, as if it were an infectious disease. When we hear “mental health,” we think of mental illnesses, such as anxiety disorders, post–traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Mood disorders may come to mind, the most common being depression, mania, and bipolar disorder. We think of psychotic disorders like Schizophrenia, compulsive behavior disorders and addictions. Whether or not we live with an illness, we are all human. Everyone on this planet experiences daily stress and anxiety, relationship and friendship problems, and the desire to succeed academically and professionally. These are all reasons to seek help, be it by reaching out to friends and family, or by consulting medical and mental health professionals. In a recent report, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) notes that the U.S. mental health system is far from sufficient. Health services and laws vary across states, further deterring individuals from seeking help. However, in light of recent mass shootings, discussion on mental health in America is becoming more prevalent. But why must it take a tragedy to discuss something so important?

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Top  Surround yourself with

positive people. Above  Mental health issues

should never be dealt with alone. Ask for help. Photo credits: Ryann Tanap

The Fil–Am community, which has assimilated into American society more easily relative to other Asian communities, seems to reject the help–seeking mentality. E.J.R. David claims in a study that “cultural mistrust” plays a major role among the Fil–Am community. Mistreatment and oppression throughout Pilipino and Fil–Am history has certainly influenced this mistrust. However, one of the findings was that younger generations are more inclined to seek psychological help, as they may not have the same concerns as first generation Pilipinos. Those more assimilated and familiar with American culture, as well as those with a higher economic status, were also more willing (or able) to seek help. While Pilipino culture may have taught us to get through our struggles on our own, we should not be afraid to speak up. Like other Asian communities, loss of face and shame may be feared among Pilipinos. As a young Fil–Am, I unknowingly lived with this mentality. Sharing my most difficult struggles wasn’t originally part of my personality, nor my identity. Admitting that I needed help required a lot of courage. It wasn’t until my second year of college that I realized seeking help was even an option. After a referral from one of my advisors, I visited the William & Mary Counseling Center. I was afraid. I felt like I was admitting defeat or weakness. I eventually realized that it was okay to be afraid, but it should never be a reason to keep silent. I ended up returning to the Counseling Center

throughout the rest of my time at William & Mary. I attended meditation sessions, individual therapy, and (the most helpful in my opinion) group therapy. Being able to speak my mind, without fear of judgment or having to follow through with explicit advice, was reinvigorating. I knew I was being heard, and in turn, I got as much out of it as I put into it. In a country as diverse as America, the cultural assumptions I faced as a Fil–Am are true for many who make up this great country. It is certainly not unique to Pilipino households. Our country is a rich melting pot, made up of a plethora of experiences, traditions and faiths. Immigrant communities are even more so at– risk, as it can be difficult to adopt an American lifestyle while adhering to ethnic roots and pride. However, it’s important that we help our respective communities to dispel stereotypes preventing those we know from seeking help. Our generation and future generations should embrace this mentality, and encourage their peers and the larger community to do the same. Young Fil–Ams should not be afraid to seek help. We can only benefit from confronting mental health. Regardless of cultural expectations, it is important to be selfish when it comes to our personal well– being. Speaking from first–hand experience, I assure you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. 


• http://mamatanap.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/seeking-help-as-a-young-fil-am/ • http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/default.htm • http://www.nami.org/gtsTemplate09.cfm?Section=Findings&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay. cfm&ContentID=75255 • www.nami.org/ • http://mamatanap.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/suicide-prevention-disappointment-in-americas-schools/ • http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/01/07/newtown-shooting-mental-health-reform/1781145/ • http://www.wm.edu/offices/counselingcenter/?svr=web • http://apaitonline.org/behavioral-health-services/ (image)

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UniPro Summit Panelists

Past Delegates


Their Move

Past UniPro Summit delegates share the ways in which social activism, entrepreneurship and community organizing have become a part of their lives, while encouraging others to make their move.

Past Delegate Panel

Ryann Tanap Occupation  Regent University Admissions, Freelance writer, Mental Health Advocate.

