The presenters for the 4th International Babaylan Conference consist of community members, artists, activists, educators, academics, healers, and more who responded to our Call for Proposals and were selected to share their gifts and experiences by a special committee comprised of conference organizers from both CfBS and Kapwa Collective.
In our Call for Proposals, applicants were asked to respond to one of the following themes: Listening to the Land, Art and Healing Practices as Spiritual, Cultural, and Liberation Movements, or Contending with White Supremacy, Settler Colonialism, Orientalism, and Patriarchy.
Read more below about these gifted and passionate members of the diverse CfBS community from across the diaspora!
Alejandro Mayoral Baños
"Indigenizing the Digital World and How Indigenous Friends Association (IFA) Came To Be" (Co-presented with Althea Balmes)
Alejandro is an Indigenous Mixtec academic and activist, who is currently working with organizations in Canada and Mexico deploying participatory and community-driven projects by/with/for Indigenous peoples. As a Ph.D. Candidate at York University, his academic research focuses on decolonial computing, intersecting in several areas such as Indigenous embodiment in digital spaces, decolonial software engineering, Indigenous data sovereignty, Indigenous infrastructure and decolonial pedagogies for technology. He is the creator and founder of the Indigenous Friends Initiative in Canada and Magtayaní in Mexico.
Ashley Caranto Morford
"Living Respectfully as Pilipinx Settlers: Indigenous-Pilipinx Solidarities in Joshua Whitehead’s Jonny Appleseed and Catherine Hernandez’s Scarborough"
Ashley Caranto Morford (she/her; ) is an activist-scholar and a Ph.D. Candidate in Literature and Book History at the University of Toronto. Ashley is a member of the Pilipinx diaspora on her mother’s side and is British on her father’s side. Her work is in relationship with Indigenous studies, Indigenous-Pilipinx solidarities, activist scholarship, anti-colonialism, pedagogical research, and digital humanities.
"Indigenizing the Digital World and How Indigenous Friends Association (IFA) Came To Be" (Co-presented with Althea Balmes)
Althea Balmes is a multidisciplinary visual storyteller, artist-educator and UX researcher. Her work explores themes and stories of migration, labour and personhood expanding on the decolonial aesthetics of the Filipino diasporic experience. As an artist-educator, she takes an anti-oppressive, decolonize framework to build and deliver curriculum. Her illustrations and comics have been published in Briarpatch Magazine, Rice Paper Magazine, Our Times Magazine, Carte Blanche, Looseleaf Magazine and by Between the Lines Press. Althea is the other member of Kwentong Bayan Collective. As a UX researcher she helps designers and developers create consensual, accessible and ethical digital experiences.
Babaylan Queer Pinay Mutual Support Group
(JB Ramos, Melanya Liwanang Aguila, Jo SiMalaya Alcampo, Lisa Valencia-Svensson, and PJ Alafriz)
"From Babaylan to SAWA to Queer Pinays: Feminist Collectives as Healing Practice"
Babaylan was founded in 1993 when a group of young Pinay feminists in Toronto decided to come together at the 519 Church Street Community Centre for mutual support. They continue to practice community-based acts of resistance and belonging, rooted in an ethics of generosity, solidarity, and love.
Their stories are documented in the anthologies: TIBOK: Heartbeak of the Filipina Lesbian and Diasporic Intimacies: Queer Filipinos and Canadian Imaginaries, and various independent films.
Carmen De Jesus
San Rafael, CA
"An Indigenous and Galactic Heart: Humility, Collective Conditioning, and Trans-lineage Healing" (co-presented with M. Rako Fabionar)
Carmen De Jesus is grateful for her recent journey with breast cancer, or as she experienced it - her sacred Soul initiation, where she learned to open to and trust her connection to her ancestors, elementals and celestial allies - the Medicine of connection that brought a deeper healing than any Western medicine (although she is also thankful for her allopathic healers and treatments). A second-gen Fil-Am, Carmen was raised in a Baptist household, in a family that prioritized assimilation over preservation of cultural tradition, or connection to her ancestral lineage. She is an alumni of UC Santa Cruz, which is where she fell in love with the woods. As a healer, she has certifications in Hypnotherapy, Neurolinguistic Programming, Timeline Therapy and has also pursued study in trauma repatterning, reclaiming body sovereignty and consent. Her most recent deep dive into the sacred realms has been as a practitioner of the divination and spiritual rituals of the Dagara tribe of Burkina Faso, a lineage into which she is being formally initiated.
Carmen is also a screenwriter and playwright whose contribution to the Filipinx diasporic arts includes the feature length film, Ang Pamana: The Inheritance, Prison Dancer: The Musical and Prison Dancer: The Interactive Webmusical Youtube webseries.
Currently, she works at the School of Consent, producing trainings and evangelizing the Wheel of Consent (a framework for relating and tool for touch practitioners and sexuality educators). She finds and shares healing through singing, storytelling, laughing, walking in nature, therapeutic touch and cuddling and soon, divination. Carmen's most recent participation with the CFBS was as an organizer and vocalist for the CFBS Grief Retreat in Nov 2018.
