As we consider the building blocks of our Filipino-American history, four cornerstones stand out.
Hard work is taught by example in most families, where all adults are engaged in employment until retirement, and young people begin to share in bringing home earnings as soon as they can. Being known as “hard working” is the hallmark of the Filipino.
Higher education is a goal of parents for all their children, who are fortunate to varying degrees in achieving success in school, especially motivated to make their parents proud and happy. Filipino students are regularly top scholar/athletes, whose community service benefits a wide array of organizations, sports teams, and crisis resolution in emergencies. Career plans are a focus early in the child’s life, with many parents aspiring to better employment for their youngsters than their own. Every kind of further schooling beyond high school is encouraged, whether at a college, classes in the military, or on-the-job training.
Humble upbringing is a common experience for many Filipinos who emigrated from their hometowns, in search of the means to a better life. Their shared foundation of key values makes it possible for most to reach above and beyond their humble beginnings, supported by their families, friends and each other to reach their dreams, often achieving far more than they thought possible. The positive result of humble upbringing is humility, a quality that is profoundly beneficial in social networking.
Songs and dances of the Philippines are taught from childhood and serve as the cultural glue that holds the many different Filipinos together. When the familiar music is heard, at any age, memories of learning the lyrics and dance movements are triggered instantly. Perhaps the most appreciation is expressed when those who know the music and dance are uplifted every time they watch performers of all ages on the stage, and find themselves singing along and/or moving their feet to the rhythms. Keeping these cultural gems polished for continuing the traditions, gives life and meaning to each generation and the promise of lasting connection to our roots.
Let us participate in the Maui Fil-Am Heritage Festival, the premier event in the State of Hawai‘i celebrating the month of October as Filipino-American History Month in the State of Hawai‘i.