37  UniPro Now: Volume 4

UniPro  My move is... RT  ...just that: movement. Life is about constant change,

and being willing to adjust to those changes with dexterity and poise. But life is also about enacting change. I have done such a variety of experiences (both professionally and academically) that it doesn’t exactly fit a detailed life plan. This has sometimes been a red flag to family, friends and even society. However, I know that my move is guided by the goal of being happy and also compassionate in the work that I do, without expectation of a monetary form of success. Basically, I didn’t choose a future working in a public service career for the money; greed does not drive me. I believe that I am very blessed to have been born and raised in the U.S. I have moved (physically) all my life because I grew up as a third–culture kid and a Navy brat. These kinds of “moves” have taught me to be adaptable to my surroundings. But one thing I’ve found when in a new place is to never force myself to blend or “fit” in. That may be why my “career path” doesn’t necessarily match that which is expected of many Fil–Am children fighting cultural expectations of becoming a doctor or a lawyer. All of my experiences in school, the community, and work settings have taught me to always stand my ground. As a Fil–Am who was afforded with so many opportunities, it would be selfish to not want to engage in issues that matter to the community. So, I stick to my morals and values, and remind myself to fight for what is right, even if that means doing work that doesn’t automatically equate to success in a material sense.

UniPro  How did the UniPro Summit

influence you as a past delegate? How did it inspire you to “make your move” in the Pilipino community? RT  I attended Summit the summer before my senior year in college. I had just moved to N.Y.C. for a summer internship, and Summit happened to fall on the first weekend I was in the city. UniPro was so welcoming, as were the delegates from all over the U.S. (and the world). I got to learn about all the amazing work everyone was doing (academically and professionally). That really showed me that I could be engaged within the Fil–Am/ Pilipino community after college, and that I certainly had the capacity to do whatever I set my mind to. One of my passions is writing. It started out as more of a focus on creative writing, but evolved into a tool for sparking contemplation and conversation. Though I was part of Pilipino and Asian organizations in college, I was able to be part of UniPro from afar (I’m based in Virginia, not N.Y.C.). Upon graduation, I was working overseas for a year, but was able to contribute to UniPro’s community blog as a staff writer. Now, I serve as the Editor/Blog Director for UniPro, and am able to help facilitate even more conversations among the Pilipino community. UniPro  Create a rallying cry for the UniPro

Summit. How would these words mobilize delegates to serve a particular cause or act in the interest of their community? RT  “Give Respect, Get Respect!” In whatever you do, demand respect, but also have self– respect. You have to be willing to listen and understand others, especially when working on a particular cause within a community. It’s the only way to create lasting change. One example I’ve seen, especially working with non–profit work and development, is that often, organizations and causes try to impart change by telling a community what they need to do to improve. Rather, I think it’s important to help communities identify their problems,

and work with them to create solutions. Then, all parties can work together to work toward solutions with the resources available. You know the saying: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Teaching a community through empowerment is how you help that community to be more self–sufficient. UniPro  How would you like to see the UniPro

Summit evolve in the future? What would you change about the UniPro Summit? RT  The first Summit was held over a span of two days, and now it’s just one. I really liked the structure of Summit that year, because there was a simulation, as well as visits with organizations in the community, and then a full day of speakers and workshops. In the future, I would love to see Summit held over the course of a weekend, especially if people are coming into town from so far away. One thing that I didn’t get to do much of in the past two Summits I’ve attended was networking. So I was very excited to learn that there will be time for networking during Summit this year! Also, as part of a recommendation for future years (and when UniPro grows more), I would definitely like to see accommodation and food suggestions near the venue. Also, perhaps a partnership with a hotel (with discounted blocked off room), similar to what some FIND districts have done, would encourage more attendees to come out. That’s one of the biggest challenges I’ve found with attending Summit, since several delegates are coming from a handful of states away. UniPro  What strategies have you followed

to reach your goals in the past? Did these strategies fail you at any point? Did they succeed? What advice would you give to UniPro Summit delegates as they forge their own paths in life? RT  Strategies: I’ve found that life is comprised of a constant series of lessons. Understanding that has helped me to achieve goals, big or small. These lessons have ranged from failing unipronow.org  38

Past Delegate Panel

Calculus to being awarded the “Multicultural Leader of the Year” during graduation from college. They’ve ranged from living in a developing region in rural Thailand to traveling completely on my own for two months straight through Asia. I have found failure and success all my life, but the important thing is to realize that both have helped me become who I am today. You need a good balance of both in order to be balanced and have a good sense of understanding on how the world works. Also, always consider an offer. Take risks. Don’t be afraid to fail. The perception of both success and failure are relative. As I’ve said, life is comprised of lessons. If you don’t take risks on a regular basis, you’ll never learn to fail, nor will you learn to succeed. You need to know how to do both with patience and grace. There will always be lightning, thunder and cold fronts with those clouds. You need to know how to take the good with the bad, and realize that there aren’t just silver linings in those clouds. But life is just as sweet with both treacherous and warm, sunny weather. UniPro  Think of your favorite cultural items

