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hapa237My name is Anthony and I am half Filipino (Mother) and half Caucasian (Father).

I was born in the Philippines, grew up in the United States, and I am now back in the Philippines.

When I was a little kid, I thought of my racial background to be an asset. I always thought it was cool to tell people that I was born in a different country. It wasn’t until middle school that my racial background started to bother me.

Asians didn’t really consider me to be Asian, and Non-Asians considered me to be just Asian. Some people would tease me by squinting or pulling their eyes to make them “chinky,” tell me “Ching chong, ching chong,” and say stuff like “Go back to Asia.”

As I look back, I find it very ridiculous and wished that I didn’t let them get to me.
Abroad, I have been mistaken as Chinese, Mexican, Mongolian, Turkish, etc. Here in the Philippines, people just assume that I am pure Caucasian. Most people I meet have the impression that I am a “foreigner” and just speak English so they are usually hesitant to make the first move to interact. They get surprised whenever I speak to them in Tagalog.

When people ask me what I am, I just tell them that I am half Filipino, half American. I don’t dwell into the fact that I am a mix of at least ten different races and ethnicities for that information is irrelevant as my Filipino and American cultures are the most dominant and relevant in my life.

In my observations, the situation of the Hapas in the United States is opposite to that of the Hapas in the Philippines. Being racially mixed in the USA still seems unheard of to a lot of Americans. Hapas there are usually underrepresented as they form a smaller group of the already invisible minority. Here in the Philippines, Hapas are overrepresented, especially in showbiz. Most of the celebrities and public figures here are half this, half that, or look like they are part something else different from Filipino.

Now, I am proud to say that I am Hapa because it makes me what I am. Nothing more, nothing less and I don’t need to justify it in any other way.

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