Christina Verano Sornito Carter
"Tuyaw: A Reminder from the Dead or Another Way to Talk abuot the Weather"
Christina Verano Sornito Carter earned her Ph.D in sociocultural anthropology in 2015 from Columbia University. Currently, Christina is an assistant professor and co-director of the App State Ethnography Lab in the Department of Anthropology at Appalachian State University, located in the territory of ancestral Cherokee peoples.
Christina's book manuscript in-progress "In the House of Santa Regla: Specters of the Postcolonial Philippines", examines the convergence of global capitalism, colonial histories, the indigenous spirit world, and rapid climate change in the central Philippines. In addition, Christina writes and makes films about time, magic, climate change in the tropics, intergenerational trauma, the resonances of modernity in Southeast Asia, and decolonizing methods in media anthropology.
She is also learning how to create a world for bees and plants to thrive, directs surrealist political theater, and attempts daily communication with her canine companion. Christina is also a Core Member of the Center for Babaylan Studies.
"The Role of Birth Work as Means of Decolonization, Liberation, and Justice"
Christine Elisa L Santos is a space holder and ritual builder, who works on healing and transformation through various aspects of justice work for communities of color. Christine is a full-spectrum doula with Restoring Our Own through Transformation (ROOTT), where she works in the community for a healing justice, challenging structural walls so that people may thrive in dignity. She has been building in the community as a bridge along borders to restore connections to self, spirit, and land. Stepping into this work, she aims to bring agency to communities through practices of decolonization, restoration, and reproductive justice.
"Moving Stories: Dance Collage as a tool for Reclaiming Narratives and Personal Healing"
Coley Curry is a dance artist, story teller and facilitator. She obtained her bachelors degree in dance from Minnesota State University in 2008 and is currently a second year MFA candidate at Arizona State University. In her dance career she has taught and performed nationally and internationally, including a 2013 artist residency with Airdance, a leading contemporary dance company in the Philippines. Soon after that she obtained a training certificate from Heart of Facilitation in 2014. Currently, Coley is interested in film and dance for camera work. Her research revolves around gaining strength and healing through reclaiming personal narrative.
New York, NY
"Weaving to Heal"
An artist, designer, and founder of the Brooklyn-based Weaving Hand, Cynthia Alberto seeks to bridge traditional and contemporary weaving techniques, drawing inspiration from ancient communities of Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Her artwork, performances, and public weaving projects honor traditional and artisanal techniques while also incorporating unconventional materials and a zero-waste philosophy. Throughout her artwork and teaching, Alberto continuously explores the many intersections between weaving and healing, as well as craft and sustainability.
Felipe Rubio Capiral Jr., MA, AMFT
Los Angeles, CA
"The Evolution of Modern Thought on Same-Sex Marriage: Reclaiming Love from the Colonial Legacy of Patriarchy"
Felipe, or Junie to his friends, is a Marriage and Family Therapy intern at Coldwater Counseling Center in Studio City, a Jungian-oriented counseling center. He also devote some hours per week in the same capacity at the LGBT Center in Long Beach California. He graduated from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara California in 2018 with a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology with Emphasis in Depth Psychology. Prior to this degree, Junie also graduated in 2014 from The University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles with a Master of Arts in Transformational Psychology. This paper was lifted from his graduate thesis which is entitled: The Evolution of Modern Thought on Same-Sex Marriage: Transforming the Western God-Image. Junie is married to Lance, his husband of 5 years.
"The Lost Tugbuk and Sakra"
Fran Flaherty is a deaf artist in Pittsburgh, PA. As a first generation immigrant from the Philippines, her work is centered in issues surrounding immigration, maternal feminism, & disability aesthetics. Her work is inspired by the care paradigm. A premise that human beings cannot survive alone and the progress of human beings, as a species, flows from our identity as social animals, connected to one another through ties of love, kinship, and clanship. It is the prospect of this harmony that inspired her to create Anthropology of Motherhood, an ongoing project which elevates the act of care-giving through fine art by transforming mundane objects of caregiving to into valuable art pieces. Fran is a member of the #notwhite collective of Pittsburgh. Recently, she was named in Art 511 Magazine’s “Top Ten NYC Artists Now.”
Dr. G.T. Reyes
"Re-education of the Filipinx: A Pedagogy of Re-membering, Re-connecting, Re-minding, Re-framing, Re-imagining"
“Dr. G” is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at CSU East Bay. As a community-engaged scholar, he commits to standing. Standing up. Standing with. Standing for. Standing on the corner of the block, professing truths that don’t stop. Standing on rocks. Standing from seeds sown by those who came before. Standing in concrete fields with new seeds to plant more. Roses. He knows his place in standing in history is to narrate possibility. Standing tall, so he could see. Standing to the side, so you could be. And become. He don’t run. He stands.
Grace Caligtan (Decolonial Pin@y & Hawaiʻi Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines)
“Weaving mountains: Genealogies of Land Protection, Human Rights, and the Routed/Rooted Knowledges of Body and Place.”
