If you've been following along on our IG, you'll know we have some pretty awesome photos of our products. Jasmine is the skilled photographer behind some of those images! Continue reading to learn more about what being “Filipino-Canadian” means to her!
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
My name is Jasmine and I’m a photographer and creative consultant based in (so-called) Vancouver. I have been working with small, local businesses since 2017 for product and lifestyle photography, helping elevate their online presence through impactful visual storytelling. I find deep joy in travelling, spending lots of time by the ocean, living slowly, and most recently, reconnecting with my Filipino roots and empowering my community.
2. What does being Asian-Canadian mean to you?
I still remember sitting in my aunt’s living room in May 2005 packing one of my moving boxes, trying to make as little movement as possible because I was soaked in sweat and I thought to myself, “At least I’ll never have to deal with ultra hot summers ever again.” Little did I know, every single year, I would’ve done everything I can to save up money so I can visit home.
As a first-generation immigrant, coming to Canada with my family reflected my parents’ resilience and perseverance. We were living with my aunt for a few months before we left the Philippines, because my parents had to sell our house so that we can have the ‘show money’ to be able to immigrate. We still didn’t have enough after selling the house but what we had plenty of was community – my parents’ friends lent us what we needed.
When I was younger, “Filipino-Canadian” quite literally embodied how I processed and interacted with people and my surroundings, always within a dual identity perspective, and being Filipino always comes first. After having spent the last half of my life in Canada, what was most difficult for me was being at peace with others’ perception that I will never be “Filipino enough” whenever I’m in the Philippines even though I was never “Canadian enough” in Canada. Now that I’m older, being Filipino-Canadian has been a source of empowerment and pride in my life. Experiencing both worlds opened my eyes to a lot of issues as well as possibilities and solutions. The creativity, empathy, and unique perspectives it has fostered within me are invaluable and I will always use them to uplift others and contribute where I can.
3. How do you incorporate Chinese food therapy/Chinese herbs into your daily routine?
I can’t start my day without having a cup of green tea in the morning. It calms me and gives me a good flow of energy at the same time. Herbs and herbal remedies are also very common in Filipino traditional healing and I feel that my body responds very well to them. I will always believe in the power of herbs.
4. As Asian culture tends to put focus on the importance of family, can you share the fondest memory you have with your family?
I have so many fond moments with my family! But when I was younger, my favourite memories was always during the holiday season – it’s actually celebrated the longest in the Philippines with the season starting on September and ending in January. We would have so many family gatherings around food, gifts, and games. I was very close with my cousins growing up and I am so grateful that my family made sure we always had time to bond with one another!