Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

May 22, 2015

No Longer Invisible: Lauren Macalalad

This personal submission is a part of the “No Longer Invisible: In Their Own Words” project, a story series established to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month at the UW.

Lauren Macalalad

Name: Lauren Macalalad

Identity: Filipino American

Intended Major: Communication

Intended Minor: Spanish

Personal Interest: “My favorite Filipino folk dance to perform is called Cariñosa, the national dance of the Philippines. I have only been performing Filipino folk dances for less than a year, but in total I know about five different dances.”

“As a women of color, part of the Asian American / Pacific Islander community and a proud Filipino American, I need to be visible so I can proudly represent my culture, my heritage, my family, my history, and the country in which I am deeply rooted.”

“While my parents left all that they had in the Philippines in order to give my sisters and I all that we have now, the only thing my parents did not give us was their native tongue. My dad speaks Ilocano and Tagalog, but when my mom and dad communicate to each other, they both speak Tagalog. I always wished that my parents taught me Tagalog. Sometimes when my parents speak Tagalog to each other, I feel somewhat distanced from them. I feel that when I can’t understand what my parents are talking about there is a part of them that I am not familiar with – almost like there is a part of them I haven’t met yet. Many times I have asked my parents “how come you never taught us Tagalog?” Their reply was usually that they wanted English to be our main language.

Being deprived of something that plays such a great role in any culture, I have come to appreciate language and everything it encompasses. I appreciate the Tagalog language so much that I now make a conscious effort to learn from my parents. Whenever they say something in Tagalog I ask them to translate it for me so that I can understand, learn and grow because what I have realized is that within any language there is culture that cannot be translated into words. This part of culture, the part only found within language, can be witnessed in sounds and ways of speaking, pronunciation, and all the cultural nonverbal codes that are also used when communicating.

I have taken 6 years of Spanish now and am still continuing to learn. Knowing Spanish has brought me closer to my parents and even learning Tagalog due to the Spanish influence on Filipino languages. I understand more of what my parents speak in Tagalog since a lot of it sounds similar to Spanish.

While I realize that Spanish is not Tagalog, nor is Tagalog Spanish, being able to pick up on the small words and phrases that mean the same thing in both languages, I become one step closer to gaining a better understanding of the tongue I was never given.”

View mores stories from the “No Longer Invisible: In Their Own Words” project.