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Heyyy! My name is Erika Kelsey. My mom is full-Filipina (particularly Ilokana) and my dad is Filipino/Irish. Both of my parents were born in the Philippines and met here in US. Then I was born in Castro Valley, California. I’m Filipina/Irish. “Pinayrish”is the term I like to say.

I grew up in a predominantly Caucasian town–Livermore, California. I went to a private catholic school like most Filipino kids do, but my experience was a little different since I was always reminded by kids around me that I was “different.” I pretty much grew up being called numerous racial slurs that started from the age of 5. Obviously, I was hurt by these words when I was young, but I’ve done a lot of growing up since then.

I never hated my Filipino heritage, in fact, because of all the adversity I faced, I grew to have a better understanding and love for my Filipino roots. I was fortunate enough to learn a great amount of Filipino culture from my grandmother who lived with me as well as from my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins,…you name it. I can even speak, read, and write Tagalog (a language) and Ilocano(a dialect). Now I go to college in a city that is full of Filipinos–San Diego, California and I’ve been given the opportunity to learn even more about my culture by being a part of a cultural organization called Andres Bonifacio Samahan. Funny thing, is that even though i’m “mixed,” “hapa,” “mestiza,” or whatever you’d like to call me, I was fortunate enough to become the organization’s Cultural Affairs Coordinator.

When it comes down to it, I may not know much about my Irish roots, but I’d love to eventually understand and love it as much as I do my Filipino heritage. I love multiculturalism, it’s absolutely beautiful, and I am most definitely proud to be a hapa and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Mahal na mahal ang aking magandang buhay. <3

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