NEXTGEN Fellow Marc Butiong Considers Going “Home” for the First Time


Bayanihan Foundation NEXTGEN Fundraiser May 31, 2015

Bayanihan Foundation NEXTGEN Fundraiser May 31, 2015

Marc Butiong (center) shares a happy moment with Dale Asis, Marie Butiong and James Castillo (left to right)

Marc Butiong (center) shares a happy moment with Dale Asis, Marie Butiong and James Castillo (left to right)

On May 31, 2015, Marc Butiong, Bayanihan Foundation NEXTGEN Fellow played the role as emcee and host for the evening’s fundraiser. The theme for the evening’s fundraiser is coming home (Pagbabalik). I prepared him a short speech to briefly introduced himself and the evening’s program.  Instead, he shared a passionate speech that sets the tone for the evening as the Bayanihan Foundation announced the first recipients of the NEXTGEN Travel Fellowship. Marc shares his personal reflections as he travels “home” to the Philippines for the first time.

Marc Butiong, 2015 NEXTGEN Fellow played the host for the evening fundraiser May 31, 2015

Marc Butiong, 2015 NEXTGEN Fellow played the host for the evening fundraiser May 31, 2015

“It is such an honor and privilege to be able to share that me and two other recent college graduates have been selected as the first-ever “NEXTGEN: Pagbabalik Scholars” for the Bayanihan Foundation. We have been selected among a talented pool of applicants to travel back home to the Philippines to contribute to local, sustainable projects that will have an impact on the communities for years to come. We will embark on a journey to develop our Filipino identity through the projects we will take part in and look forward to the cultural immersion that will manifest in our travels. This is an opportunity to experience the homeland through a program that will undoubtedly expose our group to the beauty, history, and indigenous practices of our native Philippines.

It is important to note that we take this opportunity as more than just the chance to visit the homeland. This opportunity that the Bayanihan Foundation has awarded us will be a transcending experience. We were chosen for a reason. We were chosen because of our leadership and willingness to allow the experience to transform us. To transform our perception, thoughts, and eventual goals for what we can contribute to the Philippines not only through the trip, but for years to come. It’s important for us to share these stories with our families and friends. These stories and experiences will influence our own communities and serve as the continual reminder that we can always look to the Bayanihan Foundation for inspiration in allowing us to continue to grow as leaders.

(left to right): Jeselle Santiago, Jane Baron,  James Castillo and Marc Butiong

(left to right): Jeselle Santiago, Jane Baron, James Castillo and Marc Butiong

This is the first year the Bayanihan Foundation has awarded scholarships for second-generation Filipinos to go home. Much of the success of the trip now and years to come depends on a successful first year. I can honestly say that we take that sentiment to heart and look forward to contributing our efforts to build this program to its highest potential. As bridge-builders do, we will be there every step of the way to form a solid foundation. That foundation starts now.”

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“The Color of Revolution” Reflects NEXTGEN Participant’s Personal Journey


(left to right): Jeselle Santiago, Jane Baron,  James Castillo and Marc Butiong

Bayanihan Foundation board member James Castillo (third from left) announcing the NEXTGEN Fellows (left to right) Jeselle Santiago, Jane Baron, James Castillo and Marc Butiong

In 2008, I won the Chicago Community Trust Fellowship and I got the chance to go back to the Philippines. That trip changed my life. In 2010, I wanted to duplicate that life transforming experience to young Filipino Americans. I want to give them the gift of travel and give them opportunities to create sustainable projects. The idea was simple – encourage young Filipino Americans to visit the Philippines; know more about the culture; learn about the Bayanihan Foundation’s sustainable projects; and eventually they would develop their own sustainable projects. In 2015, after several tries, the NEXTGEN Travel Fellowship was finally up and running. On May 31, 2015 at the Bayanihan fundraiser, board member James Castillo announced the names of the NEXTGEN Fellows – Jane Baron, Marc Butiong and Jeselle Santiago. I was standing in the back of the room when I heard his announcement. I could not believe it.  I am finally taking the NEXTGEN Fellows to the Philippines, a culmination of a long-term effort. That evening, NEXTGEN Fellow Jane Baron also shared her poem “The Color of Revolution.”  She captured the essence of my own personal journey and why I’m passionate to make the NEXTGEN Travel Fellowship a reality.