from the Philippines. It can be a dish or dessert. It can be a popular image or trope in Pilipino stories. It can be a Philippine city or historical landmark. What makes this aspect of Pilipino culture so important to you? RT  It may sound cliché, but halo–halo is quite possibly the most symbolic dessert that represents Pilipino culture. Like halo–halo, we are made up of various flavors, textures and forms. This delicious dessert (made up of assorted sweets, like coconut, jackfruit, palm nuts, sweet red beans, banana, ube, shaved ice, evaporated milk, ice cream and—if you’re lucky—leche flan) reflects the Pilipino people as a diverse group of people, made up of different cultural influences. Over the course of history, the Pilipino people have undergone occupation from several other cultures. And through phases of colonization and globalization, we have become such a unique people. 39  UniPro Now: Volume 4

Past Delegate Panel

Cesar Abueg UniPro  My move is... CA  …to finally put

into action what I've been dreaming, planning, and hoping to do for the Pilipino community. Specifically, I am writing a book and starting a non–profit organization this year. I will be traveling and speaking about the topics and stories contained in the book over the coming years.

UniPro  How did the UniPro Summit influence

if you help enough other people get what they want." — Zig Ziglar. UniPro  Create a rallying cry for the UniPro Summit. How would these words mobilize delegates to serve a particular cause or act in the interest of their community? CA  There is an inspiring story of a girl who was thrust into a role. This role, though unexpected, determined the survival of her race. Her uncle, Mordecai, said this to the girl:

"If you keep silent at this time, liberation and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father's house will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this."   —Esther 4:14

you as a past delegate? How did it inspire you to “make your move” in the Pilipino community? CA  UniPro truly changed my life. It’s not just the event, but also the people involved. I have met, connected, and befriended many great people who have positively impacted my life. Let’s not wait until we are personally affected to During the event, I heard stories that inspired me to act. But in order to act, I had to act. Or our lack of participation will touch, not only the suffering, but you, your family, your respectively understand all other efforts being friends, someone dear to you. As many know, the Pilipino people have “Be part of the story, not a been thrust into the limelight for various reasons, from a celebration of an incredible footnote or a quick mention. athlete we all love to cheer for, to a devastating tragedy that the world has never seen. As a Be the hero, the very reason you result, many have shown interest, support and love for the Philippines and its people. were put on this earth. Become To take advantage of this opportunity, no matter how it came to be, is an opportunity for who you were made to be.” us to work together for a common cause. There is so much to do, and so little time. If we do not act now, then when and what circumstance? addressed. I also had to be honest with myself Now is our time and you can be a part of and find my place within these efforts. And so, it. Be part of the story, not a footnote or a quick I've spent the last few years listening, seeing, mention. Be the hero, the very reason you and learning. Now is the time for me to act, were put on this earth. Become who you were and I am confident I’m approaching my plan of made to be. So that one day, lying in your bed, action head–strong. A very wise and respected waiting to die, you can look back in your life man once said, "If you can dream it, then you and look at your accomplishments and know. can achieve it. You will get all you want in life You lived a life greater than yourself. unipronow.org  40

Past Delegate Panel

UniPro  How would you like to see the UniPro

Summit evolve in the future? What would you change about the UniPro Summit? CA  Like all great organizations, UniPro needs constant and positive evolving. This happens when community needs are heard. More importantly, an organization evolves when its members can project and prepare for the future. After years of using the same process, it’s easy to become complacent. We need to challenge ourselves to reach higher, go farther and discover new opportunities. A famous painter once wrote: "…if one wants to be active, one must not be afraid of going wrong, one must not be afraid of making mistakes now and then. Many people think that they will become good just by doing no harm—but that's a lie.... That way lies stagnation, mediocrity."    —Vincent Van Gough.

In life, there are bad and good experiences. What you take from it and how you move forward, is up to you. I follow four mindsets that I believe lead to success: 1. Collaboration  Work with those who

have the same admiration and beliefs to achieve shared goals while embracing your differences. 2. Adaptability  Adaptation is key because change is constant. If you don’t adapt to a situation, you may find yourself alone and unusable. 3. Humility  Humility keeps us learning from what we know and thirsting for what we don’t. 4. Perseverance  Be steadfast in your course of action, and believe in your purpose. Never give up on yourself, and rely on your support system.

