by Kristina Rivera
October is Filipino American History Month, and we at Intentionalist want to encourage you to #SpendLikeItMatters at the incredible Filipino-owned small businesses in the region.
Filipino American History Month was federally recognized in 2009 and brings awareness to the vital role Filipino people have in American history. Filipino Americans are the second largest Asian American group in the United States. The Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands, each with their own unique cuisine and culture, so the experience of Filipino Americans can be similarly varied and unique.
This month is not only about honoring the rich history of Filipino Americans but also celebrating the Filipino Americans making history today. Here are three Seattle-area eateries that are celebrating their Filipino history and heritage while building a legacy for themselves:
Amber Manuguid and Aaron Verzosa combine their passion for sharing Filipino American history and culture with their Pacific Northwest upbringing at their restaurant, Archipelago, in Hillman City. First and foremost, Archipelago is about storytelling. Their 8-12 course tasting menu (depending on the season) brings guests on a journey through three waves of Filipino American immigration in the region using ingredients from the PNW.
Amber and Aaron are uniquely fit for the job — Amber’s background is in experience design, and she contributes thoughtful elements to the experience of dining at Archipelago. Her mission is to use her talents to bring awareness to Filipino history and culture and uplift the fellow Filipino people around her. Meanwhile, Aaron has years under his belt working in fine dining. He noticed the lack of diversity and representation in the fine dining space, not only by Filipino Americans like himself, but also from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color across the board. Together, their goal at Archipelago is to stay authentic to their experience as Filipino Americans growing up in the PNW and encourage diversity in all areas of the culinary world and food systems.
“We felt a responsibility that we had as children of immigrant parents to uphold and to really make reality of a dream that was about going through struggle during discrimination and working through hardship. For us, it was about representing that story, that history, of not just our parents’ wave of Filipino immigration but the waves of immigration before that.”— Aaron Verzosa
CheBogz Filipino Food Truck
Sisters Trixia Paraiso and Paula Paraiso aim to share home cooked Filipino meals at their CheBogz Filipino Food Truck, based in Federal Way. Trixia and Paula’s culinary journey began in 2010 when their parents took over the beloved Kusina Filipina in Beacon Hill from its original owners. When Kusina Filipina’s building was bought out and the rent spiked, the Paraiso family closed Kusina Filipina and bought Manila’s Pride in Federal Way. In 2016, Trixia and Paula were inspired to open up a food truck to continue working with their family and expand beyond their family’s restaurant.
The name “CheBogz” is derived from the Tagalog word “chibog” — a slang term meaning “to eat” that’s commonly used in the Northern part of the Philippines where the Paraiso family is from. The spelling is a dedication to their parents whose nicknames are Chez and Bogie.
The Paraiso family is also in the process of launching a Kickstarter to open a brick-and-mortar CheBogz location in Beacon Hill. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date on their progress!
“With [Filipino American History Month] and where I am and all the things that I’ve experienced, there was a moment in my life and in my family’s life where we thought we needed to let go of our culture to survive here. And eventually we realized that to survive here, we actually need to hold on to that and make people know that you don’t have to change who you are.”— Trixia Paraiso
Feed Co. Burgers
Nestled in the Central District is neighborhood burger joint Feed Co. Burgers. Co-owner Chef Francis Fernandez is a first generation Filipino American whose parents immigrated to California from the Philippines in the 80s. He always dreamed of owning his own business and first opened a poke truck, which taught him a lot about building one from the bottom up. He later joined his Feed Co. co-owner, Lan Bun, and he’s been serving delicious, fresh burgers using seasonal PNW ingredients ever since.
Francis’s favorite part about running Feed Co. is the neighborhood around him and the people in it. He loves talking to people in the Central District, learning about its history, and helping his community whenever he can. Last Christmas, they closed the restaurant for business, but Francis was there with friends and family to feed the community. They made 220 hot meals and 160 sack lunches and collected enough donations to make 160 kits with scarves, thermal socks, beanies, gloves, and hygiene kits.
Bonus: you can now find Feed Co. Burgers at their new location at 7130 Woodlawn Avenue Northeast in Greenlake!
“To me, [Filipino American History Month is] celebrating where I came from. My family moved to California in the 80s. I am the first American-born child. Growing up here in Washington, I wasn’t around many Filipinos at all. But for me, it’s the food and how it brings us all together.”— Chef Francis Fernandez
Kristina Rivera is the marketing and communications coordinator at Intentionalist. She graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in journalism and public relations and has worked with organizations ranging from local nonprofits to global PR firms.
📸 Featured Image: Madrona smoked hazelnut suman, lola smith apple caramel, elderflower leche flan custard, and young pine from Archipelago. (Photo courtesy of Archipelago)
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