Filipinos in Boston Interview with Community Impact Manager Nick Pelonia

By Trish Fontanilla

One of my favorite things to do every month is the interview for Filipinos in Boston. I love highlighting different people and voices around the city, and it’s honestly such an honor that I get to bug these amazing people for weeks or months to learn more about what they do and what drives them.

Meet Nick Pelonia. Nick is one of our Twitter followers that I learned more about while down a total rabbit hole learning more about our astounding community. I hope you’re motivated by this interview as much as I am, and thanks again to Nick for opening up and being so candid with his story.

 Taken in Antipolo, Philippines / Provided by Nick Pelonia

Taken in Antipolo, Philippines / Provided by Nick Pelonia

Where are you from?
Nick:
I was born in Olongapo City, Philippines and immigrated to California with my family shortly after being born. My mom’s side of the family is from Candelaria in Zambales and my dad’s side is from Camarines Sur in Bicol. We lived in Alameda, California for a bit and then spent a solid 20+ years growing up in Southeast San Diego in a neighborhood called Paradise Hills. My family still lives in San Diego, and for the past decade I’ve been living and working in a number of places: San Francisco, Hong Kong, Japan, Vermont, and now Boston! Just last December 2017 I actually went back to the Philippines for the first time since 1989, visiting my mom’s hometown and the place I was born and grew up. There I further learned my connection to the Philippines is because of U.S. Imperialism, straight up.

 Brotherhood of Strength members (as part of The Center for Hope and Healing) to support #BelieveSurvivors campaign / Provided by Nick Pelonia

Brotherhood of Strength members (as part of The Center for Hope and Healing) to support #BelieveSurvivors campaign / Provided by Nick Pelonia

Where do you work and what do you do?
Nick:
I work at The Center for Hope and Healing, Inc. (CHH), the rape crisis center in Lowell, MA serving the Greater Lowell area. We are an anti-oppression, social justice, and multicultural agency with a vision of a world free of sexual violence. Along with intervention services for survivors of sexual assault at CHH, we also design and provide social justice-based sexual violence prevention programs that focus on Engaging Men & Boys as allies against sexual violence, LGBQ/T communities, and Youth, which I currently oversee as the Community Impact Manager.

 Nick with his brother and mom taken at SIT Graduate Institute graduating with my MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management / Provided by Nick Pelonia

Nick with his brother and mom taken at SIT Graduate Institute graduating with my MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management / Provided by Nick Pelonia

With a Master of Arts in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management (BTW - what a cool degree), what led you to The Center for Hope & Healing?

Nick: Pretty cool degree with a long name indeed! It has definitely been a journey. Much of it revolves around where I started and where I came from. As an immigrant and Filipino man in the United States that grew up in Southeast San Diego, a community that was often known as “crime-ridden and impoverished,” I went most of my life not being aware of the injustice and oppression that was in the community. Much of this I feel ties to the Filipinx American identity of following the “U.S. American dream.” After immigrating to the U.S., I feel my family was following exactly that and I’ve realized the dream wasn’t meant for us and many other marginalized people.

My mom was working multiple jobs and late shifts when we first immigrated, yet we still filed for bankruptcy (twice) while my siblings and I were just going “through the motions” of school, social life, etc. I’m also a first-generation college student, meaning I’m the first in my family to fully navigate through higher education and obtain my degree. Given this, I felt “on-track” in following that “dream,” yet so lost at the same time. It took me seven years to get my BA let alone know what the hell I was doing with my life. It wasn’t until I actually got outside of the U.S., where I taught in Hong Kong and rural Japan. That opened up my eyes more to social justice and intercultural competency, both in direct experience with people from other countries and in reflection of my upbringing in Southeast San Diego, a community with predominantly Black, Filipinx, and Mexican people.