UniPro  Think of your favorite cultural items from the Philippines. It can be a dish or dessert. It can be a popular image or trope in Pilipino stories. It can be a Philippine city or historical landmark. What makes this aspect of Pilipino culture so important to you? CA  For me, it’s not the place, although we have world–renowned islands that would make any– UniPro  What strategies have you followed to one retire early. It’s not the food, although our reach your goals in the past? Did these strategies food could make a grown man or woman drool. fail you at any point? Did they succeed? What For me, it’s the people. Our people are advice would you give to UniPro Summit incredibly hospitable. Call it a gift or generos– delegates as they forge their own paths in life? ity; we love to make every person feel welcome. CA  I believe in failing. Now, to better explain And despite our own calamities or hardships, myself, let me substitute “failing” for "doing." we are eager to help those in need. I guess we I’m a doer who has done many things, and learned this over years of being colonized. We many I wish I could take back. I now realize were oppressed and forced to think, act and what I did wrong and take responsibility. Now believe differently. Yet, we held on to our most I can share those experiences in hopes that fundamental core as Pilipino people—to help others will learn from it. even those less fortunate than us. So what can I take away with my "doings?" Yes! That is what is most important My strategy has always been to keep myself to me. It is the people. My people. Our in check. This is possible by having mentors, people. Mabuhay! friends, and loved ones holding you accountable.

I believe that UniPro started something great, and its goals have been met. But it needs to go beyond that, to be bigger and stronger. It needs to be more effective in a global scale. In a scale that can't be ignored by anyone. In a way, that unifies all Pilipinos no matter where they are.

41  UniPro Now: Volume 4

Past Delegate Panel

Rexy Josh Dorado UniPro  My move is... RJD  Bridging

UniPro  Create a rallying cry for the UniPro

Summit. How would these words mobilize delegates to serve a particular cause or act in the interest of their community? RJD  “Build power, give power, break power.” Community work is a process. It starts with your own awakening: with a personal exploration of your life, your identity, the forces that brought you where you are, and the seeds of possibility within you to make change at the intersections of all that. You grow these seeds, you sharpen your mind, you nudge yourself into points of influence and leverage and build yourself into a force to be reckoned with. And then—you listen. Be honest and critical about the privilege you have, about the assumptions you harbor, about the ways that these things can complicate the work that you do. And as much as possible, make space as you take space. Be attentive to inequalities and forgotten stories UniPro  How did the UniPro Summit influence and bring light to those. Surrender control you as a past delegate? How did it inspire you to when appropriate. Change happens through the 'make your move' in the Pilipino community? collective; positive change happens when all the RJD  I came into college without much of a relevant voices are heard. Systems of oppression cultural/social/political consciousness. My un– break down at the hands of the committed, dergraduate years at Brown University awakened connected, and critical. me in all those senses, and more specifically, UniPro  How would you like to see the UniPro Filipino Alliance at Brown (re)introduced me Summit evolve in the future? What would you to my Filipino identity as something worth exploring—worth celebrating—worth building change about the UniPro Summit? and cultivating a community around. But even RJD  It's an emerging movement that's doing a lot of things right; if anything, the trick is just after two years of leading the group, I knew to keep the momentum going. Bring more and little about the ecosystem that surrounded more communities—diverse communities— me—little about how similar groups lived and learned and connected to each other outside of into the fold of the conversation. Perhaps less College Hill. The lack of a Filipino community visible stories and less powerful players in the outside of ours in Providence contributed to this Philippines, from across the socioeconomic spectrum there. And continue to collect entry/ isolation. The UniPro Summit last year was continuation points for engagement: what can the first moment when I can remember myself people do to stay connected afterwards? feeling fully connected and inspired by this movement outside of the bubble I knew, and I UniPro  What strategies have you followed to couldn't be happier about how supportive the reach your goals in the past? Did these strategies UniPro network has been in helping me grow fail you at any point? Did they succeed? What my venture afterwards!

global communities. Activating cultural networks for social impact. Co–creating new tools, systems, and opportunities to empower, connect, and challenge the Occupation  Founder & voices of Filipino Chief Executive Officer of American youth Kaya Collaborative leaders to enact critical and community– driven change in the Philippines. In the end: rewriting the story of an archipelago and its 10 million scattered sons and daughters (as well as everyone who identifies outside that gender binary).

