The Muddled Blood Of A Pinoy

Some of my family — brother, cousins, aunty and uncle — in Philippines.

I’m saving up for a DNA test. It seems 23andMe and AncestryDNA are the two most popular ones to try, but I’m worried about how it will read my muddled Filipino blood.

Why do I say muddled? It’s common knowledge that we don’t have a “base” ethnicity. We have the term Mestizo for those who know definitely they have Spanish ancestry, or Mestizo da Sangley for those with Chinese ancestry.

My mom’s maiden name is “Garcia,” but I don’t know if we’re Spanish. My last name is “Bulan,” which is Malaysian in origin, but I don’t know if we’re Malaysian. I’ve been mistaken for Chinese several times. I have no idea if there could be Chinese blood in me, but it’s possible. The only thing I know is I’m Filipino, but I’ve always wondered what exactly that meant for me (I’ll probably get more in-depth on this later, or you could look it up. Our make-up is really interesting).

Going back to the DNA tests, it’s been something I’ve always wanted to try. I could finally know what my specific Filipino blood is made up of! People would say to me, “You look Chinese,” and I could say “Yup, because I am! Even if it’s just five percent!”

I’m all about family and lineage. My mom is one of 12, my dad is one of six. I love looking at my family tree and being amazed at how many relatives I have. Some of my first cousins are the closest friends I have and practically my siblings. Because of this, I’ve checked out to see what I can find out about my family.

Problem is, my parents are from the Philippines. I’m part of the first generation of Garcias and Bulans who were born and raised and America. If you try to look my family up on Ancestry, almost nothing relevant shows up outside of the ones born in the continental US (yeah, it’s hard to even find records on the ones living in Hawai’i, how crazy is that!?).

That fact made me wary about a DNA test today. White people can easily get their German/Polish/French DNA tracked. Oh, you’re 1% Native American too? That’s awesome that you get to know the specific percentage of your DNA makeup. Now, where are all the Asians getting their DNA tested? It says you’re East Asian. Is that Japanese? Korean? Chinese? They don’t have enough information outside of Europe to say, and that ultimately is my problem.

Here’s an example of AncestryDNA and 23andMe’s regions that they can track.

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Let’s say I go with AncestryDNA. If I am a little bit of Chinese, it will just read “Asia East.” Philippines is considered “Asia South,” but so is Malaysia and India. I could be either of those and wouldn’t know. Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 5.58.28 PM23andMe is a little better, but not really. I would know if I’m Chinese, but not Spanish. Still wouldn’t know if I was Malaysian, or something else in Southeast Asia. They have just a slightly more specific range that I appreciate, but right now isn’t enough for me.

I’ve tried to look up other Filipinos who have tried the tests, and there aren’t many of them. I’ve read that “Pacific Islander” shows up in the results, and that would confuse me as someone who is from Hawai’i but not Hawaiian (more on that in another post, maybe).

I’m wondering if it’ll get better if I wait a few more years, or if this is the best it will get. I’m not exactly sure what needs to be done to get more accurate information, and I’m not sure if there’s anything I can do about it, but if there is I’d love to know.

What’s Your MBTI? (INFJ Represent!)

Find out yours here: 16 Personalities MBTI Test

I took AP Psychology in high school and very quickly we learned about MBTI. I took the test, got INFJ, was fascinated for a little bit, and then completely forgot about everything I learned. I wasn’t really a good student.

Years later, I happened upon the test again. Took it. Still an INFJ. With a clearer head I read more about my personality type and was floored. Everything in my life made sense at the moment I read the descriptions. It explained my anxiety, explained why I lied to my friends and told them I couldn’t go out when the truth was I just wanted to stay in, and explained why I can hate people and love them at the same time. I just finally understood so many things about myself, all thanks this little test. I actually became obsessed with finding out everyone’s type — my family, friends, husband, coworkers, I even wondered what characters on TV/movies would be if they took the test. If I could understand myself now, I wanted to understand everyone around me!

The first person I wanted to take the test was, obviously, my husband. He is an ESTJ — practical, logical, straightforward, extroverted, and the complete opposite of me. I knew these from the beginning of our relationship, but after reading things about his personality type, I began to understand him more. It used to be a lot of fights with me thinking I could change some things about him, but I learned it couldn’t be done and we just have to work around each other. If you look it up, INFJs and ESTJs shouldn’t be together (in the same way they say Pisces and Cancer belong together). I take it all with a grain of salt, but I believe MBTIs are the way to go!

I had people argue with me that MBTIs are like horoscopes, and how you can’t fit any given person in 1 of 16 possibilities. I definitely see where they come from, but MBTIs are so much better and more than horoscopes. I’m not a big fan of the idea that you can attribute all that you are based on the day you were born (although admittedly, I fit the Pisces description to the T). The MBTI results come from a test, questions that you answer about yourself, and the types are general and yet specific to all kinds of people you meet in your life.