Fast forward to working as an educator and international youth worker for a few years, I thought: “what’s next?” and according to the “U.S. American dream” I thought of graduate school, which led me to the SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont. Given my international work, I initially wanted to work in International Education with the hopes of supporting people like me with the opportunity to go abroad as well. However, my time at the SIT Graduate Institute was in community with some amazing activists and educators that relentlessly examined social injustice, which inspired me to shift my MA to Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management, with a focus on training and social justice education.

Since then for the past three years I’ve been doing diversity, equity, and inclusion work as a trainer, educator, and organizer in the non-profit sector working with youth, adults, and international students primarily on anti-racism work. With social justice work focusing on identities, privilege, power, and oppression, a year ago I wanted to focus on my own non-target identities: as a cis-, abled, and educated man. And as a man, I know men play an invaluable role to upholding patriarchy and sexism. I believe we can be part of the solution to undoing that, which led me to The Center for Hope and Healing! At CHH we are ultimately building upon and strengthening Tarana Burke’s #MeToo movement so that survivors can be thrivers, with safety, healing, accountability, closure, and empowerment. On top of my identities as an immigrant, Filipino, and as a man, I can truthfully say sexual assault and rape culture has been in my life and continues to exist continuously - and men need to do better.

 Taken at the Boston Women's March / Provided by Nick Pelonia

Taken at the Boston Women's March / Provided by Nick Pelonia

On Boston...

How long have you been in Boston?
Nick:
3 years.

What are your favorite Boston spots (could be restaurants / parks / anything!):
Nick:
Since I’ve been working in Lowell most of my time here (and Lowell is amazing BTW) there’s a few places in Boston I frequent:

I enjoy going to the Middlesex Fells Reservation with my partner to walk and hike with our dog, Kanji.

The King & I restaurant on Charles St. hands down has the best Pad Thai I’ve ever had. They also have a photo of Usher at the restaurant so you know it’s legit.

J.P. Licks’ Brownie Brownie Batter ice cream with marshmallow sauce is perfect to have any time of the year.

Flour, Myers + Chang, and Boston Barber Exchange are also probably the only other places I go to when I am in the city, supporting my good family friends’ the Lujares and they constantly provide top notch quality services!

And as someone that grew up in San Diego, I’m constantly on the lookout for solid Mexican restaurants so I’m always open to recommendations in the Boston area!

 Nick’s dog, Kanji / Provided by Nick Pelonia

Nick’s dog, Kanji / Provided by Nick Pelonia

What's your community superpower?
Nick:
It’s my dog Kanji - she stops everyone in Boston whenever we’re out for a walk, not even kidding. She is a community hero! She has her own Instagram: @KanjiTheBearDog14

 Taken in Candelaria, Zambales, Filipino breakfast / Provided by Nick Pelonia

Taken in Candelaria, Zambales, Filipino breakfast / Provided by Nick Pelonia

On Filipino Food...

What's your all-time favorite Filipino dish?
Nick:
Filipino breakfast! Pan de sal, SPAM, longanisa, eggs, corned beef, vienna sausage, pretty much any of the Silogs with some Ovaltine or Milo - all about that life!

What's your favorite Filipino recipe / dish to make?
Nick:
Whenever I miss the taste of home I make Chicken or Pork Adobo and Sinigang in the cold months. I plan on trying to make Arroz Caldo for the first time this year, too.

On Staying in Touch…

Do you have any upcoming events / programs / fundraisers / initiatives that you want to highlight?
Nick:
For sure, The Center for Hope and Healing is a non-profit agency and we also provide all our services FREE to survivors. One way that would be a huge help to continuing free services and our mission to ending sexual violence is TO DONATE.

I just recently found out about an organization, Boston Pilipino Education, Advocacy, & Resources (PEAR), I want to especially highlight and support. They’re an organization in the Boston area that aims to promote Filipino culture and history, advocate for the rights of Filipinos in the U.S. and in the Philippines, and provide resources for community empowerment:

Also supporting Ellie and her crew’s Tanam, very much looking forward to opening cause I know it’s gonna be amazing!

