You’ll Now See A Filipina Kick Butt in Tekken 7

It felt like a dream come true when I first heard that a Filipina character was joining the other Tekken martial artists. However, after looking her over, I couldn’t help but cock my head to the side in confusion.

Josie Rizal, whose name is an ode to the Philippine National Hero José Rizal, is a fighter specialized in Eskrima and Kick Boxing. My confusion first began with Josie’s name and, more importantly, who she was named after.

José Rizal is considered one of the greatest heroes of the Philippines and for anyone who is scratching the surface of Philippine history, he seems like a very good candidate to name the first Filipino Tekken character after. However, it is important to remember that Rizal was not known for violence but rather as a man who used his words to support a peaceful reformation of his motherland. Using his name as inspiration for a combat character makes Josie a walking paradox and has caused quite some controversy. Maybe naming her after the more militant Andrés Bonafacio, the “Father of the Philippine Revolution,” would be more fitting.

Next is her fighting style. For folks unfamiliar with the Philippine martial art, Eskrima is a fighting style that incorporates both hand-to-hand and weapon-based combat. Historically, Eskrima was practiced in secret amongst the commoner/peasant class, especially during Spanish colonization. It’s most popular form includes the arnis sticks–or “armor sticks”–made from bamboo. Some have commented that they would have liked to see Josie with this this key element.

The most debated aspect of Josie Rizal seems to be her costume design. Some point out that her clothing is no different from the dress of her other female counterparts, but others argue that her costume strays too far from traditional Filipino garb. For instance, her crop top seems to emulate the Japanese kimona with it’s bell sleeves and embroidery.

Aside from that, the costume tries very hard to showcase various aspects of Filipino culture– a lavish gold statement necklace that’s shaped into the iconic sun of the Filipino flag, sampaguita flowers that hang from the side of her hips, and even the colors of her costume (red, blue, white and yellow) which match the colors of the national flag. The critique? To some, her expensive accessories and even the material of her costume clash with the commoner/peasant fighting style.

My verdict? Despite these critiques, there’s a clear attempt to make it known that Josie is Filipino and it’s a clear Tekken adaptation. Instead of Tekken’s producer, Katsuhiro Harada, deleting Josie, I would much rather have her presence there and able to open a forum to discuss these topics in a way that the masses can understand.

What are your thoughts?

Featured image courtesy of




Meet Mutya, The New Filipina Barbie Doll We Can’t Get Enough Of

I know what you’re thinking. Barbie may not be the best role model for children (especially with all the unrealistic body standards), but we’ve got to hand it to Mattel, they’ve definitely put in effort to try and be inclusive.

In 2014, American Girl discontinued their one and only Asian American doll and we were devastated. After all, it’s not often that our little ones get the opportunity to see their culture and experiences reflected in something as mainstream as an American Girl doll. This is why we were three times happier when, while looking for an alternative Asian doll, we discovered that Barbie has been creating ethnically diverse Barbie dolls for years.

Most recently, a Filipina Barbie doll named Mutya Barbie has been added to the roster. Mutya is the third face in the Global Glamour Collection which also features Tribal Beauty Barbie and Venetian Muse Barbie.

Mutya Barbie was designed by Carlyle Nuera as his debut doll for The Barbie Collection. Needless to say, he made sure every single detail was given proper attention. It seems every aspect of the dress pays homage to Filipino culture. Not only did he choose to dress Mutya in a terno, a traditional Filipino dress worn on special occasions by women in the early 1900’s, but even the details of the dress try to capture the many aspects of Filipino culture and fashion.


Photo courtesy of Mattel

Nuera spoke to and gave more details about the beautiful doll:

“Mutya” means pearl or beauty or muse; it’s a girl’s name, and is also used in the titles of beauty pageants in the Philippines. Mutya Barbie® will have the Kira face sculpt; I know a lot of collectors have a lot of love and nostalgia for that face sculpt, as do I, since that was a face sculpt I grew up with!

Her organza overdress is a take on the terno, with the unmistakeable butterfly sleeves. The organza’s print references textiles of the different tribes in the Philippines, as well as the sun from the flag. The embroidery on the hem is inspired by the sampaguita, a jasmine flower that is the national flower of the Philippines. The details of Mutya Barbie’s jewelry refer back to tambourine jewelry as well.


