contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.

P.O. Box 31928
San Francisco, CA, 94131-0928

A space to encourage writing of Filipino American literature and the arts




Philippine American Writers and Artists blog for lit/arts events, reviews, news, and opportunities.

Filtering by Tag: Jean Vengua

The Commonwealth Cafe Blog: The Three Stars


Please check out Jean Vengua's Commonwealth Cafe Blog:

Notice the focus on labor issues on the front page.

With editor-in-chief D.L. Marcuelo and N.C. Villanueva, Luis Agudo co-founded the “semi-monthly” Three Stars in Stockton in 1928. The stars in its title referred to the three stars in the flag of the Philippine republic, which represented the north, central, and southern sections of the Philippines. Agudo was also founder and editor of the Philippine Independent News (later the Philippines Mail), which he founded in Salinas in 1921.

The newspaper highlighted global politics and related them to local issues. The editors were especially interested in pointing out the problems of imperialist exploitation of natural as well as labor resources. D.L. Marcuelo was a former pensionado and an ardent Philippine nationalist. An outspoken and articulate attorney, he was a respected and important community figure. An active member of the Filipino businessmen’s association, he also—with Luis Agudo, and the support of many Filipino workers— founded the Filipino Labor Union (F.L.U.), as promoted by Pablo Manlapit, in 1933—not an easy project, since those involved with the project were often subject to attacks.

Read more.

Jean Vengua: On Stewardship and Curation


Check out Jean Vengua's "On Stewardship and Curation," at To be a Filipino American writer, whether or not one is aware of the historical and political implications, is to dip into a stream of writing and speeches produced by Filipinos from just before the beginning of the 20th century, through the 1920s and 1930s, up to and through World War II.

The authors include, for example, Sixto Lopez and Clemencia Lopez, whose passionate speeches moved the Anti-Imperialist League and New England Women’s Suffrage Association; editors and contributors to the Filipino Students Magazine, who railed against the exhibition of Filipinos at the St. Louis World’s Fair; and the publishers, editors, and writers for the myriad Filipino newspapers and magazines published on the West Coast in the 1930s, whose incisive and often angry editorial prose on labor and civil rights spurred strikes in the agricultural fields. There were many more writers than those I mention here, and their work in periodicals was published not only on the West Coast, but also in the Mid-west, in New York and Washington D.C., and likely any area to which Filipinos migrated, and stayed for any lengthy period.

Our literature has evolved from letters, editorials, essays, short stories, and poems published in periodicals, and even from testimonios, in the case of Filipinos whose personal experiences of vigilante attacks on the labor camp near Salinas were written and published in the Philippines Mail.

Read more.

Commonwealth Cafe: Helen Rillera's "Ambition and the Filipina" (1935)


Check out Jean Vengua's Commonwealth Cafe website, which "contains editorials, feature essays (often on topics of labor and representation of Filipinos in the media), literary reviews, and poetry written by Filipinos in the western United States during the early 1900s through the early 1940s." She has posted Helen Rillera's "Ambition and the Fiipina" essay, originally published in 1935 in the Philippines Mail. An excerpt:

Yes, girls, it is a thrill, a fascinating and an interesting one, I mean, being here in this beautiful country, amidst adventure and animation. It is not at all an [exaggeration] to say we are lucky.

While we are here, we are having an opportunity to live, which our own sisters back home never had and may never have. what lovely times they boast of there, but I'm sure there are not many that could really excel our own experiences here. It seems that everything is to our advantage, except the fact that they are at home, where it is home, where their appreciation of 'Filipinas' is not from mere heresay, but from actually knowing it. If you have ever known and loved the Philippines, you will realize the significance of this point.

In the Islands today, we hear of youth rising to fame in the respective worlds of drama, art, literature, and music. We know the interest for the Fine Arts has kindled quickly and now burns with fervor. We are informed of talents, ambitions, and finally success of our girls there. And we are proud [are] we not, that the products of our native land are a credit to its worth and pride? But shouldn't we  [be] proud, shouldn't we be inspired to do our own [limited] bit, eve if we are far from home? I have already mentioned we have advantages and opportunities here, and surely we would not admit that we have less intelligence or less talent than they.

Read more (scroll down).