"The 'Token Non-Filipino' " by Alan Lee

What are qualities or experiences that you associate with Filipinos?

As someone who is Taiwanese American, thus non-Filipino, I believe that I am tackling this question from more of a different perspective.

From an outsider's perspective. During my short time so far as the "token non-Filipino" among my friends and organization, I've become fully immersed in Filipino American culture and have even begun to explore native Filipino culture. This past academic school year, I decided to enroll in Elementary Filipino as a member of the first wave of students to experience this course at Rutgers University. I learned a good deal about the language, values, and history of the Philippines, which further bolstered my personal experiences as an executive board member of the Rutgers Association of Philippine Students (RAPS).

Through this unique amalgamation of experiences, I've developed what I consider to be an encompassing experience with Filipinos. While exploring all the karaoke and food filled parties, prideful parades and marches, and colorful clothing, what stands out the most about Filipinos is their pride in their own culture. Although Asian Americans have traditionally been known to be shy and soft-spoken about their own culture, Filipinos proudly display their flags and their brightly colored t-shirts. All of the experiences that an outsider can pick up on, whether it's the amazing food, the close family bonds, or their connection with their spirituality, all ties back to the heart.

Filipinos are proud to be Filipinos.