Grace Alvaro Caligtan (pronouns: she, her, and they) serves as adjunct Public Health faculty at Hawaii Pacific University and teaches Sexuality in Health and Society. Grace also serves with Planned Parenthood in the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands as a Community Outreach Educator and trainer for Linking Families and Teens, a program that supports parent-child connection and strengthens family communication skills about sex and reproductive health.
She is a second generation Ilokana and Applai Kankaney, hailing from Piddig, Ilocos Norte and Tadian, Mt. Province. Grace calls the community of Kalihi and Kapalama in O'ahu, home. Her work through Decolonial Pin@y and HiCHIRP has been a way of weaving genealogies of land defense, human rights, and the routed/rooted knowledges of body and place.
Decolonial Pin@y-Hawaiʻi is a group of diasporic Filipin@s in Hawaiʻi committed to demilitarization, decolonization, healing and creative liberation. In 2018, Decolonial Pin@y helped to form the Hawaiʻi Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines to 1) raise Philippine issues in Hawaiʻi, particularly around issues of militarism and human rights; and 2) to develop young people and community leaders who can advocate for human rights and the demilitarization of the Philippines through promoting cultural decolonization.
Grace Villarin Dueñas
"Lessons from Doing Indigenous/Ancestral Reclamation Work in the Diaspora" (co-presented with Grace Caligtan, Marybelle Bustos, Sobey Wing, and Bangka Journey)
Grace Villarin Dueñas is part of Kalingafornia Laga, and one of the weaving apprentices of master weaver Jenny Bawer Young. Grace strongly believes that our indigenous culture and core values is a protective factor for our health and well-being.
She is committed to utilizing her public health training in strategic planning, program management and research with inter-disciplinary collaborative teams, and her leadership experience in community organizing and the healing arts to improve the quality of life of sentient beings and to elevate humanity. She applies pakikipagkapwa in her management style as the Associate Director of Data for the California Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative.
Grace is passionate for fresh holistic adventures in the healing arts including photography, ceramics, weaving, seafaring and woodcarving, plant medicine and permaculture design. She is rooted in the intersectionality of her Southern Tagalog and Western Visayas lineage and queer baklang-tibo sensibilities who is living in the diaspora and has settled in Ohlone land.
Grace Sunga Asagra
"The Healing Dance: A Fusion of Massage and Asian Healing Arts"
Grace Sunga Asagra, author of the book, "The Healing Dance: A Fusion of Massage and Asian healing arts", is a Hilot raised in Philippine Indigenous healing. She is a Holistic Registered Nurse with quantum wellness practice for detoxification from traumas (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual)contributing to chronic health challenges such as irritable bowel syndrome, bladder health issues, and chronic pain from bone and joint diseases. She has two grandchildren, four year old boy, and two year old girl. She is a role model for empowered optimum radiant healthy aging free from dependency on Western medicines and treatments with poor health outcomes.
"Metabolizing Monsters While Hosting Ancestors: Towards a Political Spirituality of Decolonization in a Time of Climate Apocalypse"
James W. Perkinson is a long-time activist/educator from inner city Detroit, teaching as Professor of Social Ethics at the Ecumenical Theological Seminary, married to Filipina educator Lily Mendoza. He holds a Ph.D. in theology from the University of Chicago, is the author of White Theology: Outing Supremacy in Modernity and Shamanism, Racism, and Hip-Hop Culture: Essays on White Supremacy and Black Subversion, Messianism Against Christology: Resistance Movements, Folk Arts, and Empire, and Political Spirituality in an Age of Eco-Apocalypse: Communication and Struggle Across Species, Cultures, and Religions, and is an artist on the spoken-word poetry scene in the inner city.
Jana Lynne Umipig
New York, NY
"SexTalkStory: Dismantling Sexual Colonization and Returning Erotic Power to Source" & "Invoking the Ancestral Warrior - Countering Colonial Violence in the Diaspora" (Workshop Collaboration with JB Ramos)"
Jana Lynne (JL) Umipig is a multidisciplinary artist, liberation educator, healer and activist - questioner and radical thought provoker who uses arts and education and cultural bearing tools to support resistance movements in remembrance and reconnection to our collective Liberation. She is the creator of the Theatrical Healing Movements The Journey of a Brown Girl and Raised Pinay. And also is the creator of Kapwa Tarot, a diasporic Pilipinx divination tool that has been exchanged globally.
She is a core member of CfBS, a practitioner at Minka Brooklyn and a student of Pekiti Tirsia Kali. Through these central communities in her life extends sacred space for Pilipinx Kapwa seeking to learn and remember healing practice, ritual/ceremony and knowledge connected to our ancestral traditions.