My Ate has her own baking business back home making Crinkle Cookies, one of the flavors being Ube! They’re bomb and she ships nationwide! Please support her as she supports two little boys.

Want to highlight #MagandangMorenx as well, Asia Jackson’s campaign that ultimately helps pushes against the anti-Blackness in the Filipinx community.

And last but certainly not least:
#BelieveSurvivors
Trans & Non-binary folx #WontBeErased
#BlackLivesMatter

How can people stay in touch? (website / social / email if you want!)
Nick:
Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and email nfpelonia@gmail.com


We’re always looking for BOSFilipinos blog writers / subjects! If you’d like to contribute or have any suggestions, feel free to send us a note: info@bosfilipinos.com.

BOSFilipinos - Interview with Tech Program Manager Patty de Castro

By Trish Fontanilla

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Ever since I started telling people about BOSFilipinos, everyone has been introducing me to their Filipino friends. And by everyone I mean BF even comes up in business meetings! Earlier this year I was having a coffee chat with Alo Mukerji, COO of coUrbanize, and she said I just had to meet her former colleague Patty de Castro. Patty and I went out for coffee, and next thing you know we’re bonding over our Filipino families and planning out a food excursion.

Thank you Patty for being our Filipino in Boston feature this month, and I hope you all enjoy learning more about Patty as much as I did!

Where are you and your family from?
Patty
: I grew up in Quezon City but my parents are from the Visayas (Cebu and Negros Occidental), which means my Tagalog is pretty bad.

Where do you work and what do you do?
Patty
: I work at Brightcove, an online video platform. I am a Senior Program Manager, which means I work with our Product and Engineering teams to build and launch our video products.

In your career you’ve bounced around from being a consultant, engineer, product manager, and program manager. What motivated you to get back into program management?
Patty
: I really love being in tech, it’s been my whole career. Being a software engineer was pretty cool because I got to build parts of much larger systems. Being a product manager allowed me to create the vision and strategy for the product(s) I owned, but I really missed working across the entire org, from working with the execs all the way to individual developers and with every department in the company. As a program manager, I love working with Engineering, Operations, Product Management, Marketing, Sales, Legal, Customer Success, etc. and aligning everyone so our products exceed our customers’ expectations.

On Boston…

How long have you been in Boston?
Patty
: 32 years (yikes ang tanda ko na!)

What are your favorite Boston spots:
Patty
: The Greenway, the Harborwalk, or the Chestnut Hill Reservoir for walks. The MFA and Symphony Hall to get my mind away from all things digital, even for just a few hours.

Are there any Boston-based programs or companies in tech that you love?
Patty
: We’re very lucky to be in Boston where there are so many programs available to pretty much everyone. I always check out BostInno and MassTLC to see what’s going on in Boston tech. One of the companies that really intrigues me is Hopper, which is headquartered in Cambridge. I have a deep interest in travel tech and Hopper has a very interesting story, as a company and in the work they are doing.

On Filipino food…

What's your all time favorite Filipino dish?
Patty
: Wow, that’s like asking who your favorite child is! I mean, we’re talking FILIPINO FOOD - it’s all so good. I can’t pick just one, so I’ll do a favorite meal (rule-breaker!).  I’d start with garlic mani (peanuts) and chicharron (fried pork belly / rinds) with vinegar. The mains would be callos (stew), lengua estofada (ox tongue stew), palabok (noodles), and someone else’s adobo (I do not make a good adobo). And lots of rice. Dessert would be mangoes from back home and brazo de mercedes (jelly roll dessert). Always shared with friends and family.

What's your favorite Filipino recipe / dish to make?
Patty
: Sans rival (Filipino dessert cake). I find making the cashew meringue layers very therapeutic.

On staying touch…

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Facebook or LinkedIn, but the best way is the old fashioned way - a friend of a friend. We’re Filipino, after all, so we’re only three degrees separated.


We’re always looking for BOSFilipinos blog writers / subjects! If you’d like to contribute or have any suggestions, feel free to send us a note: info@bosfilipinos.com.