If you’re looking to get Mutya on your shelf, you may have to move quickly. Mutya Barbie has a limited release of only 4,400 dolls and we have a feeling she’ll be sold out pretty quick.


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Why You Need to Try Filipino Fusion Food Truck Señor Sisig


If you’re a San Francisco local, you’ve probably seen your share of food trucks. My usual food truck spot to hit up is Daly City’s Off the Grid, and every Tuesday night I see the line for Señor Sisig curve and twist with people waiting to get a taste of some sisig.

So what is sisig you ask? Well, it’s pork dish that’s typically comprised of the tougher meats from the head, however, Señor Sisig uses the meatier shoulder pieces. Although recipes may vary according to family tradition, the meat of sisig is usually marinated in onions, soy sauce, garlic, vinegar and chili flakes. No matter the variation, sisig is a homecooked classic amongst many Filipinos.  Seriously, who can resist the perfect mixture of spicy, savory and sour flavors of sisig served on a skillet?


Photo courtesy of

Evan Kidera and Gil Payumo–creators of Señor Sisig–take the tradition of Filipino sisig and add two tortillas in the mix; thus, creating their signature sisig street tacos.


Señor Sisig has been apart of the food truck scene since 2010 and since then, they have been recognized as SF Weekly’s Best Food Truck for 4 years in a row. With that kind of reputation, it was only a matter of time before Guy Fierri caught on to the deliciousness. Back in 2013, during his Food Network show Diners, Drive In’s & Dives: An All American Road Trip, Guy Fierri made a stop in San Francisco’s South of Market (SoMa) district to check out what the buzz was all about. After sampling Señor Sisig’s tacos and adobo wings, even the Food Network host couldn’t quite pinpoint the flavor of the sisig tacos and adobo wings. “It’s not too sweet, not too spicy,” Fierri explained. “Not Asian, not Mexican, just Señor Sisig.”


More recently, Eddie Huang, the Fresh Off The Boat author and Baohaus chef, made a pitstop at the food truck while promoting his book in San Francisco.


Within his 24 hour layover in the city, Huang had a quick meet up with and they both grabbed a bite at Señor Sisig.  Amongst the bright yellow and red signage painted on the truck, the word “fusion” caught Huang’s attention.

“Fusion is when something gets appropriated and fused to dominant culture—that’s off-putting to the people it’s been taken from,” Huang explains. “What’s happening here isn’t fusion; it’s localized regional food. Bay Area Filipino is its own thing, like New York Jewish or New York Italian.”

But even with his sociopolitical analysis, he couldn’t deny that his sisig burrito was still delicious.


Photos courtesy of Senor Sisig.




Filipino Artist Uses Sun and Magnifying Glass to Create Detailed Portraits


As a child, I was left in awe after I discovered that the sun is the source of the earth’s heat and energy. I can still recall hunching over a piece of paper with a magnifying glass to test if the sun would leave a burn mark. As it turned it out, this was a much harder task than I had anticipated. Unlike Toy Story, where it only took Sid a few seconds to burn a spot on Woody’s forehead, this task required a lot of patience and a steady hand– I had neither.

However, in the Philippines, Jordan Mang-osan is doing what my 5-year-old self couldn’t do. He uses the power of the sun to create images from vast landscapes of Philippine’s cascading green rice terraces to larger-than-life portraits of Manny Pacquaio. Many pieces draw inspiration from the natural beauty of his home–the Cordilllera mountains. Much like Kalinga’s last traditional tattoo artist, his choice in medium stays true to his roots as he uses only a magnifying glass, the sun and wood– a method that has been coined as “solar pyrography.” It requires the utmost patience and poise.

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All photos courtesy of Jordan Mang-osan.


Filipino Actor Uses Makeup to Transform Into Female Celebs


Paolo Ballesteros, a Filipino host and actor, has suddenly been making headlines internationally. Surprisingly, it’s not his acting and hosting skills that’s given him viral attention. It’s actually his unbelievable makeup skills.

Before all this international attention, the 31-year-old was most known for his acting, modeling and hosting. More specifically, he was known for one of his earliest hosting gigs on the television show “Eat Bulaga.”