Jane Baron shares her thoughts about being selected as a NEXTGEN Fellow,  her upcoming trip to the Philippines and her own personal journey:

Jane Baron, Loyola University Chicago 2016

2015 NEXTGEN Fellow Jane Baron, Loyola University Chicago 2016

“Since immigrating to the United States, the Filipino culture is something I have always valued, but in order to feel accepted into the American culture, I forced myself to forget parts of my culture that were labeled as different. It was only recently that I started to become confident in expressing myself through my culture. By immersing myself in Filipino history and culture, I started to understand the internal oppression that I have faced and still face, and it also taught me to fully love myself. My poem, “The Color of Revolution,” represents how I have felt about being forced to forget my culture, and it also tells my hope of rediscovery in the future.

Being part of the NEXTGEN Fellowship and being surrounded by people who have similar beliefs makes me feel empowered to re-explore my culture. I believe that visiting my homeland will help me appreciate my heritage as well as remind me of my privilege. In going on this trip, I hope to rediscover how beautiful my culture is while doing sustainable projects in my homeland, make lasting relationships with the communities we visit, and continue working together to empower our community.”

NEXTGEN Fellow Jane Baron reciting her poem "The Color of Revolution"

NEXTGEN Fellow Jane Baron reciting her poem “The Color of Revolution”

Jane Baron shares her poem “The Color of Revolution”

I was 9 when they stole me away
from my mother’s garden
and chopped off my roots.

They chained my hands & feet
and squeezed my heart like clay.

My body was stripped of its
growing leaves,
stuffed in a tiny luggage,
and checked-in for an 18-hour flight.

…A flight to the land of gold streets
…A land of endless opportunities

Any traces of ancestral blood that
dripped from my cuts were carefully
bleached to erase any clues
that would lead my mother
back to Me.

My skin was scrubbed & sanitized,
until the color faded
into purity
and blended in with their own thoughts of
normal.

They cut off my tongue,
sewed my lips shut,
so that the honey-like words
that my mother sang would
cause pain & shame.

My insides were cleansed & naturalized,
and my brain had its memories
beaten out of it.

…the rice fields with houses made of dried nipa leaves

…the rainbow of stars during the hot Christmas nights

…the streets flooded with flowers in February

…the community of brown familiar faces that nurtured my seed

All forgotten and stuffed in a caged box.

But my blue & bruised heart still attempts to fight for Freedom.
Hoping that one day…
my Skin will regain its normal color,
my Tongue will regrow
and my Soul will heal,
 …more resilient than before,

…and sprout yellow roses,

…in the Color of Revolution.

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‘Kaluluwa Kolectivo’ (Soul Collective) Connecting Community and Spirituality


Kaluluwa Kolectivo (Soul Collective)

Kaluluwa Kolectivo (Soul Collective)

In 2000, I’ve met Irene Juaniza.  I have always admired her and her community organizing work – training young immigrant leaders in the San Francisco Bay area, organizing low-income working class families in Chicago’s south side,  fighting for the rights of restaurant workers in Chicago. She is one of the very few Filipino Americans that I knew that are working as community organizers. Irene truly believes that we could affect the change that we wish to see in the world.

In 2014, our paths have crossed again and this time in deeper meaningful ways than I ever would have imagined. The Bayanihan Foundation is proud to support the group that Irene helped spearhead, Kaluluwa Kolectivo (Soul Collective).  The Kaluluwa Kolectivo is exploring the connection between community and spirituality.  The collective consists of e Armea, Stephanie Camba, Crystle Diño and Irene Juaniza.

Kaluluwa Kolectivo participants (left to right): Stephanie Camba, Crystle Dino, Irene Juaniza, e Armea

Kaluluwa Kolectivo participants (left to right): Stephanie Camba, Crystle Dino, Irene Juaniza, e Armea

What is the Kaluluwa Kolectivo (Soul Collective) all about? 

