Social Media Fast + Tagalog Pass

Two major things happened this past weekend besides the fact that my baby boy turned 7 on Saturday!

#1.
For the first time since I've owned either a Facebook or Instagram account, I did NOT post some major event on the same day that it happened on either of those accounts.

#2.
I noticed that instead of reprimanding Cedro for not speaking to me in Tagalog when he wanted to say something, I just let him speak to me in English.

Because of these two things, I had some pretty important epiphanies and have made some new resolutions.

I hereby declare a self-imposed 2-week minimum social media fast for myself (after this blog post)!

I confess that I often get lost in the art direction and documentation of the moment rather than living in the moment itself. I admit that I spend more time and energy posting and reading other people's posts rather than resting or DOING something else… anything else! Drawing or sleeping immediately come to mind. Haven't done much of that lately yet I constantly complain about the lack of those two things in my life.

Time to take control of my choices and be more accountable for my health. Instead of buying more and more makeup and fancy skincare products to mask the fact that I don't get enough sleep, I really have to make sleep a priority! As a start, I have deleted my Facebook and Instagram apps from phone for the time being. I still want to document memories for Cedro and Drae and for myself. Instagram has been amazing for that and I just have some posts automatically shared on Facebook, but my motivations have been pretty messed-up. I should just post and then close the app, but NO. It becomes a black hole and then all of a sudden 1 or 2 hours are gone. Poof! All because I can't decide on the right filter or crop or hashtags or that I can't stop scrolling through my newsfeed until there's nothing new to see.

I am in desperate need of a major Social Media Cleanse! I need to recalibrate and remind myself of my priorities and motivations behind future posts. My late mentor, Freda, used to remind me to try create art with the assumption that no one would ever see it. Obviously something else happens in the creative process and the end result when you don't have an audience.

As for the Tagalog… Maybe it was because it was Cedro's birthday and I subconsciously didn't want him to feel frustrated on his special day (Tagalog is his weakest language of the 3 that he knows) or maybe it's because he was clearly excited (we went to Legoland for the first time) and I didn't want to dampen the mood or interrupt his train of thought.

You know what happened? He expressed more to me in the past couple days than ever before. Don't get me wrong. We are super close and we talk all the time, but this was different. The sentences were spilling out almost non-stop.

I know it's common sense to expect that he would communicate more complex thoughts and emotions to me in English – his default language after Japanese. I will always enforce the Tagalog rule when he speaks to me, but I will be more mindful to do it in constructive way going forward.

How can I be upset or frustrated with him or jealous when he seems to have more lengthy in-depth conversations with Brian when (a) I am the only one who speaks to Cedro in Tagalog (Sure there are my parents and extended family, but a weekly video chat and the occasional holiday visits are not going to improve his Tagalog skills); (b) And by the way, my Tagalog sucks and I myself struggle with it; (c) He doesn't go to a Tagalog immersion school; (d) He doesn't have local friends or young cousins who speak Tagalog; (e) Cedro has never been to the Philippines; (f) I can't find any quality, modern children's programming in Tagalog, at least not on YouTube.

So what am I going to do about all that? What are my options other than taking a leave of absence from work and taking Cedro to the Philippines next summer and every summer until he's an adult? Well, since I'm his only Tagalog teacher right now, instead of feeling sorry for myself about how my Tagalog sucks or whine that Cedro doesn't seem to be making an effort, I have to hustle and really learn the language, continue to practice and gain proficiency. If I can stick to my Social Media Fast, then some of that time can be dedicated to reading my Tagalog language books and listening to the accompanying audio recordings and exercises. I can take the initiative to reach out to friends and cousins who are fluent and just keep practicing.

I just have to do it and try to teach by example and not put so much pressure on Cedro.

Bye for now, Social Media friends. I just remembered what my priorities are.

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Pinoy Pride Weekend

 

Adidas Philippines Jacket (Photo by Ardith Ibanez Nishii)

Last weekend, I enjoyed back-to-back Filipino cultural events up in Seattle.  I was able to reconnect with old friends, experience some amazing art, support some important causes and express my Filipino pride. Special thanks to my hubby for being on double daddy daycare duty AND for driving Cedro to Tagalog class on Sunday without me.

