Say What?

Yesterday, I got asked a crazy question. The question was so silly that I was silent for a moment. The hubs and I were invited to a bbq by a couple we know from church. They live near the water where the houses were going for a million bucks. A few years ago, I would take my mom in this neighborhood for a drive every single week just to see and drool at the beautiful houses. At one point in life, I dreamed of a house here someday, especially when there were plans to develop the waterfront including putting a ferry station here. That would have been wonderful.

Anyway, I'm glad that I have friends who lived in the neighborhood. It gave me a chance to see the interiors of the house. So at the bbq yesterday neighbors were invited. There was only one other couple besides us that did not live in the neighborhood.

One of the neighbors asked me, ARE YOU A FILIPINO FILIPINO OR A FILIPINO CHINESE? What a crazy question right? I've never been asked that before. In fact that's the first time I've heard such distinction. She asked me to distinguish myself what kind of Filipino I am. You see she was born and raised in Indonesia. But she's Chinese in heritage. She's Chinese in everything except where she was born and where her family still lives. I wasn't offended, not one bit. In fact it was a quite humorous. She said I don't look like a Filipino and if I'm a Filipino then there must be something else in my blood.

Well it's not the first time that I've been mistaken for some other nationality. I look at the mirror and all I see is typical Filipino from the dark brown skin to the jet black hair, from the short stature to the slightly wider nose. I don't see how I could be anything else but Filipino.

The thing with Filipino heritage is it's an amalgamation of many races, Malay, Chinese, Spanish, etc. I know my maternal grandparents had Chinese features, from the pale white skin to the very chinky eyes. One of my mom's sisters is so pale and so chinky, you wouldn't peg her to be Filipino.

But not me, nor any of my brothers. We're so deep to the bone Filipino in features, that's why it's quite amusing when people don't find my features to be that of Filipino heritage.

By the way, we have set up a tentative dinner date with her. She promised to take us to an authentic Indonesian restaurant in Berkeley. My hubby the foodie has been dying to taste Indonesian food. It's not very popular here. As a matter of fact, only Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese food are widely available. You'd find it hard to locate Indonesian or Singaporean food anywhere. That's why we go to the source. I cannot wait to try real Indonesian food.


madretz said…
Hee! When we lived in southern california, no one thought I was filipino...they thought I was either hawaiian or native american. We moved here whenI was 25 and people asked me, "where are you from?" My standard answer was "a desert town in S. CA." them: "no where where you born?" Lol! But now that ive gotten older and my nose (and then some!) is getting wider, there's no doubt in anyone's mind that I'm of filipino ancestry.:)

But I've never been asked "are you filipino filipino?" That's a new one to me, too!

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