The Kaluluwa Kolectivo  explores how Filipino pre-colonial indigenous spiritual practices are continued to be used in everyday life to build thriving communities. The collective’s upcoming trip to the Philippines originates from creating community in order to support the participants’ personal and collective spirit work. Having met through varying social and political endeavors, they are building relationships and supporting each other’s spiritual paths. Although each path varies, the Kaluluwa Kolectivo share a common understanding – we are all spiritual beings living a human existence. For Kaluluwa Kolectivo, it understands “spirit” as guided by a process of inquiry and action to address the question: “How do we live as genuine expressions of the Divine Source through every thought, action, and intention?”

The Kaluluwa Kolectivo participants will be traveling in the Philippines for over two weeks.  They will seek out and learn more about spiritual practices before the advent of Spanish and American colonialism. They will seek out these practices as they are played out in simple and daily routines, whether through cultural practices or overt spiritual spaces.  The Kaluluwa Kolectivo participants will explore their indigenous spirituality at the same time mirror their own spiritual process. This trip is the start of a journey and perhaps will last beyond this first visit.

When will the Kaluluwa Kolectivo travel to the Philippines?

From June 23 to July 7, 2015, the participants of the Kaluluwa Kolectivo will be traveling to the Philippines with the three NEXTGEN Fellows: Jane Baron, Marc Butiong and Jeselle Santiago.  Both Kaluluwa Kolectivo participants and NEXTGEN Fellows will be visiting different regions of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. They will visit Cebu, Samar, Tacloban, Iligan and Manila.  Then from July 7 to July 10, 2015, the Kaluluwa Kolectivo participants will travel to the Cordilleras in northern Luzon.  In each site, the Bayanihan Foundation will provide the travel logistics, connect them to potential partnerships and help them relationships with the local community. The Kaluluwa Kolectivo participants will also bring goods and gifts to each place from books to wheelchairs, based on what the community thinks they need.

Why is the Kaluluwa Kolectivo doing this?

The participants of the Kaluluwa Kolectivo have been involved as community activists and organizers for a long time. They have been engaged in the arts and in varying social justice issues. Irene and the Kaluluwa Kolectivo participants have created spaces for themselves and others to critically reflect, to re-imagine, to build relationships, and to take action. The common goal of the Kaluluwa Kolectivo community work is to assert and support self-determination. This intention echoes the Collective’s commitment to build community through each individual’s freedom to live and love as their Genuine Self.

I will be traveling with the Kaluluwa Kolectivo. I will also share the insights of our trip through continued community building. Many of the friends and family of the Kaluluwa Kolectivo have heard their song. They have organized and went door knocking; marched at an action; attended a workshop; danced at one of the fundraising events; sat in a healing session; or traveled with the Collective in ceremony. The Kaluluwa Kolectivo is a community. We invite you to continue this path with the Kaluluwa Kolectivo as we journey together.

How can you help?

I urge you to donate and support the worthwhile efforts of the Kaluluwa Kolectivo. You can donate at their online fundraising page http://bit.ly/1Gtfchc Your donation will go towards travel costs, stipends, honorarium, safety materials and other necessary expenses.  All donations will be going to the Bayanihan Foundation to support the work fo the Collective.  Your donation is tax-deductible as permitted by law.

Kaluluwa Kolectivo image with traditional bamboo and 'batik' (traditional dyed) cloth prints

Kaluluwa Kolectivo image with traditional bamboo and ‘batik’ (traditional dyed) cloth prints

Kaluluwa Kolectivo Participant Bios
e:
Hi. I’m e. I’m a quiet kinky fat transmasculine genderqueer Filipino living and loving in Chicago, the city I was born and raised in. I am my mother’s daughter and my father’s son. I have a strong relationship with the moon, love working with my hands and building little buildings as well as community. I’m a Pisces sun, Taurus rising, and Gemini moon. I’m a platonic husband to 4 people, best friend to three, and a lover of my community and chosen fam.

Stephanie:
I am an undocumented, queer, Chicago based Pilipin@ storyteller, writer, poet, singer, MC, healer, organizer, and all in all funny person. I am on this path to meet my family for the first time in 24 years, to connect with the land I come from and where my ancestors have lived and died, to learn and grow with and from the people and places I interact with, and to let the vibrations of my motherland live through me and allow me to sing our stories and memories of a more just world until we are all free. I launched my fundraising site earlier than the rest of the crew because of additional fees I needed to pay in order to apply for travel as an undocumented person. I’m a Gemini sun, Libra rising, and Leo moon.

