Rey Timosa Novicio Jr. is a Pinoy musician, producer, community mentor, and mental health advocate. He goes by the stage name of Mister REY and has released both instrumental and solo albums. He also recently produced the whole Native Immigrant album of Ro3lay. Born and raised in Makati, Philippines, he immigrated to the US when he was 12 and moved into the Mission District of San Francisco. He participated in multiple youth programs such as Youth Speaks and has now transitioned into the role of facilitator. He has coordinated afterschool programs in the South of Market (SOMA) neighborhood—some specifically targeting at-risk 1st generation Filipino American you who were on probation. He has used music to support and youth and provide spaces for expression and growth. Currently, he’s the Program Coordinator for Filipino Mental Health Initiative, an organization based out of the Bayanihan Resource Center, which aims to provide community services and end the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Kevyn Lorenza just came back from his first trip in the Philipines! He was able to visit different communities in Luzon and Mindanao, with the specific goal of learning about the education system and the struggles of the various sectors in the country. He went with Laya Migrant Youth for Change and Action, based out of Daly City, and this episode has a few reflections on the trip, specifically about the struggles of the Aeta and Lumad communities. Our local hosts in the Philippines were PSET and Salupongan International. We talk about the shifting educational system with K-12, the problems in indigenous communities, and the exposure to martial law in Mindanao.
Rodney Manalo is a Filipino American musician who goes by the stage name of Mr. No Name. He was born in Daly City and continues to create and perform his music in local shows and events—this guy can rip a freestyle! He's also in the Year Up program, currently interning at a tech company, while still consistently working on his craft. He has long-term visions to work as an illustrator and character designer, while still maintaining his love for music. He shares his experience growing up in the Bay Area, his personal struggles with drugs and family, while also diving into the positive influence music has played in his life. There’s good reflections and advice on music in this episode—tangible skills to work on such as rhyming and cadence—in addition to personal reflections on depression and self-harm ideations. This one is worth listening to, especially for the amount of freestyles Rod dropped during the episode.
Kevyn Lorenzana is a 22-year-old Filipino American emcee, poet, musician, organizer, barber, and community organizer. He’s headed to the Philippines this summer on a community exposure trip to visit rural schools. Once he comes back in the fall, he will be pursuing a degree in Asian American Studies at UCLA. In this return episode, he shares an original song written for Roderick Daus-Magbual’s Filipina/o American Community Issues class and drops a few freestyle bars. We talk about his history of being an SF-born FilAm and his journey through realizing his identity—thanks to the help of Skyline College and ethnic studies. Kevyn is dedicated to serving his community and shares his long-term vision to be a teacher, especially for incarcerated youth. He shares experiences of being mugged at gunpoint as an 8th grader and the effects of the prison system within his own family, but also shares an understanding perspective in regards to larger systems of influence such as poverty and colonial mentality. Take a listen, be inspired, and join us on this journey.
Katrina Liwanag is a FilAm singer-songwriter native to San Francisco and is active in multiple community organizations and grassroots movements. In this episode, she sings and performs two songs that relate to her experiences regarding community exposure trips throughout the Philippines. She shares her point of view on political and social issues, her background growing up in San Francisco, her involvement in various Filipina/o American organizations such as Kappa Psi Epsilon and League of Filipino Students, and her upcoming trip to the Philippines.
Michelle Yvette is a Pinay who immigrated to the United States in 2012 and is currently at Skyline College, pursuing a degree in Business. During her time in Daly City, she found a sense of home and community through dancing and other artistic endeavors. She’s helped choreograph for the Pilipino Cultural Night and has been working alongside other local dancers for events run by The Filipino Channel (TFC). In this episode, she opens up with a short song cover and poem, then shares her aspirations to pursue a career in Showbiz, especially in the Philippines. She also dives into how religion has given her support and purpose, especially in the face of challenges such as a broken family and immigrating to a new country. In the end, she leaves a few reflections for younger Filipinas, both general thoughts and relationship advice. Come listen!
07 – Dessa Hipolito / Filipina Immigrant, American Culture, Skyline College, Pilipino Cultural Night
Dessa Hipolito is a Filipina immigrant to California, an active leader at Skyline College, a singer, and an overall great role model for FilAm youth. On campus, she’s been this year’s Commissioner for Student Activities while also producing the last two Pilipino Cultural Nights. Next school year, she is planning to transfer to UCSD and continue her academic and personal journey. She shares her family's immigration history, her struggles, and her integration process into America and community college life. She closes with some reflections on relationships and shares some advice for other young immigrants.
Ate Bea Zamora is this year's Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) at Skyline College. She's an English teacher in the Philippines and has been in the US for the last 9 months, teaching the Filipino language and assisting Filipino American classes through the Fulbright teaching program. She's also been co-assisting College Success classes at both Westmoor and South City high schools. She shares a reflective poem, talks about her experience of arriving in America, and expounds on the differences she's noticed between Philippine-born and American-born Filipinos. Pinay power!
Sean Pierre Viray is a Filipino American entrepreneur and creative. He worked as a professional photographer before launching a medical cannabis delivery service—Mighty Breed. We talk about his experiences growing up in San Francisco and the various transitions he's gone through in life—he even shares a classic Filipino love story at Serramonte Mall and gives some relationships advice, so listen up young ones! Follow him on Instagram @sean_pierre_ and check out MightyBreed.org
Herschel is a Filipino American who was born in Mountain Veiw, but grew up in Bakersfield, CA. While a student at SFSU, he's taught at Denman Middle School with Pin@y (Pinay/Pinoy) Educational Partnerships (PEP) and is looking to be a copywriter in the future. We talk about how he distanced himself from Filipinos while growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood, but then found a sense of inportance in his culture after taking an Ethnic Studies class at De Anza College—an awesome community college institution in Cupertino.