I also remember our yaya.: 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 with his father and brother, Kainta, Rizal, Philippines, 1991.
    Patrick Faunillan at two months old with his mother, Quezon City, Philippines.

    Class & Work

    Essential Question

    Life in the Old Country: What makes a country a person’s homeland?

    Class & Work: How important is work in defining a person’s identity?

    Words to look for

    extended family

    Background Information

    Life in the Philippines tends to be centered around the family and the church. The family may be an extended one, with close relationships with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Traditionally the family has been patriarchal, with the father in charge, and the children expected to have great respect for their elders. Servants are much more common in homes in the Philippines than in the United States. Many families hire individuals to help with the cooking, cleaning, gardening, or childcare, and these people often become like members of the family.

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

    • Chapter 1

    Download Patrick Faunillan 1
    1:48 Minutes | 1.74Mb


    Narrator: Patrick Faunillan (PF)

    Interviewer: Lita Malicsi (LM)

    LM: You lived in the Philippines the first four years of your life.

    PF: Uh-huh.

    LM: Do you have memories of those years when you were in the old country? What one or two stories do you remember most clearly about your first four years in the Philippines?

    PF: I remember living with my relatives, and how close it was for… We were living with our other extended family, like my dad’s grandma was just across the street. And there were, I remember, dogs. A lot of dogs everywhere. Stray dogs and our dogs, as well. And then I also remember our yaya, Ate Lani. I was really close to her, I remember that.

    LM: You mentioned the word ‘yaya’. Can you explain that term? What is a yaya?

    PF: A yaya in the Philippines, I believe, is a housemaid? But it’s different, because she’s more of a family friend as well, and she lives in the house as well, and her job is just to help out the family. But she’s not like a maid, where you don’t really get to know them, but she’s part of the family basically.

    LM: And taking care of the children.

    PF: Yep, yep, so she helped bring us, my siblings and I, grow up while my parents were at work, and then my parents would come back, and they’d be there. I remember she would cook really good spaghetti. I think that’s why I love spaghetti. That’s one of my favorite foods.

    Related Glossary Terms

    extended family

    Noun:  A family consisting of parents and children, along with either grandparents, grandchildren, aunts or uncles, etc.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access]. http://www.mnhs.org/immigration
    nid: 2120