Stephanie Garma Balón, MA, AMFT (she/her) is a second-gen, Pinay-American, & proud Mama—born/raised on occupied land of the Ramaytush Ohlone people, AKA: Daly City/San Francisco, and of Ilokano & Visayan decent. As an Expressive Arts Therapist at StarVista in North San Mateo County (SMC) providing individual and group therapy to youth, parents, and families, Steph leans on her belief in the transformative healing power of the arts. This inspires her to intentionally integrate ritual, visual art, writing, and poetry in her professional and personal practice, especially as it relates to her continuous decolonial healing journey. Steph’s work is rooted in trauma-informed care, narrative & relational-cultural therapeutic approaches. She has over 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector and has an extensive community mental health advocacy background addressing health inequities amongst underserved populations, namely within the Filipinx community. She is a co-chair of the Filipino Mental Health Initiative of SMC, which was awarded a 2.6M grant by the State of California to launch a Social Enterprise Cultural Center for the Filipino American demographic in Daly City.
New project! This is the first experiment of exploring books on the podcast. I'll be giving an overview Leny Strobel's Coming Full Circle: The Process of Decolonization Among Post-1965 Filipino Americans. This is a pivotal book in FilAm literature and it has a lot of wisdom and lessons within it. It's an informal overview, with specific quotes thrown in to highlight the main takeaways. Coming Full Circle is a project of decolonization based off interviews with post-1965 Filipino Americans . Through a process that Strobel calls "fishing for knowledge" through books and interviews, she organizes themes of decolonization under the categories of Naming, Reflection, and Action. This framework is greatly influenced by Paulo Friere and his idea that oppressed peoples need to name the source of their oppression before they can enact change upon it. 11 generative themes of decolonization are presented, alongside a literature review of relevant material and research.
Rich Bustos is a Filipino American engineer, videographer, and financial minimalist. He currently works as a front-end developer at LinkedIn, where he's been at for seven years. Entering the company through an internship with Year Up, Rich shares about how he was hired on even if he didn't know how to code. The passion and drive in him opened up doors and led to his current career and financial stability. In this episode, we go over his entry into the workforce through Year Up, and organization that helps under-connected youth enter the tech industry. We talk about how minimalism and meditation helped Rich work through anxiety and panic attacks. Rich also shares a lot of reflections about financial stability and investing—a very important thing for our communities to learn and develop an understanding for.
Nate Nevado is a Filipino American leader, Counseling Creative, and Educational Innovations Consultant. He currently works at Skyline College as a counselor and head of the Rock the School Bells conference—a hip hop educational program now in its 13th year. He is currently finishing his doctoral program at SFSU—writing about the intersection of counseling and Hip Hop Education. He’s also the founder of the CIPHER Hip Hop Learning Community at Skyline College, which provides Hip Hop education through transferrable college courses and relevant community programming. In this episode, we dive into the roots of his journey through Hip Hop and academia. From dropping out of community college to his eventual pursuit of a doctoral degree, Nate shares the multiple challenges and pivots he made throughout life to find his sense of purpose and direction. He goes over his early love for Hip Hop, the tensions within his traditional Filipino family, the doubts he had though college, and the eventual strength he found through community work and Hip Hop Education. There’s a wide range of wisdom in this episode, especially for Hip Hop heads, educators, counselors, and community workers.
Marc Escobar is a FilAm journalist, poet, and drummer. Currently majoring in Political Science at UC Berkeley, he's spent majority of his time in the Bay Area—attending Westmoor High School in Daly City and transferring from Skyline College in San Bruno. Born in the Philippines, Marc shares about his childhood in San Diego and his family's eventual move to the Bay Area. He opens up about learning how to drum from his uncle and the spaces that led him to over the years—band in middle school and high school, then drumming for the Pilipino Cultural Night at UC Berkeley. In this episode, we also talk about the community college experience and transferring into UC Berkeley—social circles, authenticity, balance, and friendships.
Janice Sapigao is an accomplished writer, poet, and professor at Skyline College. Born and raised in San Jose, she finished her undergraduate degree in Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego. She then received her MFA from CalArts and has taught all throughout California. Her first book, Microchips for Millions, was first published in 2016, following by Like a Solid to a Shadow in 2017. She continues to teach at the CIPHER program at Skyline College and is an active writer and poet. In this episode, Janice shares some poetry and insight about her creative writing process. She gives her backstory and snippets of her journey as a writer—how she decided to pursue an MFA after writing for her college Pilipino Cultural Night. Janice also shares the ups and downs of balancing her career as a professor along with her work as a writer. She speaks on the process of finding a publisher for her first book and the transition to following projects.
This episode is a listening session for KuyaChris' most recent album, Mahalola. It's a big episode at 5 hours long! We go song by song, telling any relevant stories or takeaways from the album. The homies also share their thoughts and reactions to the music. We go into a range of topics, from creativity and perfectionism to past relessonships and masculinity. There's a lot of content here, with the first song playing around the 40-minute mark.
Angela Hien is a multidisciplinary creative who uses a variety of mediums—from sculture and installations to audio and singings—to express her experience as a Vietnapina American. She was born in Sacramento, CA to a Vietnamese father and a Filipina mother. She recently finished studying Art Practice and Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, with plans to go into education in the future. In this episode, we talk about her creative process, her experience as a Vietnamese/Filipina American, and her experience going back to the Philippines and Vietnam this last summer. She participated in UC Berkekey's inaugural study abroad program (along with previous guest Joshua Laurel) and we go over her experiences and takeaways. She also sings two cover songs and two originals! Additionally, we go over her art portfolio in the end, deconstructing how she creates and approaches her art practice.
Zaldy Tubig is a rapper, musician, and creative based out of the Bay Area. With roots in the SoMa distrct of San Francisco, he has a rich history and knowledge of the Bay and the city—especially in regards to the Filipino community and culture of SoMa Pilipinas. In this episode, we talk about his beginnings with music and writing—from peotry and music sessions at Y Projects to his current work and releases with local Bay Area artists. On the podcast, Zaldy performs some of his recent tracks, in addition to pieces from his debut mixtape THERAPY VOLUME 1. Zaldy recently changed his stage name to Zaldy Water—we talk about the history of his name and the connections with his father and the Philippines. Throughout the episode, Zaldy drops some serious wisdom and reflections in regards to growing up in working-class neighborhoods and the growth he's gone through in his life.
Joshua Laurel is a Public Health major student at UC Berkeley, set to graduate this 2020! He went to the Philippines this last summer and studied at UP Diliman, through UC Berkeley's first Study Abroad initiative in the Philippines. In this episode, we talk about his experience during study abroad—going back to study at his home country's top public university—and any major takeways or lessons he learned. We also talk about a range of topics, such as pagibig and the cultural differences in terms of dating and relatioships between the Philippines and the United States. Joshua also shares his immigration story of moving to the United States at 12 years old and the process of acclimating to a new environment.