Todos Los Santos in the Philippines

by Bianca Garcia

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Do you celebrate All Saints’ Day? I do, and lately the movie Coco has been on my mind. I love how the movie showcased Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), when big throngs of family and friends congregate at the cemetery to commemorate their loved ones. The movie tugged at my heartstrings because it reminded me so much of how we celebrate Todos Los Santos (All Saints’ Day) in the Philippines.

Each year on November 1st, Filipinos swarm to the cemeteries to honor our beloved family and friends who have passed away. Some families would come the previous day, some would come the next day (on All Souls’ Day), and some would stay there for the three days. Some people camp out and spend the night, and the cemeteries are literally packed with people, food, light, flowers, candles, and music.

The energy during Todos Los Santos is anything but sad. The holiday has become a de facto family reunion, so there’s a jovial feeling in the air. Filipinos honor our loved ones who have passed by bringing their favorite foods, reminiscing about them, praying for them, and keeping our memories of them alive. There is something very uplifting about celebrating the lives of our dead, instead of mourning their deaths.     

In my family, we go to two cemeteries - one for my mother’s side, and another for my father’s side. We bring food, we pray, we catch up with our relatives. The kids play, the adults talk, we all eat and enjoy our time together. I am sad that some of my family have passed too soon: Lolo Ising, Lolo Leno, Lola Nading,Tito Jun,  Ate Isabel. But I am also happy that I still have them in my life - through my living relatives, and through Todos Los Santos.

*Quick Filipino vocab:

Lolo = grandfather

Lola = grandmother

Tito = uncle

Ate = older sister

Filipino American History Month: Turning Points in Boston and Beyond

By Trish Fontanilla

Happy Filipino American History Month!

Back in July the Filipino American National Historical Society announced that this year the theme would be Turning Points. Why? To focus on three events that changed the lives of Filipinos and Filipino Americans, and the respective anniversaries of those events. 2018 is the 120th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine independence, and it’s the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Ethnic Studies in which Filipino American students played a significant role.

For me, when I reflect upon the history of Filipinos in Boston, I can’t help but think of an archived Globe piece I first saw a couple years ago. If you head to the “anti-Filipino sentiment” Wikipedia page, the prominent and only picture in the article is the front page of the Boston Globe in 1899. The cover story is titled “Expansion, Before and After” and it features Filipinos in black face depicting what the paper thought the country was like before and after the U.S. came to the Philippines. Seem like fake news? You can check out the whole Globe paper in the newspaper archives.

 From  Wikipedia

But then I think of other moments, more celebratory moments in history. I met a woman at the Filipino Festival in Malden this year, and she said that her mother used to go to Filipino dances right here in Boston wearing traditional dress.

 Provided by a BF member to Trish / BOSFilipinos

Provided by a BF member to Trish / BOSFilipinos

And then I think of 2018 as a turning point. There continues to be incredible Filipino organizations collaborating (which we really need to list here on the site - I’m on it!), and Filipino pop-ups continue to increase. BOSFilipinos celebrated its first birthday. Chef Ellie Tiglao is opening up a restaurant in Somerville. There are 2 feature length films showing at the Boston Asian American Film Festival (will link to a FB post with discount code). The Filipino Festival in Malden hit some record numbers, and is outgrowing its space. And still, there’s room to really pick up the pace.

To truly make history in this community (and well, beyond), I do believe that requires collaboration and inclusivity. So if you’d like to be more involved with BOSFilipinos, whether you’re Filipino, Asian, or just want to be a part of elevating Filipino culture, we hope that you’ll reach out. Whether that’s online or in person (November 1st is our next meetup). Wouldn’t it be amazing to look back on this time here in the city as a time when we really came together to uplift each other’s cultures, whether that’s Filipino or otherwise.

PS - To learn more facts about Filipinos in America, check out our post from last year. In particular, you should definitely check out the amazing video Next Day Better / AARP put together (my favorite quick history lesson on the FilAm experience if you ask me!).


