Renowrites blog!

Author of YA novel "Enlightenment" available March 2019!

Happy Filipino American Month!

Those close to me know how important my Filipino heritage is to me. I consider myself informed about Filipino history, and in fact, one of my manuscripts is a fictional tale centered around the history of the Philippines and the Filipino existence in America.

In America, October is always known for falling leaves and Halloween costumes. For me, it also means it’s Filipino American Month — a chance to remember the generations of Filipinos that came before me, my contribution to the Filipino community, and hypothesize on the future prospects of bridging the gap between Filipinos in America and in the Philippines. I think about my great-grandfather who worked the fields of Stockton CA during the Great Depression making only pennies and sleeping in unlivable conditions with only hope being his motivation.

The years between 1890 and 1940 was a 50 year period that greatly changed the psyche of the majority of Filipinos. The entire 1800’s, Philippine schools were run by the Spanish. Filipino kids read Latin and spoke Spanish in class. Their native dialects were only spoken outside of school. They were in a Spanish-ruled society. Towns didn’t have mayors — they had Spanish lords who ruled the barangay to their whim. The Spanish influence ruled most of the provinces. English was never spoken as it is today in Philippine classrooms. Then the Spanish American War occurred in 1898, and this began the American influence on the Philippines.

I am a product of this American influence. I was raised in Michigan in a vibrant Polish and German community, and my childhood will always have memories of dancing the polka at a wedding and chowing down on kielbasa at summer festivals. I grew up doing All-American things; I played basketball, baseball and ran cross country (only for one year). I helped with the Homecoming floats and was even voted onto the Homecoming Court my sophomore year in high school. These are all things I look back on with appreciation, and I know I wouldn’t have had a chance to do any of those things without my parents making the decision to immigrate from the Philippines.

They immigrated because America was the land of opportunity where they could earn the coveted U.S. dollar and send money back to family who wished to have the same opportunity to immigrate. They learned how to communicate with people from different backgrounds who had a hard time understanding their English. They worked hard and provided medical care for a community they greatly cared about in Northern Michigan, but when they said “home,” I knew they meant the Philippines.

Filipino American Month is a fairly new concept in America, but a title I hope becomes more important to Filipinos all over the world. The California Senate passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 48 in 2009, recognizing October as Filipino American Month in California. It’s a great time to educate anyone interested in learning about Filipino history in America.

As a writer, I try to convey this history and current existence of Filipinos in America and hope it can hit a universal pulse. When I sit down to write, I can’t help but write from a Filipino American point of view.

Hopefully, one day my stories can be read by the world.

For anyone interested in learning more about the Filipino existence in America, I strongly urge people to read America Is In The Heart by Filipino poet and writer Carlos Bulosan. It will open your eyes to how much Filipinos have overcome to establish themselves in this great country.

Happy Filipino American Month everyone!

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Life

So much going on in Bay Area sports right now. The San Francisco Giants are in the National League Championship Series. The 49ers defeated the Raiders in the Battle of the Bay in NFL Football.

And I’m busy juggling my sports officiating commitments.

I had a morning-long basketball officials meeting today, which reminded me that I’ll have to switch gears from soccer & football to basketball in one short month. Football season has flown by as it does every year. I’m enjoying it more than any year, but it also makes me feel guilty because…

…I haven’t been able to write as much as have been able to during the off-season. It happens every year for me; I convinced myself I’ll be able to balance my writing and sports activities before the season starts, and then reality hits. I’ve re-committed myself to write four nights this week, so we’ll see how successful I am. I don’t have a game until Friday so I should be able to do this.

But oh yeah, there’s the day job and the fact I’m the father of three young and vibrant children. Hopefully I can find a way to write every night this week, and then take it from there.

One step at a time.

Filed under: Writing

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