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.
Kudazzers is a podcast based in the Philippines—made for and by Gen Z and Gen Y locals—hosted by Iris Montesclaros, Eudes Garcia, Natalie Estrada, Ingrid Joyce, and Martin Glen. In this episode, two of the hosts talk about the beginnings of the Kudazzers podcast and their plans moving forward. We also get into a range of topics, spanning from the concept of "bayawaks" who challenge the beauty standards of the Philippines and queer theory as situated within the Philippine context. Check out their podcast on Spotify and other platforms—it's guaranteed to be hilarious.
BC Poppas is the podcast, project, and platform of two jiu jitsu brown belts from Bacolod City, Philippines—Jojo and Jon. Born and raised in Bacolod City, Jojo knows the local context and life of the region, making him a perfectly-suited to work with the various communities in the area. In this podcast, he talks about his work with street children—majority of them in gangs or affected by drug use—and his development as a community leader and mentor. Jon shares more about his work and perspective regarding the Nothing 2 Lose Foundation and the outreach programs they are currently pursing. Both Jojo and Jon run a jiu jitsu gym in Bacolod City—BC Martial—while also working with "youth in conflict with the law" at the local Social Development Center where youth who have been arrested await sentencing.
Bettina Francisco is a student, musician, creative, and emcee based out of San Francisco, California. Currently, she is an RA at USF and is majoring in Critical Diversity Studies and Philippine Studies. Having spent a lot of time meditating and reflecting on her own energies, she shares her personal self-care practices and relationship with mental health. In this episode, we cover a wide range of topics, including her relationship with ancestors and intergenerational trauma. Bettina also shares beautiful creative pieces—a few about her daughter that passed away. In this episode, she also talked about her creative process and how she began writing raps. She shares a realization that: "I need to heal myself before I write something." Listen to her thoughts, reflections, and perspective on love and energy.
Rudy Kalma is a Filipino American musician, rapper, producer, and audio engineer, currently based out of Sacramento, California. Born in the Philippines, Rudy eventually moved to California, growing up around San Francisco & Daly City, before attending UC Davis for undergrad. After finding his love for making music and rapping in high school, he continued to hone his live performance skills while simultaneously releasing a multitude of songs throughout his college career. In 2018, he released a full-length project titled "Labor of Love" and continued to perform on local stages and events. Using a mix of elements for his album—from Tagalog sequences to a wide range of hip hop beats—Rudy delivers a uniquely mellow yet upbeat rap album. He tells a story of immigration, meditation, reflection, and the continued process of trying to find stability as a musician. Adding more to the impressiveness of this album, Rudy mixed all the tracks as well, displaying his skills as an audio engineer.
This last February, four Filipino bois participated in a challenge—The Pogi Boi GoPro Challenge. Using the MapMyRun app, we decided that whoever ran the most miles in the month would win a Gopro, and the losers would chip in to pay for it. We had Joshua Berja, Christian Guerrero, Joseph Magsaysay, and Kevin Reber participating in this challenge. In the end, Mr. Reber came out on top with a total of 108.57 miles! In this podcast session, we talk about our experiences, the takeaways from the runs, our reflections, and thoughts for another challenge. Overall it was a fun experience where we all collectively got better and improved, even with challenges throughout.
Mykho Magalong is a Filipino American drummer, musician, designer, and owner of the streetwear brand SFxDC. Born and raised in Quezon City, Philippines, he immigrated to the United States when he was around 14 years old. Entering Balboa High School, he was exposed to the hyphy movement in the Bay Area and eventually joined local music groups—Boondock Squad and Doble Bara. In the last few years, he launched his clothing brand SFxDC after making some clothes for friends, the Sorry Ser Crew. He's continually working on his brand, releasing new designs, and expanding his creative outlets—a community magazine is now in the works. Additionally, he continues to play the drums for a variety of music groups—most recently with Ruby Ibarra and the Balikbayans. In this episode, he plays some live drums, talks about his relationship to music, and his vision for SFxDC. Additionally, he shares reflections about working as a caregiver and the thoughts that experience has brought about, especially in terms of caring for family and his elders.
Isabel Bagsik is a Filipina American graphic designer and creative who recently published the Brown Papaya magazine project—an initiative to challenge the colonized beauty standards of the Filipinx community—one where skin whitening products dominate the beauty industry. The Brown Papaya project aims to "reclaim and embrace darker, brown sunkissed skin" and counteract the negative stereotypes attached to that aesthetic. Born in Pasay City, Philippines, Isabel was brought to the US as a child and grew up in the Bay Area, eventually graduating from UC Davis with double B.A. degrees in Design and Technocultural Studies. She has worked as a designer with students organizations and larger groups such as Kaiser Permanente in Oakland. She is currently working at the Communication Arts magazine as a Design and Production Associate while simultaneously developing her own personal design portfolio and projects.
Angelo Lirazan is a Filipino American entrepreneur based out of the 626 region of Los Angeles, CA—land of the boba. He currently runs Absolve Gaming, an online reseller of trading cards, while also consulting on website development and marketing projects. In this episode, we go over his history of being born in California, moving back to the Philippines, spending a few years in Hawai'i, and returning to Los Angeles for the remainder of his primary schooling. After graduating high school from Don Bosco Technical Institute in Rosemead, he ended up joining the US Army Reserve in order to pay for college. Once entering the professional workforce, he reached the position of Marketing Director for a large tent-manufacturing company, managing a budget of up to $1mil/year for advertising. After working this job and a few others, he decided to pursue running his own business full-time. We talk about this journey, the ups and downs, the challenges, and the reasoning behind his decisions.
MC Zuko is a FilAm rapper and Hip Hop artist based out of Los Angeles, CA. Born Carl Viray, he's lived in both NorCal and SoCal, eventually graduating from Cal State University, Northridge. He recently released his "Respect the Hustle Mixtape" and it's officially flames. In this episode, Zuko performs a number of his tracks and talks about his journey towards pursuing music full-time. Through the lens of the 5 stages of grief, Zuko tells his story from childhood to present-day, relating his journey through music as a process of decolonization. We also get personal—deconstructing family dynamics, infidelity, and reflections of what type of men we want to be. This is a beautifully introspective episode with a lot of gems and little nuggets of wisdom. Go shoot him a follow, listen to his music, and get inspired.