unipronow.org  42

Past Delegate Panel

advice would you give to UniPro Summit delegates as they forge their own paths in life? RJD  Networks are everything. On a personal and societal level, information and value travel through networks, and success by almost all measures hinge on the relationships you're able to start, sustain, and tap into. Of course, there's nothing new about this, and it's something that everyone these days takes as common sense, but ever since I've seen it play out in my own life (with jobs, internships, and Kaya Co.) I've been a vocal advocate of it. Doing this right, however, is far less obvious. I'm still learning and scrambling along the way; emails and contacts fall by the wayside more than I'd like them to in the midst of busy–ness and lack of organization. But a lot of it has to do with going for quality over quantity; with being structured and prepared for conversations; and empathy at the root. Where is the other person coming from, what kind of beliefs and passions do you share or don't share, and how can you come together to make each other's lives better?

stories. It can be a Philippine city or historical landmark. What makes this aspect of Pilipino culture so important to you? RJD  I'm a big fan of untranslatables—those culturally specific words that have a texture or layer to them that, try as you might to parse them to another language, never have quite the same punch or feel to them as in the native tongue. Tagalog has some great ones: “ kapwa” (inner resonance) for example, and “ kasama” (community and togetherness), are things you can explain in 2–3 words at the surface level, but to really get to the cultural connotations of it would take pages. “Balikbayan” is easily explained as “returnee” or “repatriate,” but the weight of connotation behind it in a country that sees so much migration is like, unshakeable. My favorite of these is probably “bayanihan.” I've seen a lot of definitions of it thrown around, but the one that really hits the heart of it for me is sweet and succinct: “collective power.” It's a word that carries such strong imagery (neighbors carrying a house) and has become such an organizing principle in times of crisis, UniPro  Think of your favorite cultural items and I think it's a value that the world at large from the Philippines. It can be a dish or dessert. can benefit from thoughtfully adapting. It can be a popular image or trope in Pilipino 43  UniPro Now: Volume 4

Past Delegate Panel

Krystal Meñez UniPro  My move is... KM  …constant.

And it's better when done with the help of like–minded individuals. I believe that groups are more powerful than the individual. Constant movement helps with Occupation  Freelance the creative process Graphic Designer and productivity. The continuous change of scenery, and learning how to adapt to different environments, helps me to find inspiration and create possibilities that I may not have found if I stayed stagnant. Inspiration is everywhere.

UniPro  Create a rallying cry for the UniPro

Summit. How would these words mobilize delegates to serve a particular cause or act in the interest of their community? KM  Move and adapt. Together. This is just the same as the generations before us. Our people have had to adapt constantly to colonialism and migration. We can't stop now. The ability to adapt is in our blood. We need to use it to our advantage and apply our indigenous traits to move us to higher plateaus. This is what bayanihan is about. By tapping into the hearts and inherited love for community, delegates will find their own ways to contribute the skills and talents they've built to help move together.

UniPro  How would you like to see the UniPro Summit evolve in the future? What would you you as a past delegate? How did it inspire you to change about the UniPro Summit? KM  I would love to see UniPro become an 'make your move' in the Pilipino community? KM  There were many take–aways from the even bigger event and see it expand to other Summit last year. I walked away being more parts of the country—maybe even the world. I aware of the immigration issues that plague our think that there is great opportunity in having people. Taking part in the simulation helped so many people come together like this and me see how controversial immigration can be. opening our eyes to issues that should concern I was also able to see how different people were us. I've only been to one UniPro Summit, and applying their skills in the best way possible for from what I've seen, perhaps have the keynote the community. speakers as openers, and then have break–out sessions so you can choose what room to go into I think the most important part of last to listen to different speakers, listen to different year's Summit was seeing how my friends who panels, forums, workshops, etc. ran UniPro are like family. This is something I feel we lack in Southern California, so after UniPro  What strategies have you followed to Summit, I started to build even stronger reach your goals in the past? Did these strategies personal relationships with people in the fail you at any point? Did they succeed? What community who had the same ideals as I do. advice would you give to UniPro Summit Because of these stronger relationships, I saw delegates as they forge their own paths in life? a lot of movement in the community, and helped others to find ways to band together and KM  I've applied many different strategies to reach my different goals in the past. Of course, help after Typhoon Haiyan. I can only hope some failed and others helped a lot. Here are and keep working to help the community in and driven three successful strategies and three failed Southern California be as well–knit as the community in New York. strategies that I've dealt with: UniPro  How did the UniPro Summit influence

unipronow.org  44

Past Delegate Panel

Successful: Meetings in person. They are so important no matter what field you work in. They forge a relationship that emails and texts can't build. Whiteboards! When brainstorming in groups, this can be the ultimate tool to success. Social Media. Learning how to use social media as a tool has helped me to reach network that spans the world. This has been vital to my career and personal brand. Failed: Working out of my inbox. It works most times, but if I don't see it in my emails, I tend to forget about it. This is something I am currently working to fix. Speed–networking. It works to a certain extent. It's a great way to get your name out quickly, but if you're like me and

