Moon-Eating Dragons, Pineapple Girls, and Other Filipino Tales I Don’t Know

I was born and raised in America. (Born in Kansas and raised in Louisiana, to be exact.) There weren’t many Filipinos in my school. I’ve never shared a classroom with one in my life, except maybe in college, where classes were too big to notice. But when I was a little girl, I noticed. Believe me. You always notice when you’re the Other.

From my experience, people approach Otherness in one of two ways: They’re either super-proud or super-embarrassed.

Unfortunately, I was the latter.

Because I wanted blue eyes and blonde hair, I chose to ignore the Filipino part of my identity. It wasn’t until I got older (and yes, wiser) that I appreciated my heritage. That’s when I started to ask my mother questions. What was it like when you were growing up? What kinds of things did kids do? What were the schools like? Were you scared when you came to America? What was it like when you first came here?

(Thankfully, it’s never too late to learn more about where you came from. I don’t care if you’re 30-*cough-cough* like me, or 101.)

When Filipino poet Barbara Jane Reyes shared 5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Filipino Myths and Legends on her FB page recently, I realized yet again how much I have to learn about my background. All the stories. All the legends. All the tales! I know of Rip Van Winkle, but not of Pina. I’ve heard of Poseiden, but not Magwayen.

So, the link was right: I didn’t know any of those five things.

But I know now.

4 Replies to “Moon-Eating Dragons, Pineapple Girls, and Other Filipino Tales I Don’t Know”

  1. Hey thanks for this! My husband is Filipino-American and felt the same way growing up. I want our kids to know about their heritage and will share the Filipino Myths and Legends link with them. Unfortunately, both of my husband’s parents are gone now, so we have very little connection to their culture. This is one reason kids should not put off asking questions!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment! You’re right, it’s sooo important for kids to know their heritage and to never feel embarrassed about where they came from. Unfortunately, many Fil-Am kids felt this way growing up. I always love to hear about other people who went through the same things. It makes me wish I could go back in time and tell my 12-year-old self about them. But my 30-something self is happy to hear from them, too. :-)

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