Lamtoc, Negros Oriental

A few months ago, my family and extended family went to Lamtoc, Negros Oriental  Philippines. These are some of the photos I took during our vacation.

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I’m Voting Because …

WPG by Lora

I’m voting for the first time as a Canadian citizen.

I became a Canadian citizen March this year. I renounced my Filipino citizenship and swore to Her Majesty and sang “Oh Canada”. It was a surreal experience, and it hasn’t sunk in to me yet that I’m now a Canadian citizen.

I’m voting because I want to experience a Canadian election.

I’ve only voted once in my life. I was 18 and there was a municipal election for city councilors and district representatives in Pasay City, Philippines. I was excited because I was voting for the first time. I was also uninterested because I wasn’t familiar with the candidates. When I went to the voting location, I didn’t expect it to be loud, crowded, and chaotic. The process was slow and confusing. It was disappointing and discouraging for first-time voters like me. Nevertheless, I’m still looking forward to voting—whether in the Philippines or here in Canada.

I’m voting because I want to vote.

I want to know what it feels like to vote and how it feels like a year after the elections.

I’m not political, despite what some of my friends think. I still have a lot to learn and understand in politics. I don’t know all the political spectrum, party politics, and ideologies. I don’t read the news everyday. And I certainly I don’t know all the Canadian officials, cabinet members, MPs, and MLAs.

But I was born and raised in a country where government officials do atrocious acts for power and money. These people who were elected to serve the country steal the citizens’ hard-earned money and live extravagant lifestyles as they watch the poor suffer the consequences.

I’ve been disappointed far too many times with Philippine politicians. But that’s why I’m voting—because I have hopes for the City of Winnipeg. This city is now my second home—I want it to prosper and to be livable. Voting gives me hope that I could make a difference because I now live in Canada.

Now, if only I could figure out who to vote at the 2014 Winnipeg Civic Elections on October 22nd.

Book: Rizal Without the Overcoat – Intro

I’m currently reading Rizal Without the Overcoat, a collection of essays and articles about Jose P. Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines. Rizal was also famous for writing Noli Me Tangere (1887) and El Filibusterismo (1891), the two novels that exposed the Spanish colonization and the Catholic Church in the Philippines.

The anthology is written and compiled by Ambeth Ocampo. The articles are collected from his column, “Looking Back”, published bi-weekly in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Ambeth Ocampo is a renowned public historian in the country focusing on the 19th Century Philippines and an associate professor at De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines.

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When I was a high school student, I read Rizals’ novels because it was part of the curriculum. Years later, I realized that I wanted to read them again–I wanted to know more about Rizal and why he was a hero. I wanted to know more than what I’ve learned in high school. That’s why I bought this book.

And that’s why I’m writing about the book.

I wouldn’t exactly call this series of posts a book review; rather, it’s a series of posts where I analyse each chapter in the book.

I will summarize each chapter by taking out important points and highlighting historical facts that either validate or refute people’s opinion or knowledge about Rizal. I will quote Rizal and Ocampo to provide proof and to support my analysis.

In short, this ‘Rizal’ series is like writing an academic paper but on a website. The anthology has 9 chapters–I’ll make it a personal goal to finish it before December 30th, to commemorate Rizal’s 118th death anniversary.

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History is a living and lively account of what we were and are; it could and should be as real to each of us as stories about family or about recent and past events, as anecdotes about people known and unknown, as fiction read in books. If all of that makes us understand humanity better, so does history make us understand ourselves and our country infinitely better, in the context of our culture and society.

Foreword by Doreen G. Fernandez in Rizal Without the Overcoat
1990

Album: Fog – Tommy P

Fog Tommy P.

It’s appropriate for Tommy P. to name his debut album Fog when the record is inspired by San Francisco City.

The singer and songwriter started playing music since he was 16 years old. Due to his love of music, he and his friends founded 11th Avenue Records, an independent pop/folk/rock record label that supports and promotes independent artists.

Tommy P. grew up in Milpitas, California where he learned to play the drums, guitar, keyboard, and bass. He moved to San Francisco and started collaborating and performing with other artists in the community.

Before his debut album, he released an EP and a compilation album.

His first EP, Nowhere Now, was released in February 2013. In April 2013, he and a few friends released There Is A Light, a compilation album for Sing Out of Darkness Benefit, a benefit concert for the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (AFSP) in San Francisco.

Tommy P. at the Sunday Night Mic at Saint Lukes Episcopal Church | photo by Mario Di Sandro

Tommy P. at the Sunday Night Mic at Saint Lukes Episcopal Church | photo by Mario Di Sandro

Nowhere Now is indie, acoustic, and homey. I can imagine myself listening to this song while driving on a Sunday or going on a roadtrip. It’s like watching a montage on a movie and the record plays in the background. It’s comfortable and it’s feel-good music.

Fog brings out emotions of being in San Francisco even if you’ve never been there. It starts off quietly, setting the mood with Tommy’s deep voice and an acoustic guitar. Then it becomes grander, like you’re being transported to a new world. The lovely violin piece doesn’t hurt and complements the dream-like music. It dies down gradually, and then catchy “Gravity” plays next. “Farallon Island” is the only track named after an actual place in San Francisco. “Farallon Island” sounds festive and makes you feel like you’re actually in Farallon Island, when he’s really reminiscing about the island.

The acoustic, drums, violin, and trumpet really set the mood in the entire album. It’s cliché, but I see this record playing as the rain heavily pours down and you can see raindrops on the glass on a dark and cold night. Tommy P. was able to portray the feelings of living in San Francisco through his sincere lyrics and honest emotions.

In this debut, Tommy P. has shown that he tries different things. After listening to Nowhere Now and Fog, I know he’ll continue to surprise the audience with new sounds and keep his sincerity.

