Latest Stories

Symposium tackles challenges of growing up Fil-Am


Panelists at “Defining Filipino Identity” in Carson City, California symposium. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Hiyasmin Quijano

CARSON, California—Filipino American elders and youth explored the challenges of Filipino American youth during a symposium on “Defining the Filipino Identity” held August 24 at the 7th Annual Philippine Heritage Institute International Congress in the Carson Community Center.

The conference highlighted the important role and involvement of youth, civic engagement, politics, the significance of the city’s Rizal monument and growing up Fil-Am.

The Jose P. Rizal’s Monument Movement (JPRMM) along with the Philippine Consulate General Los Angeles, the City of Carson and the Knights of Rizal organized the event.

Among the concerns tackled by panelists were issues such as drugs, gangs, teenage pregnancy and lack of mentorship.

Fil-Am youth speakers pointed out that one barrier they faced while growing up was the lack of guidance from parents and mentors to direct them to leadership roles and routes for higher education.

A panelist admitted turning to gangs to get help, fit in and get attention while the parent was working a lot.

Solutions discussed were positive self-image, self-empowerment and visible relationship structures like peer-to-peer friendships or mentorships.

“Be involved in community work,” said Paz Villanueva, mother, grandmother and leader of the Bayani Campaign, a coalition that aims to improve the community, youth solidarity, the family and school.

“And be true to who you are as a Fil-Am. Excellence comes from hard work,” said Clarence Monteclaro.

Speakers shared information on assimilation while the audience responded by sharing their own experiences.

The US has the largest Filipino overseas population. A 2008 national survey of Filipino Americans from K-12 grade by National Federation of Filipino American Associations Washington, DC, showed that there were slightly over half-a-million school-age (five to 19 years old) Filipino students. Not all are in the public school system. Many are enrolled in private schools.

“The more I learned about our Filipino history and culture, the more I realized that my purpose in life is to help uplift the future generations who will come after us,” said Eric Tandoc.

“And we don’t need letters or titles after our names to be able to make important contributions to our community,” added Tandoc.

The conference included flag and national anthem etiquette by Gil Mislang. Mayor Jim Dear of Carson was observed paying close attention to the presentation.

“I was listening closely to the etiquette and I would like to add that I grew up in a generation that was against war,” Dear explained.

“The people are our boss and not the military. The military is supposed to prevent war,” added Dear.

The conference encouraged Fil-Am youth to vote, know their local politicians and consider working in and running for public office.

Of an estimated 95,000 residents of the City of Carson, 20 percent are Filipino Americans.

Panelists acknowledged what can be improved for next year’s youth symposium to better connect with the youth.

“The youth, ages 18 and under, have priorities that reflect their lifestyle and daily habits,” said Clarence Monteclaro. “Attending conferences or community engagement projects are rarely at the top of the list.”

“To understand this problem, we must realize what interests and priorities are held highest amongst our youth and include such priorities,” added Monteclaro.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: adolescence , Americans , City of Carson , Community , education , Fil-Ams , Filipino American youth , growing up , Heritage , identity , Jose P. Rizal's Monument Movement , Jose Rizal , JPRMM , Knights of Rizal , Los Angeles , Philippine Consulate General , Youth

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Pope Francis, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter
  • 4 French journalists freed from Syria captors home
  • Thousands celebrate Easter in Holy Land
  • Transcript reveals confusion over ferry evacuation
  • Pimentel wants Balikatan-type drills for PNP
  • Sports

  • Red-hot Alaska rips injury-depleted San Mig Coffee
  • Pacquiao courtesy call to Aquino set for Monday
  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Warriors beat Clippers in playoff opener
  • Lifestyle

  • Angono petroglyphs in danger of disappearing
  • Britain’s baby Prince George visits Australian zoo
  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW from Maguindanao died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Marketplace