Punong Guro JB Ramos
"Invoking the Ancestral Warrior - Countering Colonial Violence in the Diaspora" (Workshop Collaboration with Jana Lynne Umipig)
Punong Guro JB Ramos was born in Toronto with a 20+ year warrior journey:
FMA lineage under Grand Master (GM) Laura Holmes’ Arnis/Eskrima/Kali since 2003
Additional FMA certification/training (Philippines): - Lightening Scientific Arnis, SGM Vic Sanchez, Modern Arnis, GM Bambit Dulay, Arnis Defense Silat, GM Freddie Fernandez, Kombotan/Modern Arnis, GM Pepe Yap
World Champion: full-contact single/double stickfighting, and carenza/anyo/sayaw
Canadian Director, Global Stick & Blade Alliance and World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation
Presenter at community venues with an Asian, youth, feminist and LGBTQ focus
Contributor, Diasporic Intimacies: Queer Filipinos & Canadian Imaginaries, 2017
Member, National Women’s Martial Arts Federation and Empowerment Self-Defense Global
Jessica Ellen Ticar, PhD
"Emotion and Vulnerability: Healing through Liminality"
Jessica Ellen Ticar, Ph.D., RP (Registered Psychotherapist), CCC (Canadian Certified Counsellor), has over 10 years of experience working at community mental health agencies. Her research and clinical work embodies trauma-informed and anti-oppressive practice as well as intersectionality, postcolonial and transnational feminist praxis, and identity and belonging frameworks. She holds a PhD ('18) from the University of Western Ontario and her dissertation entitled, "Investigating the Transnational Identities of Filipina/o/x Youth in Toronto Urban High Schools: A Critical Ethnographic Study of the Impact of Canada ’s Live-In/Caregiver Program" studied the impact of family separation and reunification on Filipino youth's educational experiences.
Jocelyn H. Diaz
San Joaquin, Maria Aurora, Aurora, Philippines
"Relevance and Responsiveness of the Basic Education Curriculum for Dumagats in Aurora Province"
Dr. Jocelyn P. Hulipas-Diaz is an Associate Professor at the Aurora State College of Technology in Baler, Aurora. She received her Doctor in Educational Management degree at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila. Her research interests include inclusive education particularly indigenous people’s education and special education. She is a member of the Royal Institution, Singapore; Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD); Philippine Educators Network for Training, Research and Development, Inc. (PENTRAD); and Philippine Educational Measurement and Evaluation Association (PEMEA). Dr. Diaz is also an Accreditor of the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines, Inc. (AACCUP). At present, she is the Director of the Teacher Education Department of ASCOT. She is 46 years old, married to a marine engineer and has four sons.
"Second-Generation Filipinx-Canadians and Cultural Hybridity"
Kathleen Bragas, BSc Hon., MC, PAA (Psychological Association of Alberta). She/Her/Siya pronouns. Kathleen is a Queer femme counsellor based on the territories of Treaty 7, the Blackfoot Confederacy Moh’kinsstis. Their research and clinical work stem from relational and systemic approaches, as well as trauma-informed and anti-oppressive practices. Kathleen’s passion lies in decolonizing therapy practices, with the intention to act as a bridge in cultivating FilipinX community healing in the diaspora. Their journey towards re-claiming and re-membering ancestral ways of healing are rooted in understanding the FilipinX community as Uninvited Visitors on Turtle Island.
Kathleen’s unique Filipinx-Canadian experience and research, “Second-Generation FilipinX-Canadians and Cultural Hybridity” investigates the mental health manifestations of Second-Generation FilipinX-Canadians. Important themes around healing intergenerational trauma and FilipinX resilience queries how Second-Generation FilipinX-Canadian's mental health issues may be a window to understanding colonization in the urban diaspora. Kathleen deeply believes that there is a radical need for the FilipinX community to work towards accessibility in healing and therapeutic practices and that this is an integral process to move towards an indigenous future.
Kiam Marcelo Junio
"Mother, Land: Decolonization Through Queer Belonging, Embodied Artmaking, and Healing Practices."
Kiam Marcelo Junio is a holistic healer and interdisciplinary artist. Their work centers around queering identities, Philippine history, creation myths, and personal+collective healing through collaborative practices and inner shadow work. As a healer, Kiam creates handcrafted self-love potions and provides personalized aromatherapy, Asian bodywork, holistic life coaching services through MAHAL Healing Arts. Kiam served seven years in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. They received their BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013 and are currently a student in the Doctor of Acupuncture Program at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. Their work has been exhibited, screened, and performed in New York City, Mexico City, London, Montreal, Cadiz and throughout Chicago at Boyfriends, Roots & Culture, Defibrillator, Links Hall, Museum of Contemporary Art, Hyde Park Art Center, and the Field Museum. They were born in the Philippines, and have lived in the U.S., Japan, and Spain.
Kilusan Wellness (Sapho Elaine Flor Teologo, Karen Villanueva, and Myra Bautista)
Oakland and Berkeley, CA
"Practicing a Medicine That’s Not ‘Ours’: Our Experience of Learning and Practicing Chinese Medicine Within a Liberatory, Decolonizing, and Accessibility Framework"
This session is led by two first generation Pilipinx-Americans and one 1.5 generation Pilipinx-American immigrant, who are all practitioners of acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the San Francisco Bay Area. They are the founders of Kilusan Wellness whose mission is to create liberatory spaces of health, wellness, and community.
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Karen Villanueva RN, LAc, DAIM
Karen is a queer Pilipinx-American healer and long-time radical dharma practitioner. Her recent doctoral thesis focuses on making Chinese medicine available to school based health centers and underserved youth in Oakland, California.
