At the beginning, I didn’t quite embrace the Filipino culture.: Becoming Minnesotan

Patrick Faunillan, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2008. Minnesota Historical Society.
  • Name - Patrick Faunillan
  • Age at interview - 19
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 12.22.2010
  • Patrick Faunillan speaking at Main Street School of Performing Arts graduation.


    Essential Question

    Becoming Americans: What does it mean to be an American?

    Assimilation: Does a person have to give up part of his/her culture to become more American?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    Many Filipino immigrants struggle with their “dual identity”. It can be difficult for young Filipino-Americans to grow up in a place that their parents don’t fully understand. This younger generation can feel more “American” than “Filipino”. They grow up surrounded by friends and classmates who are not Filipino, and become influenced by these different cultures. Some see it as a positive that they are able to have two cultures! They can continue the cultural practices of their parents, but also operate like any other American in this society. However, these second generation children often clash with their parents when they decide to forego certain Filipino traditions.

    To learn more about Filipino history and culture, visit our Filipino Community page.

    • Chapter 1

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    Narrator: Patrick Faunillan (PF)

    Interviewer: Lita Malicsi (LM)

    LM: You wrote an essay that won first place. And the essay was entitled, “Reflections on Growing Up as a Filipino-American in the United States.” And in that essay you talked about your attitude towards the Filipino culture. Would you elaborate?

    PF: Yeah. I basically . . . I said in the essay, I put in experiences from the start of going to America towards the present now. And basically, at the beginning, I didn’t quite embrace the Filipino culture. It was . . . I didn’t really want to be a part of it, didn’t want to be . . . yeah. It was just, I would go to school with all these Americans, with like Caucasians, white people, and then I would go back home and then I would eat rice and adobo and sinigang. And at first that wasn’t different or weird to me at all. And then one time in middle school, or like in middle school when my friends would come over, they would question what this food was. And I just never questioned it ever and just thought that was normal. And then they were surprised I ate rice all the time with a fork and spoon. And it was just these little things that started to . . . made me question why. Like why are we doing this? I mean, we’re in America, so we should just embrace that culture and just forget about the Filipino culture. That was my thought back in middle school and before. And yeah, the essay elaborates more on my experiences on that.

    But basically, eventually, when my parents kept being involved in the Filipino community and they dragged me along, and I started being involved with FMYO [Filipino-Minnesotan Youth Organization], I liked it and it opened my mind and gave me more perspectives. And it showed me that, hey, you can still live . . . you might have moved to a different place, but your culture, your parents' culture, you should respect that, and you should continue it on. And that doesn’t mean you forget about the culture you currently live in, like America, for example. But it definitely doesn’t mean that you should just throw away the Filipino culture, your roots, you know. So find a compromise.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun: A Philippine dish in which pork or chicken is slowly cooked in a sauce including soy sauce, vinegar, and crushed garlic.


    Adjective:  Of European descent, white.


    Noun:  The arts, customs, and habits that characterize a particular society or nation.


    Verb: To give further detail or explanation. (elaborates, elaborating, elaborated)


    Verb:  To accept fully.  (embraces, embracing, embraced)


    Noun:  Point of view.


    Noun: A Philippine soup or stew characterized by its sour flavor most often associated with tamarind.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 2140