Filipino Friends

You Need a Filipino Friend—And It's Not Just Because We Always Make Sure You’re Never Hungry

Filipinos are known for our big families, and that family includes you!

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Filipinos! You know at least one whether you know it or not. A couple of notable Filipinos, or at least part Filipinos, include Manny Pacquiao, Bruno Mars, Vanessa Hudgens, and Nicole Scherzinger. But, if you're lucky to personally know one, you know just how amazing these Pinoys are and how you can never feel sad around one. No, it's not because we are a magical people, but it is because of these 10 reasons.

1. Our food is amazing. 

Yes, I know this is a pretty basic reason, but it's a darn good reason still. Our food may not be the healthiest, but sure as heck is it the most savory and the most plentiful. If you ever have the chance to attend a Filipino party or "potluck," be ready to take home a couple of to go boxes and Ziploc bags full of food to last you for the next week.

2. We can give you your very own Beyoncé concert.

We sing. We dance. We also love basketball. So we're basically your very own family of Troy Boltons. I can attest to the fact that at every major family party there is at least some sort of singing or dancing performance to provide the headlining entertainment for the celebrant.

3. You will never have a dull conversation with us. 

From telling stories about our childhoods and explaining our elaborate family tree to sharing Filipino folklore like the "Legend of Alitaptap" (the story of how fireflies came to be) and the scary stories of the aswang, an evil shape-shifting spirit, similar to our more familiar vampires, we're always here to entertain.

4. Our pride in our culture. 

We all know how proud Filipinos are to be Filipino. We see it in the support for our country by wearing jackets that have our flag on them to never missing a Manny Pacquiao fight. Through good times and bad, we will always be supportive and proud of our family, including you! Got a big performance or event coming up? You bet we'll make it there to support you, cheer you on, and brag to the people passing by that we know you and how proud we are of all you've accomplished.

5. We will help you with your ambitions.

Even though there's always that stereotype of Filipino families wanting their sons and daughters to become doctors and nurses, the real reason behind that is our families just wanting us to have enough money in the future to live and raise a family more comfortably than they were. The bottom line is that we just want all the success in the world for you, and you better bet every time we meet up, we'll be checking up on you. "How are classes going? Are you studying well for your exams? You know your Tita over there works for so and so company and she could really give you some advice and maybe help you get a job!" You have one of us as your friend, and we'll keep you accountable as you try and reach your goals and will be with you every step of the way.

6. We make the best party buddies. 

From our extensive knowledge of all the line dances known to man to our ability to hold alcohol fairly well, we are always down to go for a night out with you, and more importantly, we will always make sure you get home safe at the end of the day.

7. We're always down for some basketball (or any sport for that matter).

Although we aren't famous for our height, we love basketball—and really, watching any other sport as well. Football games, basketball games, baseball games, even golf will be on the TV at some point in any given Filipino household. So, if you ever want a friend to talk draft picks with or need someone to go with you to the next game, we've got your back.

8. We're always there to check up on your love life.

Once you're a part of the family, you too will have all of the aunties asking you if you have a boyfriend/girlfriend or not. But, if you already do have a s/o, then you bet we'll also be asking how they've been, and they'll automatically become a part of the family too.

9. You won't have to worry about being late to a party.

When we say the party starts at 5, it really means everyone get here at 7. Plus, we'll wait for everyone until we start eating, even if you're only "five minutes away" when you're really just getting out of bed. So it's really Filipino for us, the party doesn't start till you walk in!

10. You become a part of a huge family.

Not only do you become a part of our actual family, but you join a group of friends who immediately take you in and treat you as family. I can certainly attest to this one. When I first moved from California to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I basically knew no one. But then, I found my home-away-from-home by joining the Philippine Student Association. I was able to meet so many new people, Filipino and non-Filipino, and even join families through our big brother/big sister program. If I ever needed a place to stay, someone to study with, someone to destress with, or just someone to talk to, I could always find it within my new family. With the people I have met and the relationships I have created, these bonds will surely last a lifetime.

So yes, some of the Filipino stereotypes may more or less be true, but for the most part, it isn't a bad thing at all. Having a Filipino friend is probably one of the best things you can have because, without a doubt, we will be by your side until the very end.

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To My Best Friend Who Taught Me What True Friendship Is, I Can't Thank You Enough

"To the person who will love you endlessly, love her with kindness and understanding."
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Dear Best Friend,

You have been a part of my life for quite some time now. You have seen my good, bad, and ugly sides and have stuck by my side through it all. I don't know if I could ever find the words to truly thank you for everything your friendship has given me, but I am definitely going to try.

Our lives have taken some twist and turn these past few years, but we have stayed strong through it all.