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Sapho Elaine Flor Teologo L.Ac, CMT, LVN
Sapho is a queer Pilipinx-American healer. After studying the healing arts for several years, their aim is making holistic healthcare accessible to marginalized communities. Sapho has a background in nursing, social work, massage and bodywork.
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Myra Bautista L.Ac.
Myra is the mother of three young children. She credits her first born son as her inspiration to explore holistic medicine. Her focus is on pediatric health as it relates to the well being of the entire family unit.
Treaty 4 - Regina, SK
"What Kind of Brown Are You?"
Kris Alvarez is a theatre artist + Regina monologue. Kris creates with all ages at Globe Theatre School, Fadadance and Artesian. Kris recently completed an artist-in-residence with Common Weal Community Arts’ Respond to Racism program.
Kris is passionate about Curtain Razors: as performer (Bad Blood, Carmen Angel), as Artistic Associate, Board of Directors.
After the success of What Kind of Brown Are You? a project inspired by ‘growing up brown’ in 1980s Regina, its current instalment, Burnt Sienna with Kris Alvarez, a variety show “with more colour”, was presented by Curtain Razors’ Moveable Feast 2018-19 series and continues in 2019-20.
"“Filipino” Indigenous Forms of Healing and Settler Colonial Mentality in Canadian Social Work: An Autoethnography"
A wordslinger and healer from the Bikol diaspora, Lukayo is based on the territories of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Wyandot, and currently resides and travels between the cities of Toronto and Ottawa, Canada. When not daydreaming of starting a school for land defenders and priestesses, Lukayo is probably playing Dungeons & Dragons or cuddling their four-legged feline child, Anino.
Los Angeles, CA
"The Way of the Bangka" (co-presented with Rachele Sullivan)
Lyn Pacificar is an Ilonggo and Waray lineage katuuran, direct descendant of Katuuran Apong Mansanat, and daughter of Leticia and Vic Gaza (a manghihilot and FMA Master). She receives ancestral direction and immediately follows protocoled ritual to access the truth in healing and delivers its guidance through a combination of modalities including prayers, hilot, diagnostic readings, and spirit communication. She maintains her connection to ancestral lands and manages farms on the islands of Dinagat, Panay, and Mindanao. She is founder/CEO of Herbalaria LLC, and lives with her family on Tongva land in East Hollywood, California.
M. Rako Fabionar
"An Indigenous and Galactic Heart: Humility, Collective Conditioning, and Trans-lineage Healing" (co-presented with Carmen de Jesus)
M. Rako Fabionar is a teacher, healer and consultant with a passion for creating transformational spaces for people to experience deeper connection, insight, and well-being. Rako comes from a family of Filipino educators and healers, a lineage connected to the Boholano/Eskaya indigenous people of the Philippines. He was identified as “one who carries medicine” by elders and spirits of three different indigenous/shamanic traditions (including Boholano and Dagara lineages) and invited to participate in many healings, apprenticeships, trainings, and formal initiation ceremonies the last two decades.
Recalling Our Creation and Reclaiming Our Divinity: Embracing and Rejoicing in the Human Experience
Maria Montejo (Deer clan) is a member of the Jakaltec/Popti (Mayan) community of Indigenous people who reside in the Xajla territory of Guatemala. In addition to her formal schooling, Maria has been mentored from a young age by various Elders, Medicine people and Traditional Teachers on Turtle Island and from Central and South America. Maria has had the privilege of being exposed and participating in various ceremonies and traditional cultural practices that have fueled her passion to develop programming that will bridge the Newtonian/allopathic model of wellness and an Indigenous/multi-dimensional approach. Maria has worked for many years as a mental health and addictions treatment worker and provides education sessions and consulting services for various organizations and institutions on Indigenous Peoples history, science, culture and rights. She is currently the manager of Dodem Kanonhsa’ Indigenous Education and Cultural Facility in Toronto.
Maria-Lourdes V. Aragon
"My Relationship to Rice and Intuitive Eating"
I am a 33-year-old Filipinx-American non-binary woman raised in Bremerton, Washington. I describe myself as Filipinx-American because it holds cultural, social, and political significance for me. I am second-generation; My grandparents immigrated from the Rebulika ng Pilipinas | Republic of the Philippines (an archipelago country in Southeast Asia) via my grandpa’s commitment to serve in the U.S. Navy. They took the opportunity to leave destitute farm-life during a period in which the largest wave of Filipinx Peoples immigrated after a long-history of colonization (including being under Spanish rule for over 300-years and involvement in historical events like World War II.) My family speaks languages of Tagalog and Waray, however due to various influences, I learned and spoke English as my primary language. I am an unmarried health professional with over 10-years working in a hospital setting. I came from a blended-family household, including my Mom, (step-)Dad, four siblings. My mother is a laborer with a high school education and some college training. My Dad chose not to finish high school, earned a living as a skilled trades worker, and served in the U.S. Marine Corps. My family survived lower middle class, often depending on family for support with childcare or finances. I am the first person in my immediate family to graduate from college and to own my own business. In our Filipinx-American home, keeping family closely knit and job security were critical to livelihood. I live and work at the intersections of race, class, gender.