Filipinos in Boston: An Interview with Multimedia Producer Hyacinth Empinado

By Trish Fontanilla

 Photo provided by Hyacinth Empinado

Photo provided by Hyacinth Empinado

I had the pleasure of meeting Hyacinth at the last BOSFilipinos meetup. As we were chatting I thought she’d be a great person to interview for our Filipinos in Boston feature, as she’s done an awesome job of combining her passions.

I hope you love learning about Hyacinth as much as I loved meeting her.


Where are you and your family from?
Hyacinth:
I am a proud Cebuana. I was raised in a town called Minglanilla. Our claim to fame is an Easter festival called Sugat-Kabanhawan, which commemorates Jesus’ resurrection. Festivities start at dawn on Easter Sunday. There’s pyrotechnics, street dancing, angels on harnesses, and a giant eagle. It’s pretty awesome.

Where do you work and what do you do?
Hyacinth:
I am a multimedia producer at STAT, an online news publication that covers biotech and research. I create mini-documentaries, often profiling scientists and their work. I also create animated explainer videos that walk viewers through how something works. Occasionally, I also produce The Readout LOUD, a weekly biotech podcast.

Tell us a little more about your path to becoming a multimedia producer.
Hyacinth:
In second grade, I was telling everyone that I was going to be a TV journalist -- mass communications was going to be my college major. This baffled my teachers because I was a pretty shy kid, but I knew that I was destined to wear a press badge.

But in high school, I fell in love with biology, so I decided to study bio in college and spent many hours gently poking glowing worms under a microscope. (I was studying aging and longevity in a nematode called C. elegans and had to poke the older worms to see if they were still alive.)

All the while, my interest in television never waned, and I started volunteering at my school’s student-run TV station. Amidst the tangled cables and cameras, I never felt more at home.

Sometime between microscope-induced eye strain and tripping on cables, I found out that there’s such a thing as science journalism, which allowed me to meld my love for science and television. I got a master’s degree in health and medical journalism from the University of Georgia, and now I get to produce my own videos and show the world how cool science is.

 In the lab / Photo provided by Hyacinth Empinado

In the lab / Photo provided by Hyacinth Empinado

On Boston…

How long have you been in Boston?
Hyacinth:
I have been in Boston for over three years.

What are your favorite Boston spots:
Hyacinth:
I love getting ramen at Santouka. You can also never go wrong with dumplings at the Gourmet Dumpling House.

I also enjoy seeing strange and quirky films at the Coolidge Corner Theatre and watching plays and musicals at the Huntington Theatre and the American Repertory Theater.

Are there any Boston-based programs that you love?
Hyacinth:
When I first came to Massachusetts, I got involved with Catholic Charities. They do amazing work helping refugees navigate life in the United States. I got assigned to help a refugee learn English, and it’s been great seeing his language skills improve over the past couple of years.

 Cape Cod / Photo provided by Hyacinth Empinado

Cape Cod / Photo provided by Hyacinth Empinado

On Filipino Food...

What's your all time favorite Filipino dish?
Hyacinth:
My mom’s dinuguan. Hands down. A very close second is sisig.

What's your favorite Filipino recipe / dish to make?
Hyacinth:
I like to make lumpia shanghai and bistek. I also like making leche flan. It’s my go-to potluck dish.

I don’t really know how to make a lot of Filipino dishes yet. But since moving to Massachusetts, I’ve been craving a lot of my mom’s cooking. So, I often FaceTime with her, and she walks me through all the steps. Recently, we made pancit and chicken tinola together. I’ve yet to have her teach me how to make dinuguan, though.

Video provided by Hyacinth Empinado, made for STAT

On staying in touch…

How can people stay in touch?
Hyacinth:
Check out my latest videos on Twitter and find out what my latest plant baby is on Instagram, both @sayhitohyacinth (Twitter / Instagram). You can also find my latest stories at www.statnews.com.


