What is this blog about?
Why lie? Started in late October 2010, this site was inspired by "¡Ask a Mexican!" and "Ask a Korean!" -- two fine Q&A sites/blogs that provide answers to questions that confound, baffle, puzzle, vex, bug, stump, or even annoy people about the Mexicans/Mexico and Koreans/Korea, respectively.
Hopefully, AAF! will also grow to become a robust site worthy of being called the go-to site for people who have questions about the Philippines and the Filipino diaspora. Of course, the main aim of the site is to hopefully make other people understand the Filipino people better. Not an ignoble aim, don't you think?
But note and note well: The Filipino vets his factual assertions as much as practicable but mostly everything that is in this blog is the opinion of ONE person who does not claim to be an authority on anything written about here, okay? Additionally, neither does he claim to speak on behalf of over 100 million individuals spread across the globe speaking over 170 Filipino languages!
Who is "The Filipino"?
"The Filipino" (aka "The Pinoy") was born and raised in the Philippines but, like millions before him, decided to migrate to the United States for personal reasons and after much soul-searching way too complicated and too melodramatic to detail here. He studied economics and finance; fell in love with history, philosophy and literature; and then read law (which he enjoyed immensely).
What makes The Filipino think he's qualified to answer Pinoy-related questions?
You mean aside from the fact that he's very opinionated?
Well, let's put it this way: He's lived the life of a dirt-poor Filipino (that's what he was before -- literally "dirt" poor!) but he's familiar with the lifestyles of the super-rich Filipinos as well (not because he's turned into one; he just happened to become friends with some of them, having lucked out to be able to attend good schools). In various capacities, he's dealt with people from different backgrounds, motivations, affiliations and inclinations. Thus, he's got some familiarity with all sorts of Filipino sensibilities -- including those of the poorest kanto boy and the richest konyo kid, the top dog and the jolog, the santo and the gago, the OFW and the CEO.
He was born in a Luzon province but went to college in Manila. He has also actually lived in five countries across three continents, and has traveled extensively to many, many countries. Thus, he has observed Filipinos in almost every conceivable environment and situation (this is an exaggeration, of course), leading to all sorts of responses from him, mostly involuntary: pity and tears in some instances; revulsion and outright anger in others; and more often than not, sheer amazement, amusement and/or bemusement (we're talking about Filipinos after all).
He's a Catholic but not dogmatic, religious but not pious. He questions a lot of things. He's comfortable around all sorts of people if he's in the mood to mingle (which is most of the time). He's an extrovert but finds it difficult to be plastic. He loves music and believes Filipino traditional music is export-quality.
He's generally optimistic and idealistic but worries he'll grow old bitter and jaded. Thankfully, he is happily married (and would like to stay that way) and feels very blessed as a father to loving kids.
He cares a lot about the Philippines even if he finds a lot to criticize about it (foremost of which is the country's politicians). Together with his wife, he tries to help, in his own small ways, the less-fortunate Filipinos back in the land of his birth.
But why is The Filipino blogging anonymously?
Because he's also a lawyer like the more experienced "Ask blogger" known as The Korean, he too found it prudent for his firm and his clients' sake to keep his identity a secret (this way, it actually saves his family and close friends from any unwanted embarrassment as well). Besides, he thinks writing a blog where the topics are the focus of the blogposts and not the person behind the articles makes a lot of sense. Too often, people discount the great opinions of some writers because of the writers' perceived affiliations ("He's too liberal!" or "He's too elitist!" or "He's too pro-Aquino!" or whatever). And sometimes The Filipino sees writers get too full of themselves too because of their fame. The Filipino is not after personal fame at all -- just fame for this blog because he wants his opinions to find their way too in the so-called "marketplace of ideas." He figured -- who knows? -- some people may actually find them worth something. (And if some of the private emails which he has started receiving are any indication, it seems he's in fact reaching some people positively too.)
Satisfied? Then go ahead...
Email your questions and/or comments now to The Filipino at firstname.lastname@example.org! And connect with him on Facebook where he's known as "Ask ThePinoy."
(P.S. BTW, The Filipino is not getting paid at all to do this as it's just a side hobby, so if you're not happy with the speed and the way he answers your questions, or anything related to this blog whatsoever, take it easy on him, will you? He's not over-sensitive but, you know, life's too short -- so why be mean and nasty about this blog? He appreciates thoughtful debates, so if you're mad about an opinion he expressed and you think you have a better opinion, post it as a comment! Fair enough?)