Marie Cadiz Vea
"Sense of Place and Ways of Knowing: The Landscape of Experience for People of Color"
Marie treasures her Filipinx heritage and her extended family in California while celebrating her 19th year living in Vermont. She is passionate about inclusive education, multiple ways of knowing, dialogue across difference, joy, cross-country skiing and the family cat, Taco. Marie has worked in higher education for 25 years in various areas, always with a profound respect for the wholeness of each person, a love of Land, and a commitment to inclusion of all experiences and perspectives. Marie is working toward a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. She is currently the Assistant Dean for Student Services and Staff Development in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont, overseeing the processes and initiatives that ensure each student thrives.
"Care Work, Anti-Racism, and Mental Health: Narratives and Lived Experiences of Indigenous and Cultural Healing Practices"
Martha Ocampo is the former co-director of Programs and Services, and former Manager for Education and Resources at Across Boundaries, a community mental health centre for racialized communities. Martha played a key role in developing the Across Boundaries’ Holistic Model of Care within an Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression Framework. Martha has a long history of providing educational and training workshops at mental health agencies, colleges, universities and with various communities including migrant Care Workers.
Martha is the co-organizer of the Society for Integrating Traditional Healing into Counselling Psychology, Psychotherapy, and Psychiatry (SITHCP3) - a group of researchers, community healers, and health professionals critical of the current mental health system in Canada and globally. One of their main goals is to promote Traditional Healing as an alternative to Psychiatry; and to integrate indigenous practices, art, politics, spirituality and community involvement in developing services and programs that enhance healing and recovery.
Melanya Liwanag Aguila & Lani T. Montreal
Toronto, ON & Chicago, IL
"Writing to Find Home"
For Melanya Liwanag Aguila, it has been some time since she created and published visuals and it was the same inspiration (Lani T. Montreal) who brought many of Melanya's artworks to light. Melanya also created the book covers for Pinay writers Nice Rodriguez's "Throw it to the River" and Patti Rivera's "Puti". She recently created the cover for Lani's first book of poetry "FANBOYS Poems about Learning and Teaching".
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Lani T. Montreal is a Filipina educator, writer, performer, and community-based activist. She lives in Chicago with her multi-species and multi-cultural family and writes to find/create home in the diaspora. She is the recipient of the 2015 3 Arts Djerassi Residency Fellowship, 2008 3 Arts Ragdale Residency Fellowship, 2001 Samuel Ostrowsky Award, and was a 1995 JVO Philippines Award for Excellence in Journalism finalist for her environmental expose “Poison in the River.” Lani holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Roosevelt University. She teaches writing at Malcom X College and writes her own “Fil-in-the-gap” blog.
Dr. Michael Gonzalez
San Francisco, CA
"Reality, Mimicry & Illusion: Cloth and the Philippine Experience"
Dr. Michael Gonzalez recently conducted research on indigenous weaving in the Philippines as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar. His research investigated the impact of globalization in the life cycle/value chain of handwoven textiles. Dr. Gonzalez is a founding member and the Research/Education Director for the San Francisco-based The Hinabi Project that promotes public awareness in the San Francisco Bay Area about Philippine indigenous textile arts and weaving communities. An adjunct faculty of City College San Francisco Philippine Studies Department, the only department of its kind in the U.S., he teaches the Philippine Society and Culture Thru Film, The Filipino Family and Philippine Anthropology. A product of an international education, Dr. Gonzalez graduated from University of the Philippines History Department, holds a masters degree in Social Anthropology from Sydney, Australia and a U.S. doctorate in Education. His scholarly interests are in millenarian/folk ideologies, early transport history, American colonialism and Philippine modernity, learning technologies, and indigenous knowledge systems. He is the founder of the NVM Gonzalez Writers’ Workshop that since 2005, has conducted writers' workshops in campuses in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and in the Philippines with the goal of fostering literary exchanges between global Filipinos. He enjoys travel and is an aficionado of the classic and electric guitar.
"One Woman Province"
Michelle Peixinho is a licensed midwife and a social worker in Northern New Mexico where she lives with her companion and their four children. She is the founder of the Yiya Vi Kagingdi Community Doula program and the Breath of my Heart Birthplace. Michelle currently works at her County's Health and Human Services Department directing a jail diversion program working with people struggling with heroin and opiate use and other mental health challenges. She is a singer/songwriter and a quiltmaker and loves her family dogs and the desert life that sustains her.
Mila Anguluan + Rusty Barcelo
Santa Fe, NM
"Straight/Queer/Gender Fluid: Loving Without Borders"
Mila Anguluan is an Itawes Native from Tuao, Cagayan Valley of Northern Philippines. She has 6 children, and 9 grandchildren, testimonial to her creative faculties as an artist of life. Mila is currently working on her licensure as a clinical therapist, at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has a PhD in Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University.