I planned the trip around the Here Lies Love musical, written by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim about Imelda Marcos and the political climate in the 70s-80s in the Philippines.  The show stars some NYC friends (who I had met through my dear friend, Liz Casasola).  I thought the show was closing on June 4th, but it has been extended until June 18th at the Seattle Rep Theatre.  I highly recommend it.  It’s not just for Filipinos!  It is the most unique musical/theater performance you will experience.  Get your tickets now!

Then I found out that coincidentally a Broadway Barkada benefit concert was happening the following Monday night in Seattle.  It was the perfect excuse to have a mini reunion with friends and to support Fil-Am performing artists as well as The Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project.

Liz Casasola and Brian Jose — 2 of the 3 Broadway Barkada co-founders at rehearsal, Seattle, WA

Liz Casasola and Brian Jose — Broadway Barkada co-founders at rehearsal // Seattle, WA // 04 June 2017

Filipino Festival Time with Liz in June 2017 Seattle

Filipino Festival Time with Liz — This was moments before a raven swept down and STOLE my Filipino BBQ stick that was sitting on my plate that I had put down on a table while I was buying a drink! // June 2017 Seattle

Going back to Cali #californiagirls #filipina #pinaypride #oldfriends #seattle #gno

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Lately, I have been struggling with balancing Filipino culture and language exposure to my kids in our trilingual household. Those couple of days in Seattle were exactly what I needed to stay strong.  Mabuhay!

Remembering Nanay (aka Lola Lina)

16 years ago, my grandma passed away in the comfort of her home in the Philippines, surrounded by family. My sister, mom, 2 aunts and I had flown out to spend the prior week with her in the hospital. She still had so much spunk. She had convinced our younger cousins to give her scissors so she could get rid of her catheter!… I still remember her last words were something along the lines of "I'm hungry. Give me some rice." I love it. Going out with literally such an appetite!… This photo was taken in September 2000 in the Philippines when we were celebrating her last birthday… I miss her every day but truly believe that she's reincarnated in Drae. They have that same bad-ass attitude mixed with goofiness and bear-hug kind of love. And let's not forget their love of talcum powder. Love you, Nanay. I can still feel you watching over me. #tbt #nanayknowsbest #family #love #philippines #missyou #thankyou

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Artisan Made Philippines

2016_1001_artisanmade_barkadako_post_by_ardithibaneznishii

Ay nako!  It has been almost 2 years since my last post!

Yesterday, I attended an amazing launch event for Artisan Made Philippines.  Overnight my cup runneth over with the sense of Pinay Pride.  And just in time!

One of the biggest things that has been weighing down on my mind, heart and soul has been my struggle to teach my kids Tagalog and cultivate their Filipino identity.  Yes, I speak to them exclusively in Tagalog, but I know my version of Tagalog is not enough.  I myself need some immersion crash course in order to discuss more complex thoughts and feelings with them.

Thanks to Artisan Made, I came away from last week feeling connected to a vibrant Filipino-American community.  I’m feeling happier.  It’s the kind of feeling you might experience when you spend a whole day with cool cousins.  Mind you, I only knew Kristine Surla, the founder of Artisan Made when I walked in the door, but everyone felt familiar as they shared their stories of being Filipino or Filipino-American.  It didn’t matter that we were from all different parts of the Philippines or different parts of the US.

It’s a huge understatement to say that I was thrilled and inspired.  The day wasn’t about fleeting fashion trends.  It was about Filipinos and Filipinas making a difference in other people’s lives.