We’re always looking for BOSFilipinos blog writers / subjects! If you’d like to contribute or have any suggestions, feel free to send us a note: info@bosfilipinos.com.

Christmas in September!

By Leila Amerling

Ahh September...Personally, I think it’s one of the best months of the year. You still have a chance to soak up a few more hot beach days but you’re also being eased into fresh, crisp Fall weather. As we gear up to getting our first taste of PSLs (aka pumpkin spice lattes) and all other things pumpkin for the season, the other side of the hemisphere is starting to get ready for, believe it or not, Christmas!

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Oh yes, it's that time of year when malls, hotels, and radio stations across the Philippines are beginning to play Christmas carols and decking their halls with lights and decorations. While we in the U.S. anticipate to celebrate other festive holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving (has anyone else noticed that the supermarkets are starting to sell Halloween candy way too early by the way?) Filipinos gear up to celebrate Christmas. Although it’s technically not the only holiday celebrated between now and December (a.k.a the “-BER” months; stay tuned for our post about All Saints’ Day this November), Christmas is by far the favorite and highly anticipated holiday in the country, also the longest celebrated holiday of the year.

Throughout the “-BER” months, fake Christmas trees are sold on the streets, tiangges (markets) pop up throughout the city, fruit cakes are being baked and exchanged, queso de bolas (cheese balls) are being stocked up at supermarkets, and the same Christmas carols from the 80s and 90s are playing on repeat everywhere. Side note: the “-BER” months are also known as such because the country starts to cool down by a few degrees. It’s still the tropics, so cooling down means highs of 90 degrees and lows of upper 70s.

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Not only is Christmas a time for presents and food though, it is also the holiday in which beloved family members come home from working overseas. During this time, Filipino overseas workers start sending balikbayan boxes (aka care packages) to their families and booking their flights home. This, I believe is truly what makes this holiday the most anticipated and happiest time of the year.

Coincidentally, scientific reports have indicated that putting up Christmas decorations early can actually make you happier. Perhaps this is why Filipinos are known to be some of the nicest and happiest people in the world. So while you skim through Amazon for the perfect Halloween costume, it’s perfectly acceptable to start digging out your Christmas lights and detangling them.

BOSFilipinos Fall Events Roundup

By Trish Fontanilla

Okay, okay… it’s not Fall yet, but we did want you to make sure you marked your calendars for these awesome upcoming events. If we missed something, feel free to leave a note for us in the comments and we'll add it!


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4th BOSFilipinos Meetup
Thursday, September 13, 2018
6PM - 8PM @ Scholar’s

Our next BOSFilipinos meetup will be September 13th! There's no agenda for this hang out... just food, fun, Filipinos + friends. We hope to see you there! RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/213845235961392/


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A One-Night-Only Filipino Feast at B3
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
6PM - 8PM

“For one night only, Berklee College of Music partner restaurant B3's executive chef Jeffrey Salazar, will be cooking up a spectrum of Filipino dishes—a tribute to his Philippine heritage—where guests are invited to feast together family-style, in partnership with Cross Cultures by Cheryl Tiu.”


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Orientation Workshop for Foreign-Trained Immigrants in Greater Boston
Saturday, September 22, 2018
10AM - 2PM @ East Boston Library

“Join us for our New Immigrants Orientation Workshop! We are bringing in experts to answer questions and provide resources that will help recent immigrants build on their foreign training to reach their potential in the United States. Come learn more about how to navigate the U.S. systems, hear about career development opportunities and meet other new immigrants and advocates in the Greater Boston area. Attendance is FREE.”



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Asian Street Food Night Market
Saturday, September 22, 2018
4PM - 11PM @ The Shops at Chestnut Hill

“Welcome to the one and only Asian Street Food Night Market in the Greater Boston Area! 30+ local Asian vendors will be cooking and serving over 100 different types of Asian dishes and snacks, including Chinese crepes, takoyaki, Korean rice cakes (topokki), Uyghur lamb kebab, skewers, fruit teas, Thai dessert, and so many more!”



