In 2014 I began a food media and events group called Filipino Kitchen. Our mission was to connect Filipinos across the diaspora with our history and community through food. We achieved our mission through telling multimedia stories on our blog and social channels, creating popup pop-up dining experiences alongside Filipino American chefs across the country, sharing our knowledge at speaking engagements and workshops at higher learning institutions and cultural institutions, and producing an annual Filipino American food and arts festival called Kultura. We built communities in person and online, and importantly, Filipino Americans reclaimed the conversation about Filipino food for themselves, and to our own ends. On behalf of the organization, I was invited in 2016 to the White House Celebration of Filipino American History Month.
After building a sustainable, community-focused media organization, in 2018 I decided to continue my work in other places. I’m indebted to many people for the success of Filipino Kitchen, including Natalia Roxas, Mark Calaguas, Ryan Viloria, Christian Aldana, and many more, especially the Filipinx American community at large.
I continue to further my education at conferences and workshops, most recently Travel Con in Boston, and the inaugural Food Media Lab at the San Francisco Cooking School. I was selected for the travel writing workshop at Voices of Our Nations (VONA, the nation’s oldest writers’ workshop for people of color) in 2017 led by Faith Adiele. I received a scholarship for the Feet In Two Worlds podcasting program in 2016. In 2011 I received my Master’s of Science degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University.
I’ve walked the Camino Frances — a 500-mile (800-kilometer) pilgrimage from southwestern France through northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela — twice.
I wrote a history of the Filipino dessert, halo halo, for the independently published, Family Style Zine: An AAPI Food Anthology (2018) by editors Cynthia Cheng and Farrah Su, alongside the beautiful illustration by Ann Ryan.
Most of my recent work from 2014-2018 is published at Filipino Kitchen, which I’ve republished here. My blog posts on Filipino and Filipino American culture (specifically the posts on lugaw and Hurricane Yolanda) spawned the idea for Filipino Kitchen in 2013.
I wrote about the history of Filipino food in Chicago for the book, The Chicago Food Encyclopedia (University of Illinois, 2017), available on Amazon.
In late 2016, I created first-person profiles of three elders in the Asian American Pacific Islander community for the AARP blog (American Association of Retired Persons), in a collaboration with community-based organization, NextDay Better. “Stories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Who Disrupt Aging” (December 8, 2016) featured farmer and James Beard award nominee Mas Matsumoto and acclaimed novelist Tess Gerritsen, whose work spawned the TV show Rizzoli & Isles. “Stories of Caregiving From the AAPI Community” (November 1, 2016) presented the story of poet and author Frances Kakugawa.
An industry publication, Plate Magazine, Filipino Forward issue, March/April 2016. I contributed a piece called “On The Side” about banana ketchup.
A photograph I first posted on this blog has been memorialized in the memoir, Shakespeare and Company, Paris: A History of the Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart (2016).
I wrote about drinking in Chicago for the book, 101 Places to Get F*cked Up Before You Die (St. Martin's Press, 2014). Yes, that's the real title, and it's available on Amazon. Read the story about one of my favorite Chicago bars which unfortunately was cut from the book.
My first published work is a chapter about the Philippines for Street Food Around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture (ABC-CLIO, 2013), available on Amazon. Another publisher, Agate, purchased rights in 2017 to the book and repackaged it in paperback as Street Food: Everything You Need To Know About Open-Air Stands, Carts, And Food Trucks Across The Globe, available on Amazon.
GUEST LECTURES, WORKSHOPS & TALKS
Allied Media Conference at Wayne State University
University of Illinois-Chicago
University of Wisconsin-Madison
“Usapang Pagkain” series, in collaboration with Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights & Empowerment (AFIRE)
Midwest Filipino American Summit at Marquette University
The Field Museum of Chicago
Filipino Americans Coming Together at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign
UniPro Summit, Seattle
UniPro Summit, New York City
East Coast Asian American Students Union conference at Harvard University
Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialog at the University of Maryland
The Culinary Historians of Chicago
why this title, “Ocean, constellation, seed”?
Ocean, Constellation, Seed encompasses my feeling around the Filipinx diaspora experience and stories. Oceans simultaneously separate us and connect us. With Constellations, we passed down ancestral knowledge to navigate these oceans. Seed is the hope, the continuation, the evolution, the Us.
late 20th c.: Des Plaines, Illinois; Naguilian and Camiling, Philippines. Corazon and Saturnino; Felicidad and Emilio; Maxima and Aniceto.