  • Moved by the work that the non-profit, Gawad Kalinga, is doing to end poverty and hunger in the Philippines.
  • Lost my mind shopping for beautiful pieces by Anthill – a social and cultural enterprise in the Philippines working to preserve local weaves through contemporary design to sustain livelihood and tradition.  Each piece had a story about the specific weaves and the weaver or craftsperson who created it.
  • Witnessed the inventive and improvisational culinary skills of The New York Times-featured Filipina chef, Yana Gilbuena.  I inhaled the 5-course kamayan meal after admiring her artful presentation.  I also learned that you can peel ginger with a regular spoon!  It’s work, but it means that you don’t waste any of the ginger!  Genius.
  • Discovered that “heirloom Philippine rice” exists!  Last night’s menu included black rice by Social Products — an organization that sources organic food products from Philippine coop smallholder farmer partners that empower rural farmers, women, and indigenous peoples with a more sustainable way to eradicate poverty.
  • Excited to taste and learn about Kalsada Coffee from the Philippines and roasted in Seattle.
  • And wow!  Theo & Philo artisanal chocolates.  Yum!  They’re the Philippines’ first bean-to-bar artisan chocolates.  You have to try them!
  • And calamansi liqueur?  Yes, please!  I am now on the hunt for Manille Liqueur de Calamansi.  According to Forbes, it was “conceived as a Filipino take on the Italian limoncello by president and CEO Olivia Limpe-Aw, in collaboration with restaurateur-turned-writer-and-television-host Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi, Manille Liqueur de Calamansi, launched in January 2014, is a vodka-based drink that uses the essence of the zesty calamansi rind sourced from Mangyan farmers in Mindoro, a province located off the coast of Luzon, and northeast of Palawan.”
  • And most importantly, I have secured some SoCal Tagalog play dates in my family’s future!  In fact, because of the press coverage leading up to the event, I now know that there’s a show, Kababayan Today.  And because of that show, I now know that there’s a summer school program by the Filipino Cultural School here in LA!  It’s far but it will be worth it to enroll Cedro next summer.

Maraming salamat, Kristine! Mabuhay!

 

 

Interview with Ardith on “The Art Directed Life”

© Photo and Art by Ardith Ibañez Nishii

I am proud to be featured this week on the art blog, “The Art Directed Life.”

(The story behind the photo: Here’s a collage that I created with one of my illustrations.  I felt weird submitting a picture without my son, Cedro, so I included his sippy cup.  (a) He is obsessed with Lightning McQueen right now, and (b) I have been known to drink the rest of his drinks at the end of the day straight from his cup.)

Pacquiao Shirts are Here (Again)!

 

© Design by Barkada(ko) Art + Design

Revised Pacquiao: Living Legend design © Design by Barkada(ko) Art + Design

Still Christmas shopping?  Look no further!  We’ve redesigned our Pacquiao shirts to comply with the Zazzle content guidelines.  (We think.)  Hopefully, the new shirts will be up there for more than 24 hours!  For those of you who tried to purchase shirts for the Pacquiao vs. Margarito fight, we apologize for the inconvenience. 

© Design by Barkada(ko) Art + Design

Revised Pacquiao: Pride of the Philippines design. © Design by Barkada(ko) Art + Design

© Design by Barkada(ko) Art + Design

Pacquiao: Shadows Boxing design © Design by Barkada(ko) Art + Design

© Design by Barkada(ko) Art + Design

Tito Manny is My Hero! © Design by Barkada(ko) Art + Design

Barkada(ko) Boxing Fans on TV!!!

It’s nothin’ but MANNY MANIA this week!

We’ll be posting some of our own videos soon from our “Up Close and Personal” encounters with Manny Pacquiao. (Check out our previous blog posts.) In the meantime, here’s a short clip of us in the background for a moment in Episode 3 of HBO’s 24/7 series on the Pacquiao vs. Cotto fight. OK, so it’s blurry and you can’t really tell it’s us, but we WERE there and SO PROUD and honored to be there! It’s not every day that one gets to meet the Pride of the Philippines!

They’re replaying all the episodes tonight to get us all pumped for the fight! If you take a close look you’ll see us in the background during a shot of Buboy Fernandez in the parking lot of the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles… That’s Arlene wearing the orange Team Pacquiao hoodie (given to her… by Buboy himself!) and Ardith is wearing the Barkada(ko) Logo T in gold while our new friend from Team Pacquiao, Roweena Encarnacion, is rockin’ the Barkada(ko) Philippine Flag T in navy… PINOYS UNITE!

Many thanks to our close friend and Barkada(ko) supermodel, Gary Zane, who introduced us to Roweena and got the ball rollin’ so we could get on this Pacquiao Train!