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The 8th Asian American Cultural Concert
Sunday, September 23, 2018
3PM - 5PM @ Isaac Harris Cary Memorial Building

“A high-quality art and cultural concert is coming up in Lexington Battin Hall. Audiences will enjoy ethnic culture, music, dance, and innovative performances from Asian countries. Let's grab a seat and enjoy this wonderful afternoon with us. The end of the concert, we are going to have a big surprise. Don't miss out on all the FUN!”



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Filipino Fiesta Boodlefest Dinner & Dance Fundraiser
Saturday, October 13, 2018
6PM - 11PM @ Watertown Sons-Of-Italty

“In the Philippines, a boodlefest is a military style meal in which food is piled on top of banana leaves, laid out on long tables, and eaten with bare hands. Join BKP in celebrating its 20th year! Eat, dance, support our literacy programs and libraries in the Philippines.”



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Boston Asian American Film Festival
Dates vary

“This is the 10th festival and we're extending our fun and films to another weekend! The festival will be held at Brattle Theatre on Thursday, Oct. 18 and the rest of the programming will be at Paramount Center and various other venues. Please save the date and join us for a great experience with the community.

Save the date for our PREVIEW PARTY | September 26, 7-9PM @ Oberon”



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ASPIRE Happy Hour
T
uesday, October 2, 2018
6PM - 9PM @ The Pour House

“Come out to meet some awesome people whether you are new to the area or looking to stretch your network. It never hurts to make more friends! Appetizers will be provided! Bring yourself! Bring your friends! All are welcome!”



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2018 CelebrAsians Benefit Fashion Show
Saturday, October 13, 2018
6PM - 9PM @ Boston Medical Center Shapiro Center Atrium

“CelebrASIANS is a benefit fashion show presented by AWFH to celebrate the strength and resiliency of Asian cancer/trauma survivors. They will model the creations of leading Asian designers while the audience learns about their inspiring stories and aspirations.”



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2018 AAPI Civil Rights Forum
Friday, October 26, 2018
8AM - 3:15PM @ Federal Reserve Plaza

“The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Asian American Commission and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Boston Area Office invites you to this (non-political) forum and hope you will leave this event more empowered to embracing the synergy that will strengthen us. This forum is created by your community for our community.”



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ELECTION DAY
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
7AM - 8PM, @ Your Local Voting Booth

No, this isn’t an Asian / Filipino specific but it’s important. To check whether you’re registered to vote, where you vote, and more, click on the links above.



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Farm-to-KITCHEN Cooking Class: Classic Asian Flavors with Chef Irene Li
Monday, November 19, 2018
6PM - 8PM @ Boston Public Market

“The KITCHEN at the Boston Public Market is honored to welcome James Beard Rising Star Chef Irene Li for a very special hands-on cooking experience. In Chef Li's class, attendees will learn the traditional Asian fusion cuisine that has people lining up for her popular food truck and restaurant, Mei Mei. Join us to cook side-by-side with one of Boston's most prestigious chef heros who is committed to highlighting New England’s local farmers, fishermen and artisans on her menus!”


As always, you can keep up to date with the latest Filipino / Asian events around town by checking out our Events page. We’ll see you out there!

We’re always looking for BOSFilipinos blog writers / subjects! If you’d like to contribute or have any suggestions, feel free to send us a note: info@bosfilipinos.com.


Filipino Books at the Boston Public Library

By Trish Fontanilla

 Boston Public Library / Taken by Trish Fontanilla

Boston Public Library / Taken by Trish Fontanilla

Fun fact: growing up I went to library school instead of preschool, so I started reading at a very early age. And while other kids’ favorite games were Candy Land or Mouse Trap, my favorite game was Dewey Decimal Classification Bingo. So it’s probably no surprise that when I moved to Boston I quickly fell in love with the Boston Public Library. Now that I’m a consultant, I spend even more time there, and it’s one of my favorite places in the city by far.

