The mission of Alon is to provide an on-line forum for publishing original and refereed essays, artwork, reviews, and moderated reflections that productively and critically engage with Filipinx American and Filipinx Diasporic Studies. Through Alon, we aim to generate and showcase works that positively engage with and critically analyze key questions in the production of knowledges regarding Filipinx Americans and Filipinx diasporic subjects: how are Filipinx bodies represented across multiple forms of media and in what ways do Filipinx people cultivate and create identities and subjectivities to counter these representations? What are the experiences of Filipinx migrants and what about these experiences shed light on the nature of global racial capitalism? How do they imagine and organize toward non-extractive, sustainable futures? How do Filipinx people construct an alternative global archipelago of being and belonging? How are these fields’ particular theoretical and methodological approaches rooted in scholarly production and activism? How are these projects linked with attempts to trace interracial solidarites, as fraught as they may be, to disrupt racial capitalism’s impulse to both homogenize and propagate “multicultural” difference? These and other related questions drive the work behind and in front of Alon.
Alon seeks submissions from those who are engaged in fields that include, but not limited to: Filipinx Studies, Philippine Studies, Filipinx American Studies, Asian American Studies, Asian Studies, Ethnic Studies, Diaspora/Transnationalism Studies, Gender Studies, Sexuality Studies, Cultural Studies, Literature, and the Visual and Performing Arts.
Volume 2, Issue 3, 2022
Oceanic Filipinx Studies
Hxstoriography of Filpina/x in Hawaiʻi: Our Movements, Archives, and Memories
“Filipina/x in Hawaiʻi: Our Movements, Archives, and Memories” is an exhibit and digital archive that tells multiple stories of Filipina/x diaspora on Oʻahu departing from settler colonial expectations by exploring alignment with Hawaiian demilitarization movements. This paper offers an interpretation of archival documents, created by Urban Babaylan (UB), Women’s Voices Women Speak (WVWS), and Decolonial Pin@y (DP), providing examples of community research that critically confront multiple layers of settler colonialism in the Philippines and Hawaiʻi, to build Filipina/x capacities to understand their relations to Kānaka Maoli history, and to engage more people in ongoing, regional demilitarization and decolonization movements.
Soundwaves of Co-Resistance in Hawaiʻi: Ilokanos Reclaiming our Timek Towards Collective Liberation
Growing up in the Philippines, stories about Hawaiʻi depicted it as paradise. Balikbayans, returnees, brought pictures and boxes filled with macadamia nut chocolates, Spam, Vienna sausage, and t-shirts. These material goods, images, and stories shaped my imagination of Hawaiʻi. When my father left in 1993 to go to Hawaiʻi, he strengthened and confirmed this fantasy through the postcards he sent of coconut trees, picturesque beaches, Diamond Head, and the Arizona Memorial. In his letters, he described the temperate climate, air, greenery, and the diversity of people and cultures. But, when my mother and I followed him a year later, my fantasy image of Hawaiʻi as paradise began to rupture. Instead of paradise, we found it almost unlivable. Despite my parents’ work experience in the Philippines, employers would not hire them as professionals except as food service and maintenance/custodial workers. We rented a one-bedroom in a downstairs unit of an old house in Pauoa. It was partially underground and infested with rats, cockroaches, termites, and centipedes. The windows were ground level to the walkway outside. All we could see was the sight of people’s feet as they walked by. It was always dark because a tall cement wall blocked sunlight from entering one side. School was no better. As a newly arrived immigrant girl, I was bullied in school and made fun of for my “Filipino accent” and called “bukbok,” a grain bug/pest. This caused me to retreat into myself in order to survive a world that did not accept me. I stopped speaking Ilokano. I stopped speaking in school. I suppressed things that conspicuously marked me as Filipino. The hiding and the shame followed me into adulthood like a ghost, haunting my present.
It was a hot afternoon in November 2020; I biked from Pālolo Valley to the first floor of a strip mall across from Ala Moana Shopping Center. Manong Dean, students from the Timpuyog Organization, and two older aunties were already there waiting nervously in the small vestibule before a large painting of a lūʻau. This was Studio Ala Moana, a recording studio that had captured the voices and immense musical talents of so many Hawaiian musicians. We were all intimidated and no one dared be the first to approach the microphone. When it was my turn to record,
I stepped into the booth, put on the giant headphones, and adjusted the volume to hear myself reflected back so clearly. I could barely see anyone in the other booths through the layers of glass, so I concentrated on listening. We practiced a few times with a pre-recorded track—I fumbled the words, the intonation, the rhythm in this language, and felt absolutely inadequate—“Why didn’t they get a real Ilokano speaker to do this?” But as I kept singing with the other voices and chose to trust myself, I found a deep sense of flow and centeredness. Agrambak! Agrambak! Rejoice! Rejoice! I took the deepest breaths that I could, closed my eyes, and imagined the land that was holding me, the land that supported me as I rediscovered my mother language, and I sang to her, and to my ancestors.
NAIMAS!: The Rise of Filipino Foodways in Hawaiʻi
In this article, I situate my research by employing standpoint theory to chart the evolution of Filipino Foodways through the daily lives of Filipina/o/x women in Hawaiʻi to illuminate, make explicit and visible Filipina/o/x women’s knowledge and epistemologies. I argue that we can learn what needs to be re-membered, retold, relearned, and retaught in order to reconnect within the fields of education, ethnic studies, history and food studies by studying what has been systematically pushed aside and forgotten. My goal is to amplify and uplift the narratives of Filipina/o/x women that have engaged in alternative archives and economies. In addition, I also show how Filipina/o/x foodways in Hawai‘i persists through the transmission of ancestral knowledge despite attempts at erasure via colonial foodways in the Philippines and in diaspora. We can understand our values, identities, and tastes today by studying Filipina/o/x food stories and history as well as begin healing from intergenerational trauma while combating colonial mentality and resisting discriminatory practices.