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Rusty Barcelo, is a special assistant to the Chancellor, acting as vice-chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was born in Merced, California, to Mexican parents who remember Mexico freely sharing borders then with the United States. Rusty holds a PhD in Educational Management from the University of Iowa, and has served in many functions as an administrator in different universities. She was formerly the President of the Northern New Mexico College, in Espanola, New Mexico.
Omehra Sigahne (Perla Paredes Daly)
"Evolving Tradition. Empowering Generations."
Omehra Sigahne, aka BagongPinay and Perla Daly, is a cultural activist who has collaborated with artists, healers, activists and organizers around the world in art, poetry, online communities, anthologies and events. She chaired the Filipino American Women’s Network FAWN2005 conference, the underlying theme of which were five babaylan power roles of the teacher/tradition-bearer, healer, sage, warrior and priestess (). In 1998, she founded the first online community for Filipinas (bagongpinay.com) which is now Pinay.com, a place online where Filipinas shine. She also blogs about baybayin symbolism (baybayinalive.com) and is one of the 1999 co-founders of the Center for Babaylan Studies.
"An Application of Virgilio Enriquez's Indigenization Method on Filipino-Canadian Discourse"
Mykelle Pacquing was born and raised in Etobicoke, Ontario. His tatay Ruben grew up with the Aetas of Mariveles, Bataan and gained knowledge of life in the bundok. Ruben passed on this knowledge to his children, and Mykelle has used it to create new relationships on Turtle Island. Mykelle has an HBA from the University of Toronto in Aboriginal Studies and Semiotics and Communication Theory and has recently defended his Master's thesis at Trent University in Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies. Mykelle also speaks Anishinaabemowin and has been teaching the language at the University of Toronto since 2013.
"The Way of the Bangka" (co-presented with Lyn Pacificar)
Rachele Sullivan, native from my mother's womb, born on Yelamu (SF) Ramatush Ohlone lands. I stand with my Mother's Ancestors, from Numancia,Aklan Philippines and my father's Ancestors, from Negros Occidental, Philippines Western Visayans. My waters are the Pacific Ocean and my mountains are Mount Shasta of California, Mt Susitna, Alaska, and Cordilleras, Philippines.
I belong to two tribal canoe families L Frank (Tongva) Paxiiwovem inter-tribal canoe family and the Bangka Journey. Through these waters of healing I heal myself, my mind and my spirit. Strengthened by the love of my Ancestors and Faith of Creator, Mother Earth guides me to walk filled with knowing.
Previous Board of Directors in SF Bay Area non profit organizations and lead organizer for the creation of the Leather & LGBTQI Cultural District and SF Eagle Leather Plaza.
Holistic registered nurse for over 30 years, incorporated Traditional Indigenous healing methods in the care of patients throughout my nursing career, Hilot.
Currently working as an Interim Health and Social Services Director RN creating an accredited Federally Qualified Health Center with an allopathic & Traditional Medicine tract program living on Sauk-Suiattle Indian tribal lands in Washington State.
Rebecca Maria Goldschmidt
"Pag+adal+an: Creating Learning Spaces within Institutional Art EducationPag+adal+an: Creating Learning Spaces within Institutional Art Education"
Rebecca Maria Goldschmidt is an MFA candidate at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa in the Department of Art and Art History. Aligning myself at the intersection of art, pedagogy and participatory art practice, my arts-based research centers the experiences of Filipinxs and the reclamation of knowledge that has been suppressed, devalued, or otherwise marginalized. Working in photography, video, printed matter, and dialogical interactions, my process involves extensive research and collaborative conversation, intergenerational and intercultural exchange, and activates audiences to be engaged in their immediate surroundings.
"Nanay Maria, Ma’am Crisenta and Sister Helen: The Narrative Life and Power of the The Three Holy Women of Leyte"
I am 50 years old and my birth date is on May 9, 1969. I am married. I live in Guadalupe, Baybay City, Leyte, 6521 Philippines. I am an Assistant Professor at the Visayas State University located in Visca, Baybay City, Leyte. I am working in this University since November 1, 1996. I am presently taking up PhD in Philippine Studies Major in Language, Culture and Media at De La Salle University, Taft, Manila, Philippines. I am now on study leave. I am a Catholic and have a strong faith. I love to do researches on culture most especially about religion. I love to write. I am an active member of the Señor Santo Niño Crusaders for the Salvation of Souls and World Peace.
Sha Isles Agbayani, Michaela Cruz, Maria Marasigan, Hywel Tuscano, Lukayo Estrella
"Queer Earth: A Circle & Kapwanel on Re-learning Food as a Sacred Pedagogy"
Shaina is a trans-disicplinary creator, curator and facilitator whose work centres community transformation, food & land stewardship, collective liberation through story-telling, relationality through sound , and healing through land-based oral traditions ()
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Michaela Cruz is the caretaker of Healing Hands Farms ( She is a graduate of plant science studies at the University of Guelph, a dedicated environmentalist and an avid cyclist. She is also facilitator and founder of Healing Hands workshop series that involves hands-on sessions on food and medicinal plants that grow in and around the urban landscape of Tkaronto. She strongly believes reclamation of medical traditions involves realizing healing outside of Western medicine by unearthing experiences with ancient healing practices and incorporating them in our day to day.