Recently, his Instagram account has jumped up to nearly 500,000 followers and understandably so. In addition to photos of his adorable daughter Keira, his Instagram is filled with unbelievable makeup transformations. In fact, Ballesteros currently known as the man who can transform himself into any female celebrity using makeup.

That’s right. Looks like Michelle Phan has some competition when it comes to being the ultimate makeup guru. With the help of skilled contouring and wigs, he has transformed into Drew Barrymore, Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Julia Roberts, and even Ariana Grande. Needless to say, he looks nothing like the girls he transformed into.

Because of his interest in makeup, many who are unfamiliar with Ballesteros have questioned his sexuality. Apparently, he has never minded the question. After all, this isn’t the first time. He has portrayed many gay roles in the past causing fans to question his preferences. Ballesteros has confirmed that he is heterosexual and clearly, he has no problem going against the gender stereotype which says makeup only interests women.

Check out the transformations below!

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Jennifer Lawrence

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Kim Kardashian

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Julia Roberts

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Kristen Stewart



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Tyra Banks

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Ariana Grande

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Emma Stone

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Keira Knightley

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Jennifer Anniston

See more here!


Filipino Basketball Prodigy Kobe Paras Commits to UCLA, Gains Thousands of Fans


It looks like Los Angeles will soon have a new Kobe to cheer for. Kobe Paras, a 17-year-old basketball prodigy from the Philippines, first gained major attention for his athletic skills when he participated in a 2013 Nike exhibition in Manilla. Despite the presence of LeBron James, the 6’6″ teen was able to slam the ball into the hoop. The move was caught on video soon went viral. It wasn’t long before Paras was known as “the kid who dunked on LeBron.”



But now it seems the young athlete is going for even bigger nicknames. Paras, who played for La Salle Greenhills before pursuing a career in the United States, currently attends LA Cathedral. Paras has apparently already received scholarship offers from UC Irvine, Fresno State, Texas Arlington, Arizona State, Portland State, and Boston College, but it wasn’t until last week that he received an offer he couldn’t turn down.

UCLA coach Steve Alford visited a Cathedral game to watch Paras practice and sure enough, by the end of the game Alford offered him a UCLA scholarship. It didn’t take long for Paras to commit.

“I have made my decision… I’m really happy to say that I have committed to UCLA!” Paras posted on his offcial Twitter account on Saturday. In 24 hours, he picked up 1,000 more Twitter followers. In fact, the young athlete now has over 50K Twitter followers.

In a video posted on the Middlebrooks Basketball Facebook account, Paras was asked to describe how it felt to have committed to the Bruins. “It’s an unbelievable feeling, especially for a kid coming from the Philippines, a place that no one even knows about that much,” he said. “I’ve just been here for a couple of months… I can’t explain that much. It’s just a great feeling, just amazing. I’m so excited.” Of course he ends with an enthusiastic yell.

Many are claiming that Paras gained his talent from his father Benjie. Los Angeles Times reports, “In 1989 [Benjie] became the only player in the history of the country’s professional basketball league to be the rookie of the year and the MVP in the same season.”

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Images courtesy of


Pharrell Williams Begs Filipina American Katriz Trinidad To Join His Team On “The Voice” (Video)


Just a few weeks ago, we showed you the incredibly talented Clara Hong who blew everyone away during her blind audition for The Voice.

Well it looks like we have yet another Asian contestant to root for. Filipino American Katriz Trinidad took the stage to sing the classic Etta James song, At Last. Needless to say, she impressed the judges and had three of them turn their chair around in less than 20 seconds of performing (gaining the applause of her many, many family members back stage). The most incredible part of all this? Trinidad is only 15-years-old.

During her performance, celebrity judge Pharrell Williams was so taken that he got on his feet and remained there for the rest of the performance. Blake Shelton also let out an enthusiastic “Yeah!” before clapping his hands mid-performance and grew even more enthusiastic as she hit her final note with ease.

Celeb judge Gwen Stefani also turned her chair to try and get the young singer to join her team, making Adam Levine the only to leave his chair unturned. Despite this, Levine acknowledged that the other judges would have quite the fight for Trinidad. “Congratulations, they’re gonna lose their minds.” he laughed.