“Successful Strategies for reaching your goals: meetings in person, whiteboards, and social media. Failed: working out of my inbox, speed–networking, and a strict schedule.” need to get to know a person before you decide you want to form an alliance toward a common goal, I don't feel I can get a gauge on prospective business/advocacy connections in 5 minutes or less. Strict schedule. I don't know how most people do it. I fail at this. Wholeheartedly. I like being able to work from wherever and whenever. Having a flexible schedule helps me to get communications going during the day and lets my creative juices flow at night, which is when I like to create and design most.

45  UniPro Now: Volume 4

UniPro  Think of your favorite cultural items from the Philippines. It can be a dish or dessert. It can be a popular image or trope in Pilipino stories. It can be a Philippine city or historical landmark. What makes this aspect of Pilipino culture so important to you? KM  Chicken inasal from Bacolod. Philippines mangoes... ones from Guimaras, and green mangoes. The smells of the Philippines... Chicken inasal is something I can only have in Bacolod, Negros Occidental, which is where my family is from. Every time I land in Bacolod, it's a tradition to go straight to Chicken Deli. I can't deny that the chicken oil on top of the garlic rice is my weakness. The mangoes that I get at the markets in California compare so little to the sweetness of Philippines mangoes from Guimaras, or the sourness and crispness of un–ripened green mangoes. I love dipping them in soy sauce! The smells. I always tell people that you can look at pictures and videos of the Philippines all day long, but you have to get all the other senses to fully grasp what the Motherland is about. The humidity, the heat, the smells... the many different smells. I don't love it, and I don't hate it... it's just a very dis–tinguishable characteristic of the Philippines. 

UniPro Summit


ShopS Practice makes perfect. UniPro Summit Workshops provide a space to practice skills in social entrepreneurship, community building, and civic engagement. Join ARK CEO and co–founder, Ayesha Vera–Yu, Tagalogue Volume 3 director Andre Dimapilis, and prolific civil servant Brad Baldia as they combine creative exercises with meaningful discussions to help you make your move.


Meet the Facilitators Workshop facilitators reflect on the importance of community building and the role of UniPro. “Community building is important because it is through togetherness that we can accomplish great things for the greater good of all. Unipro Summit delegates can get Arts in Action more involved by Workshop Facilitator looking at all the ways they can be involved and take action. Some have more time than others, and knowing the ways in which you can be involved can be a huge help, even if it is as simple as spreading the word about specific events. As Unipro continues to grow, so will its networks. The Filipino community, in general, has a lot of work to do in building bridges between organizations and connecting all members of the Filipino community to work towards unity and progress. Unipro would have to assess how they have done this so far, and in what ways they can boost their efforts to make its mission and purpose a reality.”

—Andre Ignacio Dimapilis

“Even though Filipino-Americans are the second largest AsianAmerican group in the United States (3.6 million), we are often underrepresented in government Arts in Action and elected office. Workshop Facilitator Thus, community building at the grassroots level is critical in order to address issues important to Filipino-Americans, such as commonsense immigration reform, health care, and education. UniPro delegates are encouraged to get involved in efforts initiated by non-profit advocacy organizations, state and local AAPI commissions, and the federal government aimed at increasing opportunity and representation for Filipino Americans nationwide. UniPro can continue to empower Filipino-American young leaders by providing a space for meaningful discussion and action planning. By leveraging its expansive network and publicizing opportunities in public service, UniPro can play a critical role in educating and mobilizing the Filipino American community, one ‘move’ at a time.”

—Brad Baldia 47  UniPro Now: Volume 4


Active Listening and Effective Communication Arts in Action I with AndrE The objective for Workshop #1 is to teach people how to be effective communicators by bettering and practicing their listening skills. I believe plenty of problems, challenges, and difficulties can be avoided by people really listening to each other. Hence, effective communication begins with listening. My hope is that Summit delegates will examine, assess, and identify areas of growth within their own listening skills. The next step after this workshop is for each delegate to continue to be the best listener they can be and communicate in effective and positive ways.

Building Community Through Theater Arts in Action II with Andre My objective is to give examples and concrete ways to build community by using theatre activities and games. My hope is that Summit delegates will use interactive and participatory activities to engage communities, start dialogues and generate new possibilities for their communities to rise in solidarity. The next step is to be critical of how and why we use interactive and participatory activities, and to modify these activities to be appropriate for and sensitive to the populations and communities that they work with.