Another reason I love the BPL is because of the number of Filipino books it has on the shelves.

Here are 8 books on my Later shelf (a category on the BPL website for folks like me that have a ton of books checked out AND are on the waiting list for an equally absurd amount of books):

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1. The Oracles: My Filipino Grandparents in America by Pati Navalta Poblete

I’ve gotta admit, I was initially drawn to this book because of the title. I regularly call older family members The Elders Council because they are the last say on important decisions that impact our very large family (dates people can get married, when reunions are, etc). In this memoir, Poblete talks about the intergenerational issues she experienced growing up Filipino American and living with her immigrant grandparents.


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2. Filipino Cuisine: Recipes from the Islands by Gerry G. Gelle

This is one of the larger Filipino cookbooks available at the BPL, with hundreds of recipes from different parts of the Philippines like Northern Luzon, Central Plains, Bicol, Visayas, and Mindanao. So if you’re looking for a cookbook that’s a general overview of Filipino cuisine, this one’s definitely it!


3. Filipino Children’s Favorite Stories by Liana Romulo (hard copy / eBook)

Growing up in America, most of my bedtime stories were about my dad’s farm in the Philippines. So while my favorite stories are of Filipino origins, I’ve actually never heard Filipino retellings of classic folktales. In this book, Roulo compiled 13 stories, some of which have companion tales in other cultures. Bonus: Romulo’s book Filipino Friends is also available at the BPL!


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4. The Filipino Americans 1763 - present: Their History, Culture, and Traditions by Veltsezar Bautista

The 2nd edition of this book is available at the BPL. As Filipinos are not generally credited for their contributions in America, I found it fascinating that in reading this book’s description, it covers everything from the economy, politics, entertainment, and more.


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5. Filipinos Represent DJs, Racial Authenticity, and the Hip-Hop Nation by Antonio Tiongson

Stoked to read this. I knew many Filipino Americans growing up who were obsessed with hip hop, and I actually did a little hip hop choreography at my cotillion (Filipino American Sweet 16). I’m just going to share the Amazon description here because I couldn’t have worded it any better: “Looking at the ways in which Filipino DJs legitimize their place in an expressive form historically associated with African Americans, Tiongson examines what these complex forms of identification reveal about the contours and trajectory of contemporary U.S. racial formations and discourses in the post–civil rights era.”


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6. Asian Americans in the Twenty-First Century by Joann Faung Jean Lee

This book covers oral histories of First to Fourth Generation Americans from China, Japan, India, Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Laos. I love that it features AAs from all these different countries and differentiates some of their experiences. I feel like people often forget how much of a blanket term “Asian” is, and how different we all can be from hair / skin color to cultural and religious traditions.


7. Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes

I was wondering why I hadn’t heard of this book before, and realized it came out in 2018! “Told with a lyrical, almost-dreamlike voice as intoxicating as the moonflowers and orchids that inhabit this world, Monsoon Mansion is a harrowing yet triumphant coming-of-age memoir exploring the dark, troubled waters of a family's rise and fall from grace in the Philippines. It would take a young warrior to survive it.”


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8. 10,000 Islands: A Food Portrait of the Philippines by Yasmin Newman

Admittedly, this isn’t a book on my Later shelf, I have this book checked out right now… but I promise to return it soon! So far I’ve made mango icebox cake, flan, and empanadas. I love Newman’s take on a cookbook as a cultural guide, and her notes on the origins and influences on each recipe.


 Boston Public Library Courtyard / Taken by Trish Fontanilla

Boston Public Library Courtyard / Taken by Trish Fontanilla

What are your favorite Filipino books at the BPL (or locations across the city)? How about books that should be at the BPL and aren’t? Comment below!


We’re always looking for BOSFilipinos blog writers / subjects! If you’d like to contribute or have a suggestions, feel free to send us a note: info@bosfilipinos.com.