With about five decades of Filipino migration history to Europe and over a century to the United States, today’s second and third generation Euro-Filipinos, Filipino-Americans, Filipino-Canadians, and other mixed Filipino identities find the use of hyphen by default to introduce themselves. Similarly, countless Filipinos work and live overseas as diplomats or expatriates, raising families away from home. Learn how these children grow up equipped with grit and flair to pass the tests of being Filipino abroad, mestiza or mestizo. BvA Anton Jean and Justin Paul Widmer-Fortuna Alsace, France Anton and Justin, born twins to Filipina lyric soprano Armela Fortuna and Swiss-French classical pianist cum surgical dentist father. The family has taken up residence in the region of Alsace, France. The twins are budding musicians, and sports buffs well-grounded in fashion, film, travelling, adventures, and friends. So how does French mix with Tagalog? Quite naturally. Follow them on Instagram @fortunatwinofficial account. Raya Herrera New Jersey, USA US-born Filipino-American, fresh International Studies graduate Raya S. Herrera writes: Growing up as a Filipino-American, I have always known the history of my immigrant parents and still identified ourselves as Filipinos. But how connected to our Filipino culture was I actually? I did not speak Tagalog and only understand a few words. However, there were many times where I did not feel “Filipino” enough. But, I realized that in order to feel connected to one’s culture, you have to find the right hobbies and have the genuine interest to learn. In my case, I pursued an International Studies Major and joined cultural clubs like “Barkada” to immerse in my Filipino heritage. Together we got to learn Tagalog, dance the Tinikling, understand Filipino history and pursued our interest in Filipino pop culture. By joining these communities, my peers helped me grow into a more well-rounded person and find my own identity as an Asian-American minority, a Filipino. Marjorie Bohlmann Bremen, Germany A Media Science student at University of Bremen, Marjorie considers herself blessed to have a Filipina mom who came to Germany in the 80s and there met her father. She writes: Even though we lived in Germany, we spent as much time as we could with my family in the Philippines – I was flying long distance before I even learned to walk. My childhood memories smell like tropical flowers, salt water and durian; and although I have not developed a taste for the fruit itself, it always reminds me of happy times. Growing up as a sort of in-betweener has not always been easy, but any challenges are offset thousandfold by how rich my life has been by virtue of all the experiences my parents have been able to share with me. I still love to travel and like to think that my upbringing has taught me to be open and curious about different cultures, languages, and customs. Anton Miguel De Vera Vienna, Austria Since I grew up in a Filipino family, it has always been a given to introduce myself as a “Filipino”. Such distinction was so obvious for me, and others by skin and on paper. I grew up in various countries with people my age who were linguistically and culturally distant from being “Filipino”. As a child, I had to learn how to socialize with other children in Swedish and even then, adapting to their language was not enough to fully identify myself as one of them. Similarly, adapting was necessary during my stay in the Philippines as an adolescent. I may look and speak like a Filipino and yet, I know that I am not like one of the many who for their entire lives were born and raised in the Philippines like those who I befriended in my local community. Despite all that, I still choose to identify myself as a Filipino. The values of being a Filipino are deeply rooted in my Filipino family and friends. Liberally speaking, they formed my understanding of what it means to be a Filipino: a person who explores and defines themselves in new ways while remembering where they came from with a sense of pride and belonging. Anton is @LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anton-miguel-de-vera-0122971b2 Icie Mondragon-Mingels Iloilo, Philippines Eight-year-old Jessica ‘Icie’ Mondragon Mingels is a Filipino-Dutch little singing Diva, young dreamer, loving daughter, and kindhearted child. Born and raised in Miagao, Iloilo from parents Janice Mondragon and Matheus Mingels. Icie loves to swim, sing, dance, and play. She attends Doane Christian Fellowship Academy, has been a consistent honour student, and elected class leader. Apart from winning several music and talent competitions, she volunteers for the foundation HELP FILIPINO CHILDREN. Watch Icie showcase her talents.