Archive for the ‘23andMe, ancestry’ Category

Are Filipinos, Asian, Hispanic, Pacific Islander ? Really .



Last week , a Filipino co-worker asked me if I had ever encountered an official California document where Filipinos have to choose, identify and check  their  ethnicity off  the following list:  Asian,  Pacific Islander,  Filipino, Other. I said yes, I had, when I applied for a driver’s license, so Dennis, what’s wrong with it ? ” Look, Ren,  aren’t we Asian ? ” (  By the way, Dennis is half Italian-American, half Filipino but identifies himself as Filipino. He was also born in the Philippines. )


Anyway, I was confused.  I didn’t know what to make of it. I  did some research about this issue, and what I learned surprised me.  I do know about the Pacific Islander thing, but  it’s never been an issue to me. But, why are Filipinos in a separate group ?  Filipinos  are Asians.  To think otherwise is just so ignorant and stupid.  Just look at the map.



Here’s something that I found on YouTube.  Warning ! This video is highly inaccurate (  nevertheless , very  informative ) because the person on the video delves more on Chinese heritage rather than the more accurate   Indonesian -Malays who are actually the original settlers of the country.  Heck, we cannot even  tell a Malaysian, Indonesian, and Filipino  apart…  and yes, the Filipino language is very similar to Malaysian and Indonesian languages.  Ex: Thank you is Salamat in Filipino and Selamat in Indonesian.  ( Although about 40% of Filipino language is Spanish or has Spanish roots.  Filipinos even tell time in Spanish .) Filipino historians say Filipinos are of   Malay-Indo- Polynesian race.  It’s true there was an extensive trading with the Chinese, and I’m sure there were intermixing of  genes  at one point. That’s a given. Heck,  according to 23andMe ancestry, a part of my DNA belongs to Chinese Haplo-group.




Is it  because of Filipino culture and its shared heritage , history and culture with Mexico ?    Heck, both the  Philippines and Mexico even call their money Pesos.  In fact, at one point in Mexican and Philippine history,  the Philippines was considered a province of Mexico.  I was surprised  to learn that  the Filipino words for mother and father , Nanay  and Tatay , tiangue/ palengke ( markets )  and which I’m sure all Filipinos consider pure  unadulterated Filipino words,  are actually  Nathual in origin , an ancient Mexican language.

Anyway, I think I should write more about Filipino identity . There are more than 4 million Filipinos in the US, and this number does not even include half-Filipinos who  identify their ethnicity as Filipino, like my co-worker Dennis,  and Bruno Mars… or the wrestler Batista. Batista’s arm is tattoed with Philippine map, ha ha. That number is  more than the population of Koreans, Vietnamese, and Japanese combined .   Filipinos are not invisible here in the US,  neither here nor there. Not all Asians look like Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Vietnamese, you know .  Look  at Indians…they  are Asians, too.


Okay, this is all for now from a pissed off Asian. Bye and peace.



My Ancestry from 23andME






Have you heard of 23 and Me ? It is an Ancestry DNA testing company  that can tell you what regions in the world  your DNA came from. My brother ( for fun and out of curiosity ) used this company’s services (  for a fee of about $110 ) and learned  ancestral stuff  that we already know,  except one. DNA testing is fairly accurate ,  and this company takes pride in being    99.99 % accurate.  ( I hope it’s well-deserved ) Anyway,  my brother has not sent me  the email  with details of  his ancestry DNA results yet, but basically, the result says   we come from  South East Asia,  DUH !, (  Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia,)     and Europe ….. , though  we have more of Europe  ( Iberian, / Southern Europe  ) than Asia in our genes ..   What we ourselves know is, in fact,  even more accurate because we know exactly where our ancestors came from ( paternal side )….. my great , great grandfather Antonio ( my grandmother’s name was Antonia ) came from   Sta. Maria de la Nueva , Segovia, Spain. My grandmother even attended a reunion in Spain many  years ago.  As  per 23andMe’s geneology database, one’s ancestry can be traced as far back as 600 years ago with almost 100% accuracy.


What  surprised us most , actually, is a variant in my family’s DNA   that is common in   ….. drum roll…… Middle East, most particularly , in Palestine/Israel region.  The word that  23 & Me  used is , specifically, Jewish.   I guess this comes from   my mother’s side of the family,  and  we’re excited to know that what my mother’s   been telling us,(  as  we, her children,  listen with eye-rolling skepticism )  has been confirmed to be true , as per 23and Me’s  DNA analysis )  This is Mom’s   story…… ……. when she was a kid  , her grandmother used to tell her ( over and over, lest she forgets )  they had Jewish blood. Of course , it was  in Filipino language ,which was ” dugong Hudyo “.  Hudyo is Filipino for Jew, and dugo means blood.  It  was only a few years ago when my mother finally understood its  significance.


So, why were there Jews living in a small, rural town 300 km.  from the capital city of Manila ?  From our research, we learned that Spanish Jews  were either  forced  to convert to Catholicism  by the Spanish monarchy  or face persecution.  Some fled  ( Jewish Spanish soldiers ) and went to the Philippines  and settled far away from the prying eyes of  the government. My mother’s town was a Spanish military town ,with fortress, complete with cannons ,  to defend the area from Chinese pirates.   Also, there was also a high concentration of  Turkish Jews  in that small town.  My Mom  still remembers the Adads who lived right across from their house.  She had a humungous crush on one of  the Adad boys for a long time.  We also learned that  ” Adad ” is a common Turkish last name.




San Diego de Alcala fort in my mom’s town. (  Hmmm, not well – maintained )


I guess they finally converted to Catholicism at one point,  but saw to it generations of descendants were reminded of their heritage.   It was just recently when  my mother finally understood why they had to be told of their ancestry.  It didn’t make sense to an 8  year old kid then  . ( Her grandma died in 1964 )  It was so random.  I mean, where did that come from ?  Out of nowhere, out of the blue ? She didn’t even know what a Jew was .   This reminds me of an article about a Filipina girl having her hair done at a Lousianna  beauty salon when a blond, blue -eyed  woman approached her and asked if she was a Filipina .  When she said yes,  the woman’s eyes lit up and told her she had Filipino blood too. Her ancestors were Filipinos who settled in Saint Malo and Manila Village ,  Louisiana in the 1700’s .   (  they were sailors who deserted the Manila – Acapulco  galleon ships ) . They  pioneered the  dried shrimp industry  in Louiasiana.



We’re not sure though if the company’s database is accurate.  Does a particular  race have a variant unique only to that race ?  I did study DNA analysis  extensively at school and I can affirm with 100% certainty results are super accurate. However,   if the result of the test  is 99.97 % East Asian (  Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese ) , but has a 0.10 %  of  DNA   originating from  Sub- Sahara , you can  consider yourself pure East Asian.  Here’s the thing….. my teacher in genetics told us all human beings have a certain percentage of African DNA in their genes. Current science tells us humanity’s origin  is Africa . That  is a fact, unless proven otherwise.


Whoa !  733 words now !   Gotta break this with  pics of yours truly in Spain.










This is all for now . Thank you for reading , and peace.


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