A Toast to our Heritage!

Happy Filipino-American History Month (FAHM)!  FAHM was first recognized statewide in California, 2006.   A few years later, Congress passed a resolution in November (2009) to recognize October as FAHM nationwide.   Every year, Filipino communities from coast to coast celebrate its heritage.  I’ve seen major streets of San Francisco and New York close down for the thousands in attendance for the annual FAHM parades, events, and festivities.

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But about 65 years ago, Filipinos in America were speaking of a different tone:

“I know deep down in my heart that I am an exile in America…I feel like a criminal running away from a crime I did not commit.  And this crime is that I am a Filipino in America.”  –Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart (1946)

I still get goosebumps when I read Bulosan’s quote.  I think of my late Lolo (grandfater), Cesario Julaton, who left the province of Pozorrubio, Pangasinan, Philippines at the age of 16 in hopes for an opportunity.  He sailed in a crowded boat to Guam, cut and hustled through a long line of immigrants who were looking to  enlist in the U.S. Army, and created a list of enemies along the way.

He was called “Brown Monkey” because Americans didn’t know what a Filipino was.  For years, he was chased down from haters for a  beating and had countless death threats.  Grandpa was so traumatized, he forced his kids to have perfect English and refused to teach them any of the four Filipino dialects he knew.

If that was the case, why live in America?

Grandpa Army Grandma  225x300 A Toast to our Heritage!
Grandpa & Grandma

Grandpa would talk about how lucky us grandkids are:  to have running water, education, freedom–the list went on and on.   He encouraged us to take the opportunities we have here in America and to this day,  although Grandpa’s not around anymore, we know.

Filipinos in the U.S. have come a long way since then but if I was born around Grandpa’s time, trying to pursue my life as a female fighter—forget about it!!!  Today we stand on the shoulders of our elders and strive to continue that tradition for our future generations.

Thank you to all the Filipino communities who continue to fight and uplift our culture.  Here’s a toast to our heritage!   Maraming maraming salamat po!!!

 

Still Learning

“Don’t fear failure.  –Not failure, but low aim, is the crime.  In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail.”  -Bruce Lee

Fell short on this last one, but I’m still learning.  Already thinking about the next camp and getting ready for more exciting things to come.  Just taking a breather, making an effort to spend more time reflecting on current events:  boxing to mma, getting an award from the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame, the media push, fighting as a woman in Dubai in the biggest MMA event that happened there thus far, the ONE FC scoring system and how MMA is judged overall, how thankful I am to be injury-free, and how I can continue to do what I love doing.

THANK YOU EVERYONE for all your support and for all the positive energy!!!  I strive to put on exciting performances and want everyone to enjoy the fight sports as much as I do–I put my heart out there.  There’s so much to learn about MMA and I’m barely scratching the surface on my potential.

Three things that stand out in my mind from my trip in Dubai:

1.  How there are so many Filipino people out there.  Sorry Daly City, Dubai has you beat.  It’s literally “Little Manila” out there.  **Big shout out to all my kababayans out there, thank you for all the love!!**  I was mesmerized with the beauty of Dubai and to see a fellow Filipino everywhere I went made Dubai feel like home away from home.

2. Getting in an arm bar attempt and fighting my way out of that–with my feet!  I’ve never done anything like that–EVER–in my life but at that moment, it just made sense:  controlling my opponent’s hand with one foot while the other foot is striking away at my opponent’s face.  Coach would always say FIGHTING IS FIGHTING.  Yessir!  Definitely one of my “living in the moment” experiences.

monkey ground and pound Still Learning

And lastly, 3.  Someone asking me during an interview what I thought about women fighting, as if that was a new phenomenon.  I was like WHAAAT????   “Women empowerment” filled my bloodstream (I was feeling it) and I wanted to be like LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING and give a piece of my mind…haha, LOL.  I’ve been fighting for years and women participated in fight sports for a long, long time.  Knowing this, I naturally felt upset.

In all honesty though, this person was extremely polite and was genuinely interested (FYI, this was the only person I experienced this with).  It wasn’t him that I was frustrated with, but rather the situation.  In this big, big world, women still have to find ways to “fit in”.  So having the opportunity to fight in the Middle East goes a long way for me.  Got one down on my bucket list.

So despite the split decision, this experience has been truly amazing.  It’s only the beginning and I’ll be better next time.  At the end of the day, I hope people enjoyed my craft of the sweet science and the “Monkey Ground and Pound”.

Thanks for reading this, and PLEASE, PLEASE leave a comment.  Tell me what you thought of the fight, what you would love to see in the future, tell me what’s up.  I enjoy hearing from you all!

Here’s a highlight video of the fight from Brazil.  I love fighting for ONE FC, my fight gets shown to over a billion people all over the world.  Enjoy.   http://youtu.be/qi2FqxEYOT4

“The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.”  –Bruce Lee

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