Crystle: 
I am a Chi-Pinay- multidisciplinary artist, mover and Filipino Martial Artist, believer in healing energy, cultural bearer, and Ninang/Tita/Pinsan/SisterHermana/Daughter/Kaibigan/HomeGirl/Sun/Mahal/Lover.  I am deeply grateful and over-joyed that my path is allowing me to re-connect to my Motherland once again.  I am excited to embark on this journey with my KaKol Pamilya in remembering carefully the love, power, and presence of our Ancestors and strengthening the connection of the knowledge and gifts that are within us to be shared with our community.  I am ready and open to step from a place where fear and shame no longer live, but where Heart and Mind are aligned.  I am stepping in rhythm to Tiwala, Tiwala na…   Scorpio. All. Ova. This.

Irene:
Born in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, I honor my Batangueña and Waray ancestry, and call on the Babaylan essence as I walk the Spirit path. Leo sun, Scorpio rising, Sagittarius moon, I gift the element of fire to our Kolectivo. Whether cultivating movement consciousness through community building or Soul work, I call on my Divine self to bring forth the perfection of love, life, and light in all that I see, speak, and do. I AM all that I AM.

Twitter: @KaKolectivo
Instagram: KaluluwaKolectivo

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NEXTGEN: ‘Pagbabalik’ (Coming Home) Fundraising Dinner


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The Bayanihan Foundation recognized the ‘Kaluluwa Kolectivo’ (Soul Collective) participants and awarded NEXTGEN Travel Scholarships to three deserving recent college graduates. Please see pictures from the dinner below.

James Castillo, Bayanihan Board Member, presenting NEXTGEN Fellows: Jeselle Santiago (University of Illinois at Chicago), Jane Baron (Loyola University Chicago), and Marc Butiong (University of Illinois at Chicago).


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Irene Juaniza presenting the KaluluwaKolectivo (Soul Collective) purpose and members. From left to right; Stephanie Camba, Crystle Dino, Irene Juaniza, and E Armea

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The guest enjoyed purple jam cake for dessert.

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Dinner attendees enjoyed a delicious Lechon and Filipino comfort food

To see more photos from the Pagbabalik Dinner please Bayanihan’s Facebook page by clicking this link. 

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Young Filipino-Americans First to Win NEXTGEN Scholarships


In 2008, I received the Chicago Community Trust Fellowship and I had the rare opportunity to travel back to the Philippines and visit my mother’s native village in Bicol, in the southernmost tip of Luzon Island, the largest island in the Philippine archipelago. There I was confronted with the poverty in the region and of my own distant relatives.  I had the chance to travel back home and I saw the connection between the desperation of my family and the overwhelming number of immigrants who feel they must migrate to seek a better life.  This was a turning point in my life.

In 2015, I want to offer that same opportunity to young Filipino Americans to go back home, discover their roots and at the same time offer them opportunities to become long-term partners for change in the Philippines.  I had the tremendous support of the Bayanihan Foundation board members and the NEXTGEN Travel Scholarship came about. Special thanks go to Rebecca Bardach and the Center for International Migration and Integration (CIMI) for inspiring me to do this work.  After a rigorous and competitive selection process, I am proud to announce the three young Filipino Americans first to win NEXTGEN Scholarships for 2015. The NEXTGEN Fellows will visit the Philippines in June 2015 for 14 days. They will rediscover their homeland and cultural heritage, connect with their relatives, explore opportunities to volunteer and encourage them to be long-term partners for change in the Philippines.

Young Filipino Americans First to Win NEXTGEN Scholarships – Fellows of 2015

Jane Baron

Jane Baron, Loyola University Chicago 2016

Jane Baron, Loyola University Chicago 2015

Jane Baron immigrated to the US when she was nine years old. She recently obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Loyola University Chicago. During her four years at Loyola, she was involved in Kapwa, a Filipino student organization on campus and became President of Kapwa in the 2014-2015 academic school year. She was also a Women of Color Scholar and a Social Justice Research Fellow at Loyola. Outside of school, she was an Impact Fellow and Kinetic Instructor at Asian Americans Advancing Justice—Chicago.

