I was born in Cebu City and moved to the US (Northern California, to be exact) at the age of 9. I felt hugely disconnected from my culture and community. Where I lived, only two of my fellow classmates happened to be Filipino. I actually ended up learning more about Hmong culture because that was in abundance around me. When I began college at Cal Poly Pomona in Los Angeles County, I received a culture shock of my own. I became passionate about researching Filipino-American culture and the communities surrounding me. I’ve always longed to learn about people from our community and searched for role models who look like me. This led me to produce a book about Filipino-American experiences titled, “Voices of the New Generation Fil-Am Community.” Sometimes it’s easy to feel disconnected from Fil-Ams in the celebrity spotlight—in this book, you will get a glimpse of everyday Filipino-Americans who I hope you’ll relate to or look to for guidance. These stories are like the roots of a plant which keeps the Fil-Am community ground and they are stories that are often overlooked. I offer these stories to add to the literature about Fil-Ams experiences and issues we face today.
This is my first project as an aspiring writer working to promote Filipino culture and support Fil-Am communities here in the US. It all started out with a question of “Why not?” Why not create something for others in the community?
While I’m not a professional, I want to make sure this work is done and done well. I also want to leave my own mark in modern day Fil-Am history. Besides creating this book, I am actively involved in the Fil-Am community through Barkada, Cal Poly Pomona’s Filipino student organization. We promote culture by organizing events such as cultural nights and Filipino American History Month celebrations. I also work with a team of editors and graphics designers to publish Anong Balita, the organization’s monthly magazine. In my professional life, I serve as the marketing assistant and graphic designer for the Filipino supermarket Seafood City. In this position, I coordinate marketing efforts for all locations throughout California, Nevada, Seattle, Chicago, Hawaii and Canada. I am juggling work, college, writing, and entrepreneurial ventures in my pursuit of knowledge about my own Fil-Am identity and culture. I hope you will join me in hearing from voices across the new generation of our community.
Dwight Ong works as Seafood City’s graphic designer and marketing assistant and will be graduating from Cal Poly Pomona in Spring 2019. Dwight hopes to pursue more writing and entrepreneurial projects to help inspire and bring light to the Fil-Am community.
Follow Dwight on Instagram @nekowara or connect with him on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dwightong