Civic Engagement And Public Service with Brad Baldia Interested in getting civically engaged? Pursuing a career in public service? Mobilizing the Filipino-American community around local, state, and national issues? In this interactive session, Brad Baldia (Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs) will highlight opportunities for Filipino American young leaders to get civically engaged. The workshop will discuss leadership, the importance of civic engagement and public service to the Filipino community and the state of Filipino America. Participants will also receive advice on getting internships and jobs in public service, and will share their ideas on how the Filipino-American community can mobilize to collectively address issues at a local, state, and national level.

Social Entrepreneurship with Ayesha Vera-Yu In this improving but still not quite booming economy, you may want to pick up one or two winning strategies on survival from our brethren and ni–nuno in the bukid. In a fun and transporting setting, you will gain insights on how over 50MM rural Filipinos and 90% of the world’s population subsist on less than $3/day. To survive on a value that can’t even buy you a latte IN the Philippines is ASTIG. Can you hack it? Are you really creative? You sure you have the right skillz? unipronow.org  48

Contributor Started from the bottom, now we’re here

What began as a donation of a few books to a school in Iloilo turned into a drive that’s filling balikbayan boxes bound for literacy programs in all three regions of the Philippines!

How to Engage and Give Back By Joe Pallon


decade ago, I paid a visit to my parents’ home province. I was a cookie–cutter, angsty teen who was slowly embracing his heritage. But one thing that I couldn’t accept—let alone understand—was poverty and child labor. Ten years after that trip, I feel that I’m heading in some sort of positive direction towards combating such issues, and I encourage fellow Fil–Ams to assist in other causes in the motherland that are relevant to their own interests.

49  UniPro Now: Volume 4

I remember when children came running to me after I exited a market. They were dirty, barefoot, and begging for change. This wasn’t some donation jar that I’d see in a check–out line, where I’d drop a couple pennies that I didn’t want to lug around in my pocket. No, I was experiencing a child in need—in the flesh. And so I emptied my pockets, and even gave them my American coins, before my cousin dragged me from the scene. Whatever motives behind this encounter, I walked away with heavy guilt. I recalled my mom’s stories of how she herself livedin poverty. Returning to the U.S., I’d overhear chats to the likes of classmates complaining that they didn’t get the car they wanted. It was hard for me to digest such talk com– pared to the encounters I had just days prior. But what could I—a fifteen–year–old hothead—do about it? It took me years, but I’m slowly getting an– swers to that question, as recently as a couple months ago! During a visit to the Philippines last March, my mom and I opened a library at her childhood elementary school, the result of a plan that was four years in the making. I’ve since been digging around bookstores and sales across Los Angeles and Honolulu to fill that library.

Alongside the library, I’ve donated books to Pilipino and Fil–Am teachers in Quezon City, as well as a school in Rizal Province that lost their books in a flood. I’m also hosting a couple book drives for Gawad Kalinga (GK), and I am looking to help some schools affected by Typhoon Haiyan and the Siege of Zamboanga. This comes alongside my advocacy, fundraising, and occasional volunteer work with GK over the past several years. With all that under my belt, I still don’t feel satisfied. Looking back at Typhoon Haiyan, there was one thing positive that I saw. It’s knowing that I’m not alone—that there are a lot more Fil–Ams who are passionate about helping out. Despite the challenges that the disaster’s aftermath has brought, I’ve been further humbled by the Fil–Am community’s response. Let’s ensure that such momentum and involvement doesn’t die out. I’ve received praises and been given pats on my back for the good work that I’ve done. As much as I survive off such morale boosters while going through another all–nighter placing book covers, I’d appreciate it even more if there were those who can join me in these efforts, whether they be through an a larger organization or even their own efforts. No matter our capabilities or resources, we have so much to offer for our motherland.

When I paid my first visit to the school, the original book collection included college textbooks on Canadian geography and ac– Now is the time. What is YOUR move?  counting, while whatever children’s books that were still around were mostly tattered and could barely hold up any more abuse by energetic students. I started sending batches of books to the school in following trips, or pig– gybacked with other pasalubong in balikbayan boxes. Within months, we realized we found a location for the library our family has proposed for the barangay. Time seemed to fly when I first saw pictures showcasing the finished library itself just in time for graduation!