Tommy P

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Catch Tommy P. live! If you’re in San Francisco he’s performing September 20th in Bazaar Cafe with The Not Marys. You can also visit his website and Facebook page for updates, and follow him in soundcloud for new music.

 

(all photos are from Tommy P.’s Facebook page)

Rebranding

Hi. I’m Lora, and welcome to my website.

In a few weeks I’ll be changing this website to The Hyphenated Filipino.

What is the Hyphenated Filipino? The Hyphenated Filipino is a Filipino or Filipina who have a dual individuality. Some of them live in the Philippines, some of them live anywhere but the Philippines. Some of them have embraced the country they live in while practicing their culture. Some of them live in the capital but they were really from the south. Some of them support the current government, some of them disagree.

If that sounds like you, welcome. If you’re not a Filipino and none of these resonate with you, you’re still welcome.

 

Across the Pacific: From Tropics to Snow

Tagaytay City, August 2010

I was reading Meg Crane’s zine when I saw her ad calling for submissions for her zine’s April/May 2014 issue. The topic was about travelling and journeys. It was something I could completely relate to, and it was something that I wanted to share to everyone. And because I would rather write my story than talk about it, I signed up to write it.

I had a difficult time writing it because I cried a few times when I was writing it. When I’m writing, I usually write a few sentences then read them again. So every time I reread them or if the idea really resonated to me, I tear up. Even after reading it for this post, I teared up a little bit.

Here’s a short excerpt (or parts where I always get emotional):

When you’re a minority, it feels completely different. It changes your world and your view about the world.

You feel like you don’t belong. You feel like they’re giving you disgusted looks. You feel like they’re judging you. You feel like they’re being condescending. You feel like they’re not treating you right just because you’re different. Your self-esteem goes all the way down until you lose the self-confidence you’ve built your entire life.

It’s hard. It’s really hard. But everything will be alright.

You will only fully understand how it feels to be discriminated when you have been discriminated.

This is one of my favourite parts:

I’ve accepted that I will never become white. I have learned to embrace my identity. It took me six years to figure this out and I think I’m still in that journey. The journey of finding and accepting myself.

Before coming here, I thought it was going to be easy and simple. All I had to do was get my education and get a job to help myself and my parents. I was 19 then. I was young. I was naive. I have learned so much in the past six years that sometimes I find it hard to believe that I have survived in Canada this long.

It takes courage to leave your past and start a new life.

My story doesn’t end here. There’s a reason why I moved here, so I have to know what that is.

Life is full of ups and downs. There are times when you’re at the top, and there are times when you’re at the bottom. There’s nothing wrong with starting over. Leaving your past and learning from your mistakes make you a better and stronger person. So whatever it is that you’re going through now, don’t give up. Don’t lose hope.

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Grab a copy of Cockroach zine’s April/May 2014 issue to know more about my story and to read other people’s stories about their own journeys. Email them at cockroachzine@gmail.com, follow them on Twitter @cockroachzine, or like them on Facebook. You can also grab a copy on Etsy or at Winnipeg Makers & Market.

Album: Do Re Mi – Wesley Woo

You know those nights when you just want to listen to music and get lost in the lyrics? How about those nights when you’re feeling in love, or feeling out of love, and you just want to curl up in bed while listening to music?

Wesley Woo is one of those artists you listen to on those nights. Wesley’s debut album, Do Re Mi, is coming out this week.

Born and raised in San Francisco, California, the singer/songwriter is an upcoming artist in SF’s music scene. In 2013, the San Francisco native won “Best Song of the Year” at the West Coast Songwriters SF chapter. He has performed in several shows such as the Brick and Mortar, RAMA GO!Ohana Showcase, and Woodshed Showcase.

I completely support Asian Americans making a name for themselves in their hometown.  As a minority myself, I understand how difficult it is to live in dominant society as a minority.

So when I had the chance to listen to his album before the launch, I grabbed it.

11th Ave Band

At the RAMA GO!Ohana showcase at Solespace in Oakland. Left to right: Rei Otsuka, Wesley Woo, and Miguel Becerra. photography by Jason Lor.

Whenever I listen to songs for the first time, I make sure that I really listen. I don’t do my homework, I don’t organize my planner, and I don’t clean my room. In other words, I don’t multitask. I like focusing on this one single task: listen to music, internalize the music, understand the lyrics, and appreciate the arrangement. That’s where you see the beauty of the songs.

The first time I listened to the album, it took me a few songs to get in the moment. The second time I listened to it, that’s when I knew that I’ll keep coming back to listen to this album.

I know it’s not right to pick favourites, but I can’t help it. But just because I have favourites doesn’t mean that I won’t listen to the entire album. So my personal favourites are “Lost in You”, “Fall Again”, and “Half Past Fine”.

“Lost in You” is one of those songs where you just want to close your eyes and reminisce as you listen to Wesley’s voice. His single “Stay” comes second place in that category. “Fall Again” is a good album opener because it starts off slow, and then turns upbeat to introduce the next eight tracks. It took me a few times listening to “Half Past Fine” because it didn’t exactly had that effect on me that I was looking for. The lyrics really resonate though, especially when you’re at a point in your life where you feel like the universe is against you. It’s a good pick-me-up song.

If you’re in SF or somewhere near the SF area, go to his album launch this Friday, April 4th, at The Lost Church, San Francisco.

To get your advanced tickets at Wesley Woo’s debut album launch, get your advance tickets here. Visit his website, Wesley Woo Music, and like his Facebook page, Wesley Woo Music, for show dates and to buy his album.

Wesley Woo album launch

Meanwhile, listen to his single, “Stay”, to get a preview of the album.