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Maria Marasigan has an international background in environmental studies, education, youth/women leadership and sustainable community development. Most recently, she has done consultancy work in the Philippines for the past few years with environmental, post disaster community rehabilitation, and sustainable eco tourism organizations such as the Philippine Permaculture Association, Green Releaf, Blue Water Consultancy Firm, the Transnational Institute for Grassroots Research and Action, and Earthship Biotechture. Prior to Maria’s work in the Philippines, Maria was the director of a youth arts and activism leadership/mentoring program promoting peace and justice in Brooklyn, New York. Maria also worked with the Peace Corps in El Salvador as an Agroforestry and Environmental Education Volunteer, was an adjunct instructor at Florida International University’s environmental studies program, and an elementary public school teacher in New York City. She holds a Master of Science in Environmental Studies from the Peace Corps Master’s International Program at Florida International University and a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood and Elementary Education with a minor in Biology from New York University. Maria is growing and healing in her learning and practice, particularly in the areas of social permaculture, anti-oppression, decolonization, and indigenous solidarity work. Maria is Malate, Manila born with Cuenca, Batangas roots, New York raised via migrant wings, Filipina American.
"Kapwa Initiation Rites of Decolonization"
He/his/him/they pronouns Born in Tkaronto, lived second half of lifespan on the Unceded Coast Salish Territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh & Musqueam Nations as an uninvited guest. Multi-racial Cebuano, Iberian-French, Chinese settler who's life journey has brought them in a series of personal/collective first contacts with living indigenous peoples of the Philippines and across Turtle Island. Chairperson of Kathara Indigenous Pilipino Arts Society, Dj and founding organizer of Full Moon Medicine in Unceded Coast Salish Territories lunar gatherings, former organizer of Earthdance International events, and currently with the Cross Cultural Protocols Working Group of Youth Passageways organization. A presenter on TEDx Georgia Straight talks, Liminal Village Conference (Boom Festival, Portugal), Total Eclipse Festival (Australia 2012) and guest speaker on numerous podcasts. Past organizer with the Third International Babaylan Conference 2016 and attendee at Pamati 2017.
Sikolohiyang Pilipinx Collective Calgary (Presented by Jillian Sudayan and Jordan Baylon; Facilitated by Ilyan Ferrer, Julie Allatiit, Kathleen Bragas, Allan Rosales, Melissa Buluran, Anne Azucena, and Psalm Tesalona)
Decolonizing work within the Filipinx community in Alberta: The genesis and future of SP in Calgary
The Sikolohiyang Pilipinx Collective is an intergenerational group of Filipinx from the Calgary, Alberta region (traditional territories of the Treaty 7 region, which includes the Blackfoot First Nation tribes of Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Stoney Nakoda First Nations tribes of Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley and the Tsuut’ina First Nation. Calgary is also homeland to the Metis Nation of Alberta, Region 3). The SP Collective in Calgary engages in critical discussions about our history, present, and future in Canada. As one of Canada's fastest-growing populations, we are a diverse group of 40-50 members in Calgary seeking to build community. We meet on a monthly basis to create an ongoing space for exploring new dimensions of Filipino-Canadian identity, belonging, well-being, language, culture and liberation.
Walang Hiya NYC
New York, NY
"Miss Walang Hiya 2019: A Pageant/Procession/Prayer to transmute our ancestral shame into collective joy and future building"
"Walang Hiya” -- From wala (without), -ng (adjectival suffix), and hiya (shame).
Conjuring joy in ritual for a free AF future, we are Pilipinx shapeshifters of the diaspora who will cut and love you shamelessly.
We are a collective of multi-disciplinary artists, storytellers, warriors, healers, who heal ourselves and community through shamelessly creating art, ritual, and performance.
We come from the magic, joy, and pain of over 500 years of Pilipinx resistance. We come from our grandmothers, mothers, and sisters who have loved, shamed, and helped us grow. In the name of: Consuelo Duero Tolentino, Diana Tolentino, Adoracion, Kamalayan Kollective, Pinay Speaks, Raised Pinay, Jana Lynne Umipig, Ebony Golden, BDAC PPA, Eusebia Gatchallian Piaña, Aurelia Curameng Estavillo, Florida Balanza Gonzalez, Hermenia and John Balanza, Clara and Rodrigo Frulla, Benjamin & Vilma Bio. We come from Araw, Buwan, Tala, Langit, Mayari, Aswangs, Babaylans, Oshun, Duendes, the Virgin Mary, and the myths we create for our future.
Our skin, our bones, our tongues, and our sensuality hold multitudes of identities. We cross boundaries, shapeshift, and transform everyday. We have a lot of questions and a lot of hope. We explore what it means to live Walang Hiya in the ways we walk, talk, breath, have sex, form friendships, fall in love, love our families, and love ourselves.
How can we create a resistance that purges our internalized shame so we can uncover the layers of joy and magic inside us? How do we reimagine how to live a good fucking shameless life? We start together. We start here.