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h wn.p o r g e Hom ature! Fe

  Why I'm Committed to Filipino Entrepreneurs

By Rachel Kelly Davis

Above  Homegrown Honors Women was an event we held last March for Women's Month. Check out the speakers and the event at women.homegrown.ph Right  Homegrown held

The Filipino Fiesta to celebrate Buwan ng Wika last August. They gave SMEs free booths where they could sell their goods, market their products, and raffle off one product every hour. The crowd loved it, of course.

51  UniPro Now: Volume 4


wo years ago, when Homegrown started its magazine, I was dedicated to working on and succeeding with it. A year later, when being a partner for Homegrown meant connecting and community building, I was dedicated to doing exactly that. Each year has taught me that when it comes to Filipinos and entrepreneurship, there is always more—more that can be done, more to be achieved, more to reach. Each year I learned and found myself in awe of the ingenuity and genius of Filipino enterprise. Each year (in its own way) affirmed our vision and goals, strengthening the belief that if our entrepreneurs succeed, our nation succeeds. In the course of Homegrown’s life, the people I’ve met have changed the way I see Filipino enterprise. Here are five of the lessons I’ve learned: 1. Everyone has a story.  This may sound like common

sense, but realizing this was integral to how my partners and I developed the company and our team. While the magazine was a resource of tools, tips, and advice, it was also a platform that would let entrepreneurs tell their stories and share their journey. We soon saw that nothing was more powerful than that.

2. Filipinos have heart.  Though we hear this all the time, hearing something is completely different from knowing it as an irrefutable fact. The number of startup owners who run social enterprises are both overwhelming and inspirational. To run a business with a social angle is not easy, and that makes them some of the most innovative people I’ve ever met. True grit is in their spirit. 3. Filipinos take action.  In line with the previous lesson, I have learned that so many young professionals and entrepreneurs are action–doers. They are driven and open to every possibility and opportunity. Very often, what starts out as a simple question leads people to crowd–source solutions and get to work. 4. The best don’t give up.  Homegrown is my second

venture, and for the rest of the founding partners, their second or third or fourth. This is something we share in common with many of our fellow founders in the startup scene. Many Filipino entrepreneurs have that never–give– up attitude. They are resilient. They are strong. And that’s what ultimately leads them to success. 5. Dialogue is the most important step. Collaboration

has always been one of the words our company lives by. We seek it everywhere we go because we believe in it. We believe in working together. We believe in finding solutions together. We believe in bayanihan. And the first step to reaching these goals is to foster dialogue.

Rachel Kelly Davis

is a literature–loving foodie who suffers from occasional bouts of wanderlust. She is passionate about collaboration and entrepreneurship, and supports local businesses and entrepreneurs through her own business ventures. She was the financial officer of her first venture, Empresario Manila, a marketing and events company tailored to small–to–medium enterprises. Presently, she is the Culture Curator for her second venture, Homegrown Media Inc., an online magazine that provides inspirational stories, practical tips and creative ideas for Filipino entrepreneurs and start– up businesses. Find her on Twitter: @rache_tweets

May of 2014 saw Homegrown celebrating its two–year mark. As we begin our third year, we are driven to expand our community, starting with the United States. Finding like–minded professionals and entrepreneurs with talent and education to join what is fast becoming a global community is a dream come true for us. And watching this community grow strengthens my dedication to the Filipino entrepreneur. 

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UniPro Summit

Keynote Spotlight

Michele Bumgarner Racing driver. Recipient of multiple motorsport awards. First female winner in the Asian Formula 3 Series. Winner of TaG Senior Class at Rock Island Grand Prix.


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Special Thanks to our Sponsors AAARI


Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK)


Bread and Bullets


FIND, Inc.

One Virtual Source

GMA Pinoy TV


Jeepney Filipino Gastropub

Phil–Am Foods

Kalusugan Coalition

Stache Haus

55  UniPro Now: Volume 4

U N I Sabrina Echaluce


Alyssa Esteban

Vol. 4 Staff Sabrina Echaluce Editor–in–Chief

Noel Agulubat

Alyssa Esteban Designer Noel Aglubat Jennifer Delos Santos Managing Editors

Jennifer delos santos

Ryann Tanap

Ryann Tanap Kristina Rodulfo Associate Editors

Contributors Edwin “Gino” Raagas Lauren Laicon Sherina Ong Joe Pallon Rachel Kelly Davis Special Thanks Rachelle Peraz Ocampo Iris Zalun Sachi Villareal

Kristina Rodulfo

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Profile for Pilipino American Unity for Progress (UniPro)

UniPro Now: Volume 4  

UniPro Now: Volume 4  

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