14 12 2009

There are many mythical creatures in Filipino folkflore but the one that is most commonly told are about Aswangs. The aswangs are evil vampire-like creatures that is told in many stories from the different places such as cities and provinces of the Philippines. When I was about 13 years old I went to the Phillippines to visit by relatives. When I was there my uncle told me when my aunt pregnant one night the neighbors saw something in the roof of their house. My uncle heard a strange sound on the roof and woke up my aunt. He went outside and asked the neighbor who was on the roof or throwing rocks they said they saw something like an aswang. Ever since that night my aunt would sleep with a bible and a rosary next to her.

There are many different stories about the aswang. Aswangs are like a combination of a witch and a vampire and always portrayed as a woman. They are also known as  witches, manananggals, shapeshifters, lycanthropes and monsters. The aswang stories differ from regions and the people who tell them. One description that is highly told of an aswang is that they can slip their bodies in half from the torso. The bottom half stays on ground while the upper half with wings flys to look for food.  Aswangs favor pregnant women because they feast on the unborn child. The aswang goes on roof of their victims/mothers house and sticks out its long thin tongue, which penetrates through the mother’s belly button sucking out the child and organs. Another story of an aswang is that they are beautiful when they are in human form. They find their victims especially men and take them to an abandoned area where they kill the man and eat his organs. Aswangs are mythological creatures that have been told since pre-colonial times.


Lumpia Shanghai

14 12 2009

More than 300 years ago Filipinos have been gathering food or anything that nature had to offer them. Trade or importing from other countries such as spices and food plants from Malaysians, Indonesians, Arabians, Indians, and Chinese helped the Filipinos create many different types of dishes instead always using the ingredient. Filipino food is a mixture of Eastern and Western Culture. Chinese influenced Filipino food such as noodles, which Filipinos use to make different types of pancit. Also, Chinese influence famous Filipino dishes as lumpia, kikiam, siopao, and siomai. Spanish influences on Filipino food such as rice-meat dishes and desserts, which Filipinos use to make puchero, tortas, and brazo de mercedes. American also had an influence on Filipino dishes such as burger, salads, and pie. With American/ Italian spaghetti Filipinos created their own Filipino spaghetti, which is sweet.

i is a Philippine appetizer/entrée and it is a Chinese influence. Lumpia was brought by the Chinese immigrants from the Fujian province of China to Southeast Asia and became popular where they settled in the Philippines and Indonesia. Since I was little my mom would always make lumpia for our family parties. I would watch my mom make it and I would ask her if I could help but she told me when I’m older. One day when my mom left the kitchen I placed the meat onto the wrapped and rolled it. My mom came into the kitchen and saw me making it she was impressed. She asked me if I wanted to help her.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 pound ground pork

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup minced carrots

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup thinly sliced green cabbage

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon soy sauce

30 lumpia wrappers

2 cups vegetable oil for frying


Place a wok or large skillet over high heat, and pour in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Cook pork, stirring frequently, until no pink is showing. Remove pork from pan and set aside. Drain grease from pan, leaving a thin coating. Cook garlic and onion in the same pan for 2 minutes. Stir in the cooked pork, carrots, green onions, and cabbage. Season with pepper, salt, garlic powder, and soy sauce. Remove from heat, and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Place three heaping tablespoons of the filling diagonally near one corner of each wrapper, leaving a 1 1/2 inch space at both ends. Fold the side along the length of the filling over the filling, tuck in both ends, and roll neatly. Keep the roll tight as you assemble. Moisten the other side of the wrapper with water to seal the edge. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap to retain moisture.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat, add oil to 1/2 inch depth, and heat for 5 minutes. Slide 3 or 4 lumpia into the oil. Fry the rolls for 1 to 2 minutes, until all sides are golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

Final Thoughts

12 12 2009

The semester is finally over. I have been looking forward to this for quite some time. There was a lot that we have learned in class. To begin, we observed the history of the Philippines and the United States, then how they combine and affect the current state of Filipino Americans. This includes the topics of oppression, seclusion, identity, and diaspora.

My blogs have thus far touched upon these topics. Along with this negativity we have observed, I have observed a more positive sense of the Filipino American culture. My first blog shows the ways that various USF organizations have worked together to help the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy. In our community service projects, we raised awareness of the emergency and funds to donate to groups aiding those affected by the typhoon.