Thank you for judging me just the right amount.

Throughout our friendship, I have made some very questionable decisions. A lot of people would say "thanks for never judging me," but I feel like everyone needs a best friend who's going to tell them how it is, to tell them when they are about to make a bad decision or how to avoid something worse from happening. You have always told me how it is (even when I don't always want to hear it), but I know that I can come to you whenever I need someone to set me straight.

You're always down to do nothing with me.

I think that you are the one person that I can call up to hang out and do absolutely nothing with and have a good time. From the nights sitting in and playing card games to ordering Chinese food and watching an entire Netflix series while I dance around with the cat: I know that we could do anything, and nothing together and it would be fun.

But also, you're always down to get lit with me.

I swear one day we will be two old moms at a bar drinking vodka crans and laughing about the stupid shit our husbands and children do. You're always down to go out and have a good time. Even if everyone else we're with is miserable, we find a way to laugh at ourselves.

You are one of the few constant things in my life.

I've lost a lot of friends in my life, but you have stayed by my side through everything. I can't remember the last time we actually fought about anything, but even when we do we can't stay mad at each other for more than a day. I know we will be in each other's lives until we literally keel over.

I want you yo know that you're the strongest person I know.

You've dealt with things that not many people go through ever in their life. You have always been so mature, and you handle everything with grace. You inspire me every day with your goals and successes and I am so proud of you and all of your accomplishments.

Above all else, you deserve the world.

It's so easy to get caught up in your own mind and think that you deserve the things that happen to you, but please know that the only thing you deserve is happiness. Please settle for nothing short of that. It may take a bit to find your happiness, but I will be there every step of the way. You're a remarkable human being, and I want nothing but the best for you.

To the person who will hold your heart someday, please do not break it. To the person who may wrong you, you will regret it forever. To the person who will love you endlessly, love her with kindness and understanding.

You, my best friend, future bridesmaid, godmother of my children, the person to bail me out of jail, the one who lets me cry on their couch for twelve hours,

I love you.

I will cherish our friendship forever. Thank you for being you.

Love always,

Your best friend.

Cover Image Credit: Adriana Ranieri

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Dear Beautiful Black Girl, Never Forget Your Worth

An ode to all the beautiful black girls.

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We live in a society where societal standards greatly define the way we view ourselves. Although in 2019 these standards are not clear cut, some things are not easy to change. Not to play the race card, but this is true for women of color, especially black girls.

As much as I'd like to address this to all women, I want to hit on something that I'm more familiar with: being a black girl. Black females have a whole package to deal with when it comes to beauty standards. The past suppression and oppression our ancestors went through years ago can still be felt in our views of beauty. It is rare to see young black girls be taught that their afros and nappy hair are beautiful. Instead, we are put under flat irons and dangerous chemicals that change our hair texture as soon as our hair becomes too "complicated" to deal with. The girls with darker skin are not praised, but rather lowered in comparison to their peers with fairer skin. A lot of the conditioning happens at a young age — at the age of 8, already you can feel like you're in the wrong skin.

As we grow up, there are more expectations that come here and there, a lot of very stereotypical and diminishing. "You're a black girl, you should know how to dance," "black girls don't have flat butts," "black girls know how to cook," "you must have an attitude since you're black" — I'm sure you get the idea. Let me say this: "black girls," as they all like to say, are not manufactured with presets. Stop looking for the same things in all of us. Black girls come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and talents. I understand that a lot of these come from cultural backgrounds, but you cannot bash a black girl because she does not fit the "ideal" description.

And there is more.

The guys that say, "I don't do black girls, they too ratchet/they got an attitude" — excuse me? Have you been with/spoken to all the black girls on this planet? Is this a category that you throw all ill-mouthed girls? Why such prejudice, especially coming from black men? Or they will chant that they interact with girls that are light-skinned, that is their conditioned self-speaking. The fact that these men have dark-skinned sisters and mothers and yet don't want to associate with girls that look the same confuses me. And who even asked you? There are 100 other ethnicities and races in the world, and we are the one you decide to spit on? Did we do something to you?

Black girls already have society looking at them sideways. First, for being a woman, and second, for being black, and black males add to this by rejecting and disrespecting us.

But we still we rise above it all.

Black girls of our generation are starting to realize the power that we hold, especially as we work hand in hand. Women like Oprah Winfrey, Lupita Nyong'o, Chinua Achebe, Michelle Obama — the list is too long — are changing the narrative of the "black girl" the world knows. The angry black woman has been replaced with the beautiful, educated, and successful melanin-filled woman.

Girls, embrace your hair, body, and skin tone, and don't let boys or society dictate what is acceptable or beautiful. The black girl magic is real, and it's coming at them strong.

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