Pharrell wasted no time. “I never thought that I would find something that I usually look for for my own label,” he gushed. “I’ve been dreaming for an artist like you all my career.”

“Just remember these words,” he continued before kneeling down. “I want you on my team so bad. And I’ve never done this.”

Blake then took over and added that Katriz was born to be a star. Gwen Stefani followed this up by detailing the way Trinidad sang.

“You started out so soft and controlled and you just ramped, and ramped, and ramped ‘til the end where you hit a note that was so beautiful.” Stefani said.

She added some constructive criticism by saying the performance was almost too perfect and too rehearsed. In the future, Gwen suggests Trinidad strip down the perfection.

In the end Trinidad went with her gut and chose Pharrell.



MUST SEE: Filipino Girl Group Perform Breathtaking “Let it Go” Cover on Korean Show


I know, I know. You’re tired of “Let it Go” covers and I don’t blame you. In fact, when this video popped up on my newsfeed, I let out an exasperated sigh with an eye roll on the side. Again? 

But what stopped me from scrolling on was the incredible amount of attention this video was receiving. Koreaboo, a K-Pop entertainment website, posted the video on their Facebook and within 4 hours, the video gained a incredible 30,000 likes and nearly 20,000 shares.  Clearly, there was something different about this cover.

As it turns out, the video features four Pinays who were on Superstar K, a South Korean television talent show series. Trust me when I say this cover blew me away, and I’ve seen quite a handful of “Let it Go” covers.

Go ahead and check it out for yourself. I promise, it’s worth it.


Not tired of the Frozen mania? Check out some of our favorite Youtube Covers of “Let it Go” featuring Asian artists!

Americans Taste Filipino Street Food and Are Pleasantly Surprised


Last month we all rolled our eyes at Americans overreacting to Asian food where, as you can guess from the title, a few taste testers made it seem like Asian food was the most horrible thing in human existence. Let’s not kid ourselves here. Asian food is amazing —end of story. (Am I biased? Maybe a little.)

So you can imagine our fear when these same Buzzfeed taste testers decided to try some Filipino street food. After all, we’ve seen this before and it wasn’t pretty. A controversial blogpost titled “I Would Rather Go Hungry Than Eat Filipino Street Food Again!” made its way onto the Web a few months ago and sparked some controversy for its writer, Agness Walewinder.

The story received nearly 700 responses and even led other writers, such as travel writer Nathan Allen, to allege that Walewinder was intentionally abrasive and offensive just to gain attention for her blog.

For instance, Walewinder comments, “No wonder why [sic], in the north, the vast majority of Filipino kids and young people are overweight. This is something we have noticed straight away. People in young age [sic] are huge and it’s due to poor quality of food.”



After such controversy, we couldn’t help but expect an even worse reception in Buzzfeed’s Filipino street food taste test. After all, these are the people who cringed at Japanese snacks. (Seriously, how do you not like jelly cups and green tea Kit Kats?)

So you can imagine our pleasant surprise to discover that Filipino street food was rather well received this time around. Although the tasters showed some hesitation before taking a bite, they were quick to admit that the street food was pretty good and even ended up enjoying many of the treats. Finally, we’ve found something they’re satisfied with!

Check out the video below and excuse me while I go indulge in some turon.



Filipino Teen Creates Footwear That Can Charge Phones & Access Electricity

A fifteen-year-old Filipino teen named Angelo Casimiro has created a new way to charge a phone or flashlight with footwear that can generate electricity by walking.

He recognizes that this concept may not seem necessary for everyone. After all, who wants to walk when they can just plug their phone into a charger and go on with their full day of watching Netflix? Well, this is certainly not the average day for everyone.

“I’m a Filipino. I live in the Philippines. And just by looking around my surroundings, I can see that a lot of people are suffering from poverty,” explains Casimiro. “A simple source of light is a big deal for people who don’t have electricity.”

The footwear was Casimiro’s entry to Google’s Science Fair this year. He realized that the average human takes 7,000 steps a day and wanted to find a way to utilize that energy.

Of course, this will still take quite some effort. During Casimiro’s experiments, he was able to give his phone about 10 minutes of battery life after two hours of playing basketball. None the less, this is clearly a start to something extraordinary.

Learn more about his invention with the video below.