This quote bears a deep meaning with the tree symbolizing a person’s life and its roots symbolizing culture. Culture is the broad acceptance of practices, thoughts, and ideas. Culture molds our being as individuals with interests, characters and aspirations.
In today’s world, it is increasingly fashionable to be in tune with one’s culture. It is now considered trendy and unique to practice ethnic traditions and customs when only mere decades ago, breaking free from ethnic stereotypes was all the rage. People wanted freedom, independence and a unique edge about them instead of always being overshadowed by their cultural backgrounds. By ignoring ties to a motherland, an individual separated himself from assumptions based on racial traditions, looks and ideas.
But today, many Filipino Americans, especially the younger generation of Fil-Ams born and raised in the United States, are turning away from uniformity and embracing pride in their culture of origin, reconnecting with their Filipino roots. For them, the knowledge and practice of their culture depend on how they were raised.
Some parents hold great value in instilling Filipino culture in their offspring, while others let Filipino values slowly slip away, whether or not they are aware of it. Some Fil-Ams are more connected to their Filipino roots than others, but an interest in learning and identifying with a culture is becoming very popular.
Reconnecting culturally can be simpler than expected. It can be a trip down memory lane by taking time to visit Lolo or Lola and learning about their life in the Philippines. Listening to their childhood stories can result in a newfound wealth of knowledge and appreciation for one’s culture.
Visiting relatives and learning about Filipino customs would not be complete without immersing oneself in the delights of traditional Filipino cuisine. A large part of culture are the rich, savory and sweet recipes passed down generation to generation and perfected to the last pinch of salt.
Today, many Fil-Ams visit restaurant chains straight from the Philippines that have popped up all around the world to reconnect with the taste of time-treasured Filipino dishes.
Additionally, Filipinos stay connected culturally by simply participating in Filipino events. It seems that every weekend, myriad events take place in Filipino communities all over the world. These include concerts by both Fil-Am artists and performers visiting from the Philippines, speeches from trailblazing individuals, fundraisers to support each other especially in times of natural disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan, and much more. All these gatherings are rich in culture.
Coming together as a united force is a way to show support and Filipino pride. When Filipinos come together to support a fellow Pinoy singing contestant or political candidate, spend hours calling voters, campaigning online, or getting together to watch a boxing match, it is an empowering act. It is believing that encouraging the success of one will bring honor to the country as a whole. After all, nothing brings people together more than a good time rooting for one of their own.
Actually visiting the Philippines is the ultimate way to reconnect with one’s roots. A two-week stay might seem long, but it really isn’t. The destination options are endless, with over 7,000 islands to choose from, and every single one experience will help rekindle one’s Filipino pride and tighten bonds with one’s culture. From the sandy beaches, beautiful churches and massive shopping malls, finding one’s place in the Philippines can be easier than it seems.
But reconnecting culturally does not always have to be by visiting a person or place, eating food, or watching some type of new entertainment. Filipinos are known for their humble outlook, welcoming-nature and abundant generosity. By embracing some positive Filipino traits and values, one can be closer to one’s ethnic roots than he or she could have ever imagined. By finding joy in simple pleasures, having strong family ties and, of course, treating others with a generous amount of hospitality, one can forge really strong links with one’s heritage.
Alexandra Drechsler from the San Francisco Bay Area is a teenage blogger, model, social media manager at the Tuscan Wedding website and a South Bay correspondent for Inquirer.net.