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I was adopted when I was less than a year old. My family here in the US ALWAYS treated me as part of their own. In 2020 I even visited my grandma Jean’s homestead back in the early 20th century. I ❤️ my family. But throughout my school-age years, I always felt there was a missing link. The reality hit me the most during my college years when I visited my University friend’s house for the holidays and weekends. I remember looking at and admiring my friend’s family portrait. How the similarities were so striking, all blondes and the same noses! I then remember my family portrait. I was the odd one out.
So in 2010, I made it a quest to find my biological family in the provinces of the Philippines. Luckily enough I searched on social media and I found my mother, father, brothers (4), sisters (2), cousins, aunties, and my uncles. In 2011, I took a year-long journey to Cebu to discover my Cultural Roots and Heritage. I lived and work as a Microsoft Call Center Agent at IT Park in Cebu City. I also volunteered as a Jeepney conductor, School Counselor, and a Tahoe and Tubig Salesman. The relationships that I created there, I still cherish today. I am blessed to know what my life would possibly be like if I wasn’t adopted and lived in the streets or orphanages in the Philippines. I came back home to Indiana with a better understanding of self-awareness. The puzzle wasn’t missing a piece anymore. I came back yearning to learn about my heritage from other Fil-Ams here. Hoping to create new Filipino American friends here.
Throughout my cultural journey, I created a non-profit organization that sends educational material to Southeast Asian countries called Southeast Asia Mission Outreach, Inc that’s including the Philippines that has sent more than 75,000 stories in one year. Fast forward to 2021. I hit the pinnacle of my life journey. I got together with some friends and decided to open up the Philippines Cultural Community Center, the first of it’s kind in Indiana. It’s to be inclusive to help others along their journey of self-discovery and to teach and educate others about the Philippines. Because the history in the Philippines is not just Filipino, it’s also part of American History, part of Chinese History, part of Japanese History, and part of European History. It’s a unique blend of Euro-Asian and American. It has great food and some of the most cheerful and hospitable people in the world.
I hope the Center that I Co-founded can educate, inspire and promote the Culture and Heritage of the Philippines Islands. Bring people together in unison to celebrate the Philippines’ festivals and food. But most importantly give answers to others along their path of self-exploration and self-discovery.
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