Across the Pacific: From Tropics to Snow

Tagaytay City, August 2010

I was reading Meg Crane’s zine when I saw her ad calling for submissions for her zine’s April/May 2014 issue. The topic was about travelling and journeys. It was something I could completely relate to, and it was something that I wanted to share to everyone. And because I would rather write my story than talk about it, I signed up to write it.

I had a difficult time writing it because I cried a few times when I was writing it. When I’m writing, I usually write a few sentences then read them again. So every time I reread them or if the idea really resonated to me, I tear up. Even after reading it for this post, I teared up a little bit.

Here’s a short excerpt (or parts where I always get emotional):

When you’re a minority, it feels completely different. It changes your world and your view about the world.

You feel like you don’t belong. You feel like they’re giving you disgusted looks. You feel like they’re judging you. You feel like they’re being condescending. You feel like they’re not treating you right just because you’re different. Your self-esteem goes all the way down until you lose the self-confidence you’ve built your entire life.

It’s hard. It’s really hard. But everything will be alright.

You will only fully understand how it feels to be discriminated when you have been discriminated.

This is one of my favourite parts:

I’ve accepted that I will never become white. I have learned to embrace my identity. It took me six years to figure this out and I think I’m still in that journey. The journey of finding and accepting myself.

Before coming here, I thought it was going to be easy and simple. All I had to do was get my education and get a job to help myself and my parents. I was 19 then. I was young. I was naive. I have learned so much in the past six years that sometimes I find it hard to believe that I have survived in Canada this long.

It takes courage to leave your past and start a new life.

My story doesn’t end here. There’s a reason why I moved here, so I have to know what that is.

Life is full of ups and downs. There are times when you’re at the top, and there are times when you’re at the bottom. There’s nothing wrong with starting over. Leaving your past and learning from your mistakes make you a better and stronger person. So whatever it is that you’re going through now, don’t give up. Don’t lose hope.

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Grab a copy of Cockroach zine’s April/May 2014 issue to know more about my story and to read other people’s stories about their own journeys. Email them at cockroachzine@gmail.com, follow them on Twitter @cockroachzine, or like them on Facebook. You can also grab a copy on Etsy or at Winnipeg Makers & Market.

Interviews with Joseph Vincent and Andrew Garcia

Driven, Winnipeg’s aftermarket car show, was held at the RBC Convention Centre on July 13, 2013. I was lucky enough to go to the show to ogle at the beautiful cars, watch performances by local talents, and spend a few minutes with Joseph Vincent and Andrew Garcia. This is the interview.

group photo

Andrew Garcia, Ron Cantiveros of Filipino Journal, me, and Joseph Vincent

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Joseph Vincent and Andrew Garcia in Winnipeg

By Lora Quitane

YouTube artists Joseph Vincent and Andrew Garcia performed at Driven on July 13, Saturday. It’s their first-time in Winnipeg and Filipino Journal had a chance to speak to them.

Andrew Garcia is a YouTube artist and an American Idol Season 9 finalist. After Idol, he continued making collaborations with other YouTube artists. He is a member of YTF Legacy (Yesterday, Today, Forever) with Ryan Higa, Chester See, Victor Kim, D-Trix, and JR Aquino.

What made you join American Idol?

Before Idol, I did YouTube videos and the response was really good. My cousin told me to try a bigger scale. I wasn’t sure because I just wanted to do this for fun. He hit me up the night before the trials and told me to audition for American Idol. My friend was like, ‘Yeah, I’m going there tomorrow, do you want to come with me?’ and everything just worked out. I was like, ‘I had to do it.’ It’s like there was a path provided for me. So I did and it worked out great. I got a great deal of exposure and beautiful fans that keep supporting so I’m glad I did it.

Any advice to those who want to pursue their dreams?

If you love it, just do it. You’ll always go through something no matter what. As long as you have a little push and support, you could go a long way.

Any tours or new projects you’re working on?

I’m doing a west coast tour with Travis Garland. YouTuber Josh Golden and I are making the song that I sang [at the event]. Dumbfoundead and I are talking about doing another collab. I also want to do another collab with Joseph Vincent because I love him.

When is your Turbulence album coming out?

