Too white to be Filipino, and too Filipino to be white

Ryan Songalia, a Filipino-American with mixed-roots, moved from New Jersey to Bonifacio Global City where he faces questions about his cultural identify.

“Still, it underlines my quagmire: I’m too white to be Filipino, and too Filipino to be white.

So, if I’m “not a Filipino,” then what is a Filipino? Is it only someone who is a native born to the Philippines?

…The issue of cultural identity was one that I often examined as a child growing up with family members who were of European, Chinese and African-American descent. My father, who was born in Leyte but hadn’t been back until I was already grown up, never spoke much about the Philippines, except when discussing Rolando Navarette, Andy Ganigan and other Filipino boxers he appreciated in his younger years. My mother is fond of saying that I’m not one thing, but a mixture of the many influences I was surrounded by in my melting pot of a family and community.”

Read more: ‘Not a real Filipino’, By Ryan Songalia, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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