on Huffington Post

This post is about two months too late. Apologies to the lovely Christine Bumatay, who wrote a very thoughtful and personal story about her experiences with using skin lightening products. You can read about it here. In addition, you should check out Christine’s piece about tourism, environmental waste, and its impact on local communities in the Philippines. Excellent work, Christine!

TFAL Podcast: Episode 88

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hanging out (virtually) with the incredible team at This Filipino American Life Podcast. I’ve been listening to the podcast on and off for about a year now. Joe Bernardo, one of the hosts, is a friend from college. I knew him as a youngin’ when we were at UC Santa Barbara together. That he is involved with this podcast makes perfect sense. Joe has always been invested in and curious about the various textures of Filipino/American life.

I was so happy to be part of this episode because it allowed me to discuss further, some of the issues that weren’t covered in the Refinery29 story. Since it aired, I have received a tremendous amount of love and support from people who felt connected to the topic. For that, I am very grateful. Again, many thanks to Joe, Elaine, Ryan, and Mike of This Filipino American Life Podcast for the lovely conversation and share.

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
South San Francisco, CA

coffee stories

As I was listening to an episode of This Filipino American Life, I learned that my FAVORITE coffee shop carries Philippine coffee. (As of this writing, it’s unavailable, but I’m keeping my eye out on you, Andytown!) After listening to the show, I found this story by Corazon Padilla, Andytown’s Director of Quality Control. I’m sure we all have a coffee story to share. Here, Padilla explains a brief history of Philippine coffee in the U.S. that pre-dates Starbucks. Fascinating! Cheers to your morning cuppa joe and the pan de sal you’re dunking into it.

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
South San Francisco, CA

on Refinery29

A few months ago, I was invited to be interviewed by Refinery29, a multi-media news outlet that focuses on stories that concern young women. They run a series called Shady, and were producing an episode on skin lightening products in the Philippines. I was really impressed by the team’s ability to visit and conduct interviews overseas. Their enthusiasm and curiosity was clear throughout the process. While the issue of skin tone hierarchy and discrimination is a vast one, I’m always happy with any interest surrounding it.

The interview process was a little lengthy because the team was juggling budget and location issues. After a little back and forth, we managed to meet in Southern California, where I was interviewed for about two hours. This, on top of the pre-vetting in the very beginning, I spent just under three hours total with the team. I mention this because I have received a number of comments about the feature. Please note that interviewees do not have say over the final story. Also, the feature is meant to function as a simple taste into the larger issue. If anything, this experience really inspired me to go forward the research because there is a lot to say and the Refinery29 story just scratched the surface.

The video is below, and you can find the corresponding story here. Enjoy!

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
South San Francisco, CA

The Philippine American War

Hello Friends!
Through the magic of Facebook, I saw that filmmaker Marissa Aroy (the genius behind the documentary, Delano Manongs) is working on a new film with Niall McKay. The new project is titled, The Philippine American War: America’s Bloody Empire. For those of you who don’t know much about the Philippine American War, blame history books… and the colonialism… and the patriarchy… and the haole supremacy… and… and… and…

To help get this film underway, I urge you to donate to their fundraising efforts. As you all know, independent filmmaking is difficult because the production costs can be insurmountable. However, it’s also important that the funding remains grassroots because it helps maintain the integrity of the film. To donate to Aroy and McKay’s film, please go here or here. Donate as much as you can, when you can.

Here’s a message from the filmmakers:

We’re raising funds for the Philippine American war documentary by Marissa Aroy and Niall McKay. Your donation will be tax-deductible and will go towards the research and development and production of the film.

We’ve got a lot of archival research to do and have our Filipino and Filipino American academics to help advise, support and research with us.

Screen America Inc is the non-profit started by Marissa Aroy and Niall McKay. Screen America Inc Showcases And Supports Films And Filmmakers From Immigrant Communities Providing Them With A Platform And Network In The United States.

As an educator, I’m ecstatic to hear about this project because (1) Marissa Aroy is 100% phenomenal (I should know. I met her this past spring at a conference and I’m still starstruck. That is why there is no photographic proof of that meeting. You’ll have to simply trust that I met Marissa and likely acted like a blundering fool because that’s how I do in the presence of greatness.) (2) I’m glad to see something about the forgotten Philippine American War that’s not Savage Acts. (To clarify, Savage Acts was life-changing for me. It’s what helped inform the beginnings of what would be my dissertation. Sadly, EVERYONE in Ethnic Studies uses it. After a while, you kinda crave for more stuff. If films about the Philippine American War were treated like films about Steve Jobs, I’d be happy.)

Again, please donate. If you have any questions about the film, please direct them to the filmmakers.

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
South San Francisco, CA

a hapa bachelorette

caila

Note: Photo found here.

Many thanks to Akemi Johnson for chatting with me for her NPR story, What Would It Mean to Have a Hapa Bachelorette. It’s always a pleasure to speak to writers about current events, especially as it relates to my own research. As an academic, feeling like you’re an imposter, or that your research is irrelevant, is a daily insecurity. However, talking to other people who inspire and push you to connect your research to the ideas they’re working on really helps solidify your own work. For that, I am grateful. Hope you enjoy the story!

Maraming salamat!

Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.

Mesa, AZ

Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School

itliongvera

Confession: Growing up, I was really lucky in that I was raised in pre-dominantly non-white, immigrant communities. In fact, I mostly grew up in areas where there were large concentrations of Filipino families, just like mine. Dededo, my home village is notorious for being Filipino-heavy. When I moved to Union City, California, the story continued.

This Friday, Alvarado Middle School (one of two middle schools in Union City) will be re-named to Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School. It’s been a while since I have lived in Union City and I loosely followed the conversations surrounding the name change. (This is largely because my students at Berkeley would fill me in on this.) While I did not attend Alvarado Middle School, all of my cousins did. The name change makes sense, given the community makeup and history of Union City’s immigrant community. The middle school I attended was called New Haven Middle School. However, its name was eventually changed to Cesar Chavez Middle School. The newly named Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School is a nice tribute to Filipinos in UFW’s legacy. I do hope to join the festivities on Friday. If that happens, I’ll post an update:)

Maraming Salamat (Many Thanks),

Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.

Mesa, AZ