My mum is Cebuano and my dad was Ilocano, we lived in Rizal, so my mother tongue is Tagalog. My family moved to the UK when I was 10 and fortunately, between us, we kept speaking Tagalog. I worked in the animation industry – selling cartoons to broadcasters so I always had an interest in storytelling for children - and in the cutest, most colourful ways.
My daughter was born during the pandemic. I sang her made-up Tagalog songs. My hope was that she might at least understand it, at best that she will speak some Taglish. I tried to find Tagalog books, but at the time, the choice in the UK was very limited so that urged me to write and produce my own book.
I based the character after my daughter, Ligaya. Due to lockdown she hardly went to the shop and she only saw her Lola online. How great it was to write about her being able to do both. The story is told in dialogue form so the language is simple to learn – but useful too!
As I write, the book is on its way to the UK and Canada... available to pre-order for September delivery – www.bukobooks.com.
(Pssst - get 10% off with code: PINOY10, plus free UK shipping)
Whilst on this journey, I got the sense of just how many pinoys there are all over the world. More than ever before. We have managed to fit in, becoming part of society through vital work in families and communities. From this, many expat generations are forming.
As well as language-learning, Buko Books will be seeking to bring people together and define a new pinoy identity. We’ll need your help. So watch this space!