June 29, 2008 at 2:53 pm 5 comments

We were watching Star Search a few years ago when I pointed out to my kids that one of the young contestants was a Filipino. My middle son, who was about six or seven, quickly quipped:

Him: No, he’s American. He’s from Chicago.
Me: Okay then, he’s Filipino-American. Much just like you are Filipino-Canadian.
Him: But I’m Canadian, mommy. I was born here.
Me: That’s true, Ryan. But you are also Filipino because me and daddy are from the Philippines. And just look at you. I know you are not as dark as your brothers and me and daddy, but you look Filipino.

And I think that’s when we started going to Folklorama. To introduce them to our heritage and culture.

The other day, my youngest son, who’s ten, was telling me how they were talking about Canada Day (July 1) at school. So I thought I’d check with him if he still understands that he’s Filipino-Canadian.

Me: You know that you’re Filipino-Canadian, right?
Him: Yeah.
Me: Let’s say your teacher asks you why you’re both Filipino and Canadian, how will you explain it?
Him: My parents were born from the Philippines and then she moved here in Winnipeg. Then she had a baby. And that baby was me.
Me: Wait, why did you say “she?” You have two parents.
Him: I’m just talking about you.

I thought I’d have more fun with him. So I asked him another question.

Me: How are you different from other Canadians?
Him: What do you mean?
Me: Okay, I’ll make it simpler. How are you different from your Canadian friends, like Blake or Mitch? Give me three answers.
Him: Okay. I don’t think Blake knows Tagalog words, but I do.
Me: Let’s see what Tagalog words you know.
Him: Kulangot, puwet, buhok. (Booger, bum, hair)
Me: But Ryland, those are gross words, okay maybe except for the last one. Give me another answer.
Him: I eat rice everyday. I don’t think Blake eats rice. Also some Filipinos eat with their hands and they don’t.
Me: Oh, you mean how daddy sometimes eat with his hands? But Canadians also eat with their hands when they eat French fries or chicken strips or something like that.
Him: Also, we go to church. I don’t think my friends do.
Me: Okay, that’s three. Very good. But you know, some Canadians also go to church, right?
Him: Can I tell you one more?
Me: Sure.
Him: The colour of my skin.
Me: That’s very good. So you understand why you’re Filipino-Canadian.
Him: Yeah. But mommy, why is it Filipino first?
Me: You mean why not Canadian-Filipino instead?
Him: Yeah.
Me: Mmm. Good question. But you know how they say African-American or Italian-American? I don’t know. Maybe because it sounds better.

I was stumped. So what do you think guys? Does anybody have a better answer?


Entry filed under: Raising the 3Rs. Tags: , , .

Undying love, delusional love, parental love and an unplanned pregnancy Smitten by David

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. rhodora  |  June 30, 2008 at 5:41 am

    Hehehe. Kakalito nga ano. Eto pa: Fil-Am, Fil-Chinese. But sometimes, Chinese residing here in the Philippines are called Chinoys (Chinese-Filipino). Ay naku, whichever will be will be. LOL!

    It’s good to know that you are making your kids become aware of their roots. Sana makapunta rin sila dito one day so they will see their parents’ birthplace. 🙂

  • 2. pining  |  June 30, 2008 at 10:04 am

    yes, it’s always a good idea to remind kids of our heritage, so they have a sense of identity. my kids like eating rice everyday too, they got used to eating sinangag, I never forced them, I guess they have a Filipino palate he he.
    I don’t know why they are called such but it does sound better, I suppose 🙂

  • 3. bw  |  July 4, 2008 at 9:43 am

    My daughter is going to celebrate her bday this month with some her classmates at a playplace where they can play and eat and have fun. The kids she invited are all caucasian, the reason being that in all of grade 1 kids in her school, only 3 have black hair, including her 🙂

    She then quips – ” I am having an English party with my classmates- aren’t we going to have a Tagalog party at home ?” ( referring to our friends)

    One time, during a weekend lunch at home she says ” mom, can I have English food this time?” ( referring to macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets)

    Kids here enter the so called renaissance of the Pinoy culture when they reach high school, curious of their roots, language and ethnicity. It is for this reason that a Tagalog subject is being offered as an elective in high schools here in Ontario to provide that need for multicultural students. Kodus to Canada for allowing us to recognize and celebrate our ethnicity. It does encourage multicultural people to contribute to society and respect the country more for its fairness and tolerance 🙂

  • 4. haze  |  July 6, 2008 at 8:40 am

    It’s maybe because it’s the origin first and second is the adoptive country. Either Filipino-French or French-Filipino it’s just the same 😀 ! Okay si Ryan sa Tagalog my kids are used to those Tagalog words too LOL ! I do ask my kids sometimes and they know they are half breed co’z I always tell them I don’t look like French, I have a slanting eyes, I am not tall though I don’t have a flat nose and I speak Tagalog !

  • 5. Toe  |  July 8, 2008 at 5:24 am

    Hahaha… kulangot, puwet… Ryland cracks me up! 🙂

    It’s a good thing that you instill in your kids their Filipino identity. I applaud you for that Niceheart!


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