I reached a speed bump with that. The producer that I was working with was just swamped with his regular job. I’m not gonna take him away from making money and make it out of his living so I told him to do what he gotta do and I’ll figure out a way and now I’m working hard to get my album out.

What can you say about Winnipeg fans?

Fans are cool. I love them. And there are so many women out here. You guys are so beautiful here, I mean, what is going on? Winnipeg, I love you.

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Joseph Vincent Encarnacion became popular from his YouTube videos. He has gone a long way from posting videos in 2008. He still makes videos in his bedroom; the difference is that his channel now has 350,000 plus subscribers with over 50 million views on YouTube. His first album, Blue Skies, was released in October 2012.

Who inspired you to start singing?

My dad got me my guitar when I was 15. He was the one who directed me to YouTube. He showed it to me and said, ‘If you wanna do this for a living, it’s a start.’ So I said, ‘Yeah, maybe.’ I wasn’t sure because I just got to college and I was trying to transition from high school to college at that time. So I posted a couple of videos, got a good response, and I just kept doing it for fun. And now, I’m in Winnipeg, playing a show.

How did you find the audience response?

It was awesome. I always get nervous before a show regardless of how long I’ve been doing it. It’s my first time here in Winnipeg and the fact that everyone was attentive, listening, and cheering was awesome.

You visited the Philippines in February for the Bayani Tour. How was it?

Gawad Kalinga and Seafood City put the whole tour together to bring Asian Americans back to the homeland. We grew up in America and we kind of lose sight of where we come from and it was eye-opening for me. If my parents didn’t move to America, my life would be insane. It would be so different. It made me thankful for what I have and thankful for what they’re doing.

Did you try balut?

No. AJ (Rafael) did though. He’s like, ‘Come on, do it!’, and I was like, ‘I can’t.’ I probably could eat the egg part, but the bird part, I don’t know. Maybe. I was just nauseous that day. Next time. But I had Jollibee—burger steak for days. It was delicious. And a lot of chicken tocino.

When is your next album coming out?

I’m working on a 5-song EP right now. I’m trying to think about what to call the EP and just waiting for the right time to start going into recording it—mostly pre-production stuff.

When are you coming back to Winnipeg?

I don’t know. When are you guys gonna have me back?

Paterson GlobalFoods Institute opens doors

I wasn’t too busy the beginning of second semester first year so I decided to try to write for The Projector again. This is a quote from the story but here’s the link of the full article: Paterson GlobalFoods Institute opens doors.

“This is a phenomenal building. Similar to The Roblin Centre, it’s a unique blend of historic preservation and cutting-edge environmental ef- ficiency measures,” said manager of sustainability Sara MacArthur. “Not only is it going to be reduc- ing energy consumption and water consumption compared to a standard building of the same size, you’re also enhancing the social sustainability of the city by breathing life back into a building that used to be vacant for years.”

Published on January 21, 2013 – Volume 46, Number 10

Shelters provide for homeless during winter

This is another article that I wrote for The Projector, Red River College’s student newspaper, not for an assignment, but because I was interested in it. I took this story because poverty and homelessness is important to me. I grew up in a city where I see children on the streets asking for food or money. I grew up in a corrupt country, where there is a visible social divide.

I posted quotes from the story but the full article is here: Shelters provide for homeless during winter

“You can’t sleep outside at 40 below. You just can’t,” said Judy Richichi,  director of communications for Siloam Mission. “It’s bitter, it’s cold, and it’s very lonely when you’re in those conditions.”

Published on December 3, 2012 – Volume 46, Number 8

RRC throws international students welcome party

This assignment was for first year Journalism class. I wrote this article for The Projector, Red River College’s student newspaper. I could relate to this story and the students I interviewed because they’re immigrants like myself.

This quote is from the story this is the full article: RRC throws international students welcome party.

Lauren Konrad, the student integration co-ordinator at RRC, said some immigrant students can struggle to get connected to the campus community.

“The welcome party is the college’s way to ease that transition and to ensure that everyone is enjoying their time at Red River College,” said Konrad.

Gemma Elomina is glad to have survived the challenge of going back to school in a new country.

“Now it seems like a small problem,” she said. “My family motivates me to work hard. You have to work hard if you really want something. And I have friends I met here who support me.”

Published on November 19, 2012 – Volume 46, Number 7