Here’s another throwback pulled from my freshman year column at The Hoya:
There has been lots of buzz these days about inclusive growth and wealth redistribution. So much so that even a humble intern like myself feels the need to grapple with such big issues. It’s come up at every social innovation event I’ve been to and with every entrepreneur I’ve spoken with in Manila. Even back on the Hilltop, The Hoya recently published a column called “The Promise of Reverse Innovation” (The Hoya, July 2, 2015, A3). In a nutshell, the idea is to create business models that target the poorest of the poor. Instead of focusing on wealthy nations, the goal is to look beyond the developed world and break into the untapped markets of those in poverty.
Theoretically, this approach is a win-win. Businesses increase profits and impoverished communities move one level up on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. What’s there to criticize? Up until this past weekend, I couldn’t think of anything. This was the groundbreaking answer to development. But then, my fellowship took a trip to the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm, poster child of inclusive growth for Filipino slums. There, I realized that inclusive growth could take on many forms, some sinister, some revolutionary. Depending on the context, combining optimized profit with social change can be insidiously ironic or incredibly empowering. Continue reading
I’m about to write about economic inequality in the Philippines while sipping on third-wave coffee in a boutique cafe. Is something wrong with this picture? I’ve only lived in the Philippines for a month, but I’ve jumped headfirst into the conversation on its social issues. Within my summer fellowship, I’m the “bougie” one, thanks to my love of yoga, food blogs, vegetarianism and indie magazines. All these things now feel questionably irrelevant outside my East Coast bubble, but I still find myself pining for that lifestyle in Manila. As a Filipino-American returning to the motherland, I’m constantly reminded to “check my privilege.” It’s been harder than I thought. Continue reading
How do I describe the textures of Manila?
Standing at a busy street corner with rumbling jeepneys and pressing crowds around me, I try to pin down the unfamiliar energies of the city. For me, it’s an ambivalent sensation of excitement, unease, curiosity and caution, all rolled into one. While trying to navigate Manila’s vibrant, gritty streets, I’ve learned firsthand the importance of flexibility and respect when it comes to the unknown. As I witness the mix of East and West here in Manila, I realize that the chances of confronting the unfamiliar are increasing for everyone. Continue reading
When I think of who I am, my first instinct is to define myself using personality traits rather than by ethnicity. I often wonder why many multicultural people intuitively do the opposite. Have I dishonored my heritage by not prioritizing Filipino-American as my core identity? My personal reflections on race have been admittedly stifled. I probably don’t give enough praise to Filipino culture as I should. I’m not sure if I’m to blame for this or if my parents are, with their progressive break from conventional Filipino customs when they came to America. Then again, exactly how much attention does my cultural identity merit, when in reality, the things I believe distinguish me (indecisiveness, corny humor, chocolate habit, introversion, soccer) don’t involve it? In such a global and diverse community as Georgetown, just how important is one’s ethnicity when it comes to identity? Continue reading
Miami. A city that’s spicy, hot, and larger than life, with a playful name that swings in your mouth. It was raining when I arrived, but as the saying goes, a rainy beginning makes for a sunny road. Fabled saying or not, it luckily held true in my case this past week.
On my first night I had a bowl of warm edamame sprinkled with sea salt. After that came a roll of sweet potato sushi with a creamy avocado center. Miami, as I’ve come to learn, is the lover of good food. It’s also the lover of turquoise waters, jewelry-box homes, and beauts in snappy heels. This mini archipelago of fine cuisine and glitzy clubs, strung together by high-arched bridges, sparkled and flashed like the ocean on a sunny day.
I don’t know if it’s all for real or for pretend, but in this city it could matter less. Fake it ’till you make it, and when you do, make sure it’s big, splashy, and full of verve.
I’ve been on the lookout for fresh new looks for fall, especially since my upcoming first year in college deserves a wardrobe upgrade. For the first time, I won’t have a dress code or uniform to abide by. So instead, I hereby proclaim this H&M Studio collection my new dress code to start with.
All images are via luelle, which is an excellent fashion/lifestyle mag I just discovered. You’ll love it if you’re a fan of Elin Kling or Freshnet.
First and foremost, drop by and follow me on Bloglovin. Next off, meet my two friends, Ross and Shannon. I won’t see them for four months because in five days I’m up and going off to university! ‘Tis a bittersweet affair. Enjoy some snaps of a few urban suburbans kicking it out on the septa. There’s nothing like Mexican food, city lights, and public transportation to take you away from cul-de-sac-ville.
An important announcement, an even more important metaphor, and a random moment of life reflection. I’ll regret this later, but let’s get personal.
I once had a secret dream two years ago to become a legitimate fashion blogger. Today, my furtive efforts to achieve that dream have been revealed. Against all odds, I have officially imported my old fashion blog of two years, Coco Carte Blanche, into my new supposedly literary blog of barely two months. (The Fraicheurie Files starts where Coco Carte Blanche ends, after the post, “l’art pour l’art,” and with the inaugural post, “A Riotous Introduction of Sorts“). The result is a mishmash mutt of a personal compendium with little sense of what direction it’s headed in or where it came from to begin with, which works well as a life metaphor for me personally.
Moving on to that important metaphor.
What I wore to brunch in the city with my dad and little sister. A soft lace bralet is highly recommended and complements a cozy meal of pancakes and omelets. See the insta of what I ate by clicking here.
Notes: Chuck Taylors can be subbed for a pair of Total Aluminum Supergas.
Here’s to day trips in the city looking at art and drinking green smoothies, all spent with a top-quality human being who snapped this photo. A little Matisse never hurt anyone. Happy Tuesday!