My mother is South Korean, for all that she knows. Her maiden last name of Cha that is connected back to the Yu Dynasty in China. My father's father was from the Philippine Islands, and was Ilocano heritage. My father's mother has a long history of French-Canadian in her ancestry that go back to France.
Where is your mom’s family from? Where is your dad’s family from?
My mother's mother was from South Korea. My mother's father was most-likely Korean. My mother said she was not sure, because he carried a Chinese surname and spoke fluent Japanese. My dad's mother was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. My dad's father was born and raised in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Philippines.
Have you ever been there? What was that experience like?
I have only been to Detroit. I went in 2000. When I went to Detroit, the neighborhood had potential to be a booming and beautiful area, with beautiful brick buildings. However, each of those beautiful buildings were remnants and ruins of the Detroit riots of 1967. They were boarded up and windows were broken out. There were weeds everywhere, trash on the street, and prostitutes, pimps, homeless and drug dealers in plain view.
What traditions have been passed down in your family?
The only traditions I can think of is dressing up for Halloween and trick-or-treating; Santa Claus for Christmas, and hunting for colored eggs at Easter.
Who were your favorite relatives?
My favorite relative would have been my great uncle Tony. His was born as Antonura Arribas Arcala. When he came to the United States he changed his name to Antonio Arribas Arcala. Uncle Tony was there for my birth and many of my birthdays and Christmases. He had a very thick Ilocano accent, was very short, probably about 5'4". He was very talkative and very funny. He was the grandfather I never had.
My other favorite relative would have been my dad's younger sister, Jacki. She was very good about bringing the family together and cooking for all her relatives. She was also one of my closest relatives as she lived in the same city, Long Beach, CA when I was a young child.
Do you remember any of the stories they used to tell you?
I do not recall any stories at the moment.
What are the classic family stories? Jokes? Songs?
None that I can think of at this moment.