Marc Butiong

Marc Butiong, University of Illinois at Chicago 2016

Marc Butiong, University of Illinois at Chicago 2015

Marc Butiong is a recent graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in Business Management and a minor in Finance. He served as a student leader for multiple organizations on campus and will apply the same dedication as a bridge-builder for the Bayanihan Foundation. This will be his first trip to the Philippines and first opportunity to experience the homeland through diaspora philanthropy. He will begin his professional career with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in July 2015.

Jeselle Santiago

Jeselle Santiago, University of illinois Chicago 2017

Jeselle Santiago, University of Illinois at Chicago 2015

Jeselle is a recent college graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago, with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and a Minor in Asian American Studies. She has a heart for helping others and hopes to make a positive impact in the mental health field. She was born in Manila, Philippines then raised in America—and she embraces her truly Filipino American identity. With the generosity of the Bayanihan foundation, she will finally have the opportunity to explore this identity further.

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Computer Donations Point Giporlos Students to the Future


Giporlos National Trade School, local high school in Giporlos, Samar Philippines

Giporlos National Trade School, local high school in Giporlos, Samar Philippines

In March 2015, I went back to Giporlos, Samar Philippines and donated used computers to Giporlos National Trade School, the local high school in Giporlos, Samar, Philippines. Since 2014, the Bayanihan Foundation has invested in long-term sustainability efforts in Giporlos and other towns in Samar devastated by super typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded to hit landfall.

(left to right): Dale Asis and Evelyn Castillo of Bayanihan Foundation Worldwide donating computers to Benjamin Campomanes, Principal of Giporlos National Trade School

(left to right): Dale Asis and Evelyn Castillo of Bayanihan Foundation Worldwide donating computers to Benjamin Campomanes, Principal of Giporlos National Trade School

Through the generous donation of Linda and John Jamrozy and other donors of the Bayanihan Foundation, I was able to buy used computers in Chicago and donate them to the Giporlos National Trade School.  Evelyn Castillo of the Bayanihan Foundation ensured the smooth transition and donation of the used computers. Evelyn will also follow-up and make sure that the computers will be put to good use. The school’s computer lab was completely devastated during typhoon Haiyan and so the used computer donations were warmly welcomed.

High school students watched attentively during the brief ceremony donating the used computers to the high school in Giporlos Samar

High school students watched attentively during the brief ceremony donating the used computers to the high school in Giporlos Samar

Many of the students were excited to used the computers. High school sophomore student, Hector Fabillar of Giporlos National Trade School in Samar, Philippines expressed his gratitude on the recent donation of used computers from the Bayanihan Foundation. Hector said that he’s excited to use the computers and learn to use Auto-CAD software to help him in his dream to become an engineer someday. The used computer donations are another example of the Bayanihan Foundation’s extending its resources to help for the long-term.

The Bayanihan Foundation is planning to have a fundraiser in Chicago, Illinois on May 31, 2015. 97% of all funds raised go directly to programs like used computer donations like these. Will you consider donating and helping the Bayanihan Foundation fulfill its mission of Filipinos abroad helping Filipinos at home?

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NEXTGEN: Pagbabalik (Coming Home)


Nextgen 2

You’re Invited
NEXTGEN: ‘Pagbabalik’ (Coming Home)
Fundraising Dinner
To Benefit:

    • NEXTGEN: ‘Pagbabalik’ (Coming Home) Travel Scholarships for Second Generation Filipino Americans to travel back home and develop sustainable projects
    • ‘Kaluluwa Kolectivo’ (Soul Collective) understanding indigenous Filipino spiritual practices
    • Rehabilitation Efforts After Super Typhoon Haiyan
    • Community Projects and Partnerships in the Philippines

Eventbrite - NextGen: "Pagbabalik" (Coming Home)

Sunday, May 31, 2015
Private Reception, 5:30 PM
Program & Dinner, 6:30 PM
Little Quiapo Restaurant,
6259 N. McCormick Blvd. Chicago
Filipino home comfort food & nine-course buffet including lechon

Raffle at the Event

Entertainment by
NEXTGEN Second Generation Filipino American Artists

Suggested donation: $55 individual, $100 for a couple*

Click on the button below to buy your tickets 

Eventbrite - NextGen: "Pagbabalik" (Coming Home)

*Your donation may be tax deductible under the law. Please consult your tax advisor. Thank you for your support.

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