I also learned of different systems of oppression that Filipino Americans have faced and how it changes the way they are viewed, both internally and externally. Filipino Americans must be educated to better understand their roots and how they can progress in society while still maintaining their culture and identity. I have heard of some of the topics covered in class before, but it was never discussed so deeply and applied to my life. I now have a greater appreciation for my family and have learned that I can act to make positive change with the knowledge which I have gained and will continue to seek throughout my life. Change cannot be done solely by me, nor solely by you. We must act together with power in numbers, knowledge, and care to improve the lives of our children as our ancestors have done for us.


Dancing: Itik-Itik

12 12 2009

Dancing is very important to the Filipino community it enriches the uniqueness of the Filipino culture. Dancing has been part of the Philippines since the pre-colonial times. Natives used dancing to tell stories, celebrate life, and call upon mother nature. The movement of bodies and the tapping of feet accompanied by the rhythm of music have become a way of life for them. Whether it is the cha-cha-cha, disco, modern, folk or classical ballet, the Filipinos simply loved to dance. The traditional dance of the Philippines is derived from a unique mix of Spanish, Malay and Muslim influences.

Philippine dances were used to represent Filipinos cultural roots and way of life. Most of the dances were after the European dances during the Spanish times. Movement of bodies and feet with the Itik-itik is one of the many cultural dances of the Philippines. It is popular among the Visayan settlers of the province of Surigoa del Norte. The steps to itik-itik is somewhat like the movements of a duck, walks short choppy steps and splashes water on its back. This dance started when a young woman names Kanang, singer and dancer, was asked to dance the Sibay at a baptismal reception. She began improvising steps imitating a duck. This is one of the cultural dances of the Philippines.

Final Thoughts on the Class

11 12 2009

As I mentioned in an earlier post, when I entered this class I knew nearly nothing about the Philippines or their culture. Week by week, I looked forward to learning something new about this culture, and in turn relating the ever-present themes of oppression and brain drain and stereotypes to my own culture. I was glad that our community service was done as a class bake sale; working together in small groups to come together in hopes of raising money for a tragedy in the Philippines greatly enhanced the sense of unity within our class. The final project and potluck was also quite enjoyable. Although there were not a large number of people from outside of the class, the event was a lot of fun. I liked that it was not in a class environment, even though we were presenting our final projects. This, to me, did not allow for any pre-presentation nerves, which I believe led to better presentations. I have already recommended this class to a number of my friends that are looking for a service learning class, and I hope that once they take this class they will come away from it with as much as I have.

Marisah Garcia

Final Blog

11 12 2009

Finally, this is the final blog for this class. This class has been fun for me because before, I did not know anything about the Philippines and Filipino culture except that I have a friend who is Filipino. However, I now learn the history of the Philippines; I investigate the relationship between ASEAN countries and the Philippines. I also try to find Filipino food that I enjoy. I actually like Pancit Palabok a lot. I also learned the immigration history of the Philippines to the United States and how it affects the people in the Philippines itself.

The Filipino people are very responsible to their homeland. The concept of going to work in the U.S. and sending money back to the Philippines, or go back to the Philippines to retire there is very interesting.

I also enjoy doing the bake sale to help relieving the victims of the Hurricane Ondoy. It was very fun selling those foods and knowing that we are doing good things. I hope this class would be offered every semester so anyone who is interested can join and learn more about the Filipino culture.

Thanks Irene and Claudine

Paween Itthipalkul

Utang Na Loob

11 12 2009

Our group has got a topic for our presentation as a phrase “Utang na loob,” which means the to give back the to the ones who did favor for us. Utang na loob can be anything from money, material stuff, or even do a favor back to them. What I learned from the class, I know that the old people usually say to their children to have utang na loob, to pay back the debt to their parents. I think the concept is very similar to the concept of Filial Piety in Confucianism and Buddhism. However, the utang na loob concept extends to people who are not the parents, but everybody else that did you a favor.

The concept of Filial Piety means that as a child, you have to repay your parents by look after them when they are old, or even having them live in the same house as you do. Also, you cannot say any bad things to your parents because even if they did wrong things to you, they gave you this body; they gave you this life. You owe them the hugest thing in your life, which is your life itself. When talking about Filial Piety, people don’t usually think about giving money to the parents, even though those are the obvious and easiest things to do. People usually think about taking care of them when they are old more. But when we talk about utang na loob, it usually means giving them the material things. However, our group interviewed several Filipino-Americans and found out that they understand that the utang na loob can be anything, not only money.

Both of the concept must be done by heart because if you don’t feel like you have to repay someone, but you are forced to, you will not do it well. Especially when you have to take care someone for the rest of your life, you repay them the great gratitude. I think utang na loob should be taken seriously by the new generations of the Filipinos, or even other race/ethnicity because it is a good concept that teaches us to repay people who had done favor for us.

Paween Itthipalkul