I do know that personalities change. Different events in someone’s life can cause them to change. Some people can be extroverted children and grow into introverted adults. It happens. Getting a different personality type at different points of your life doesn’t discredit MBTI, but it’s still a great start in getting to know who someone is.

Link: 29 Shameful Things Pinoys Who Who Weren’t Born In The Philippines Understand

29 Shameful Things Pinoys Who Weren’t Born In The Philippines Understand

I looked forward to going through this list. My family is hella Filipino and I knew I would be able to relate and laugh at everything.

I definitely did relate to some of these, but some of them were just so unheard of to me, and I knew it was because living in Hawai’i made things different.

Here are some examples:

3) You keep your shoes on while in the house, much to your nanay’s dismay.
Nope. In Hawai’i, that’s what you do. Why would you track all that dirt into your home? Even living in the mainland now I still leave my footwear at the door.

13) You dare to eat meals without rice.
Hell to the no. I mean, to be honest, since leaving Hawai’i I haven’t had as much rice as I did growing up, but I made that decision for health reasons. My whole life was filled with rice multiple times and not just from Filipino food — Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Hawaiian plate lunches…rice for days.

18) You don’t like Filipino Food.

20) You just can’t get used to the taste of ube ice cream.
Hawai’i has a pretty good amount of Filipino food areas, so getting some halo-halo is not a hard thing to do. Grew up with ube and all the Filipino goodies even if I’m not from Philippines, thanks to Hawai’i’s amazing diverse culture.

23) You use a Swiffer rather than a walis tambo.
Always have a walis tambo on us. My extended family who aren’t Filipino love to use them as well. They’ve seen them in markets all over the state and use it themselves. They’re just amazing brooms, OK?

28) And you don’t even like going to the beach.
Nope, not true at all. Hawai’i born and raised, I always have to be near an ocean.

Some other things I couldn’t relate to, for my own personal reasons not related to being from Hawai’i:

5) You don’t say “po” at the end of your sentences when you’re talking to elders.
I think this might be a Tagalog thing. My parents have never told me to do this. They did, however, always made sure I said, “Yes, Aunty/Uncle” or “No, Aunty/Uncle” whenever I talked to an elder.

7) And you don’t change into your pang-bahay clothes after going out.
My husband, who is also Filipino-American, doesn’t change into “house clothes” when he comes home. It makes me uncomfortable for him. My mom always made sure we did this, and to this day, I cannot be home in jeans or nice blouses because they are not my comfortable “house clothes.”

9) You rooted for Floyd Mayweather, not Manny Pacquiao, during the “Fight of the Century.”
I am ALL about representation of our people, and until my death I will root for the Pac-Man!

Actually, I couldn’t relate to a lot of this list, and it’s so off-putting to think that there are so many FilAms across the country that do relate to this. In a way, I’m lucky that I my parents decided that Hawai’i was going to be their new home. Hawai’i was basically another Philippines for them. Yes, I know it’s a huge difference, but Hawai’i already had a large Filipino population that allowed them to continue their normal way of raising a family. There’s a fairly large Filipino population here in California (and other states) but a lot of the FilAms I know here relate to this list more than I do. It’s a pretty interesting phenomenon, and I’m glad I can be a little more connected to my ethnicity because of where I grew up.

The “Special Snowflake” Syndrome

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Do a quick Google search on the term and this is what you’ll find:
spe·cial snow·flake
A person with supposedly unique characteristics or attributes that entitle them to privileged treatment or particular consideration.
“they’re getting paid either way, just for being the special snowflakes that they are”


Early 21st century: from the idea that every snowflake is distinct from another, in terms of the arrangement of the ice crystals of which it is composed.

I’ve been accused of being this way, and truthfully, I don’t really care. The term has a negative connotation to it but hey… why can’t I be a special snowflake?

I’m an INFJ — my MBTI personality type. We make up the smallest percentage of the population, and that already sets me apart from a lot of people. I’ve always felt different, a little more different than the next person, and it caused a lot of internal conflict. Realizing my personality type has made me come to terms with who I am and began a journey of self-discovery. What parts of me cause me to see things a certain way? What parts of me makes my view on this subject unique? What parts of me makes me different person from the next?

Everyone is different, I know that. I’ve been focusing on these things that make me unique to better understand myself and how I became this way, or why I feel the way I do about certain things. I just need a place to write about it, which is why a special snowflake like myself believes that a public diary for all the world to see was the best option.

Some readers may stop by and think, “Who does she think she is? Why does she think anyone cares about her views, who she is, what she has to say?” and I understand that. Who knows, though — Some readers may find something to relate to, and as an INFJ, I believe a connection can go a long way.

I’m here to write about my life, my thoughts, my feelings. I’m here to share the things that make me happy, that give my life meaning, and to share the things that bring me down. I’m here to struggle, I’m here to pull through, I’m here to embrace the special snowflake that I think I am and I’m here to figure out where I’m going to land.

Here’s to the start of a new commitment, wish me luck.