Birthday Painting

paintingLast night, my NYC homegirls and my loving husband, Brian, surprised me BIG TIME .  For my birthday, they treated me to dinner and drinks at Pastis!!! (chosen for the French cuisine, the French fries, and the fact that it was the location for one of Brian’s “Sex and the City” episodes!)  Plus, Cyn was in town from Haiti!  IE: I was surrounded by my VIPeeps on my birthday!  The biggest surprise of all was the beautiful painting collaboration that they created for me.  Of course, it made me bawl my eyeballs out.  I was so touched.  I love my girls!  Here’s the museum-ready description that they put together to accompany it:

***

Cynthia Casasola, Liz Casasola, Cori Kaylor, Anne Tamayo
“A Girl Named Ardith” (June 2009)
Acrylic on canvas
16×20 in.

Four friends of Ardith created this piece to celebrate her birthday.  They each drew something that symbolizes Ardith.  The circles represent eternity and the infinite gratitude and connection those feel for her.  The circles also represent halos for her angel-like qualities.  The heart represents Ardith’s big, open heart, her generosity of spirit, and the abundance of love she has to share.  The gem represents a rare find, as is her friendship to many.  The flowers represent Ardith’s beauty inside and out.  She sees and brings out the beauty in everyone and that makes her beautiful.  The two flowers represent Ardith and her sister, Arlene.  Arlene is an important part of Ardith’s life so the two flowers represent how close they are to each other.  The sun represents her sunny and radiant personality, as well as hailing from California.  It also represents a part of the Philippine flag, because she is a proud Filipino.  The ocean waves represent Ardith’s love of the islands and her dream of living there one day with her family and friends.

The tree that joins all the elements together represent Ardith’s roots — she represents stability, strength, and wiseness to her friends and family.  The tree also represents Ardith’s alma mater — Stanford.  It is also reminiscent of the Japanese culture, which she has embraced in her life.  The multitude of colors in the background represent Ardith’s many layers as a person as well as her depth.

***

Awwwww!  Thanks for a birthday that I’ll never forget!

Me, Cyn, Cori, Anne, Liz

Me, Cyn, Cori, Anne, Liz

Pru also hung out with us to make the birthday celebration complete!

Pru also hung out with us to make the birthday celebration complete!

Last but not least, here I am with my boo, Brian.  I must've done something really good to have him in my life!

Last but not least, here I am with my boo, Brian. I must've done something really good to have him in my life!

2009 Philippine Independence Day Parade – NYC

Cori, Anne, Cory Aquino (aka Liz Casasola), & Ardith @ NYC Filipino Day 2009

Cori, Anne, Cory Aquino (aka Liz Casasola), & Ardith (Photo courtesy of Cori Kaylor)

Today was absolute chaos at the Philippine Independence Day Parade and Festival here in NYC!  Chaotic in both good and bad ways… It’s always an amazing feeling to be surrounded by THOUSANDS of Filipinos who are out celebrating their Pinoy Pride.  But it was SO packed that it was almost impossible to get food!  The one booth we chose even ran out of rice!  Needless to say, the crowd was appalled!  “Can you ee-MAHHHhh-jeen!?!”  Oh well…  It was still well worth the 45-minute wait for our 2 skewers of BBQ pork and the high price of my hair stinking like sweat and smokey, barbecued meat.

While I may be proud to be Filipino, I had no intention of showing up at the festival until the very end… Only our homegirl, Liz Casasola, could drag us out of bed before noon on a weekend!  She was scheduled to walk with fellow cast members for “Imelda – The Musical” which will open in NYC in September 2009.  She’ll play the role of Cory Aquino!…  She wisely gave us a 12:15pm time to show up at the parade.  So, Brian and I ran up to Madison Park by 12:30pm which meant we were in time for the REAL appearance of Liz in the parade at 2:15pm.  (I should’ve known she was gonna use the Filipino Time trick on us!)  Of course, we love Liz and we’re so proud of her!  You should all buy your Imelda tickets today!

All in all, it was a fun, sunny day in NYC hanging with the girls and bumping into old friends in the crowd.  Before we left, someone stopped and pointed to the stage and asked me, “What’s going on here?”  Being the big Filipino dork that I am, I shouted, “IT’S FILIPINO DAY!”  One day, I hope no one will have to wonder.  People will just KNOW that it’s Filipino Day.  Watch out!