Benito Vergara, an academic and web editor, gives an insider’s look at Daly City, California, the unofficial capitol of Filipino America, in today’s NYT. When I’m out on the West Coast, I try to always find time to visit Daly City with its amalgam of Filipino turo-turo restaurants, shopping malls crowded with Fil-Am teenagers, and its hybrid vibe of Philippine and American cultural values. It’s one of the few places in the U.S. where I don’t feel self-conscious or marginalized, where eating with a spoon and fork is the norm rather than the exception.
Among other concepts like “crab mentality” of Filipinos, Vergara discusses the beauty of the predominantly Filipino community:
There’s this joke that Filipinos like telling: “You know why it’s always foggy in Daly City? Because all the Filipinos turn on their rice cookers at the same time.”
It’s another indelible quality of being Filipino: the ability to laugh at oneself and her circumstances. In a more religious sense, it’s also the concept of “bahala na,” or, roughly translated, “come what may.”