America is giving me more of a chance to be my best.: Becoming Minnesotan

Patrick Faunillan, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2008. Minnesota Historical Society.
  • Name - Patrick Faunillan
  • Age at interview - 19
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 12.22.2010
  • Patrick Faunillan in “The Single Shard” at Stages Theater, Hopkins, Minnesota.
    Patrick Faunillan playing saxophone at a recital. Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2008.

    Filipino, Language

    Essential Question

    Becoming Americans: What does it mean to be an American?

    Opportunities in America: What kind of opportunities does this person see in America that he/she did not have in the homeland?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    In the Philippines, extended families are normally very close. In fact, it is common for grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, and cousins to all live together in the same house. The children all grow up together more like brothers and sisters than cousins, and all of the adults work together to take care of all of the kids. Family members support one another and have a lot of respect for what it means to be part of the family. Because of these tight-knit families, it is a very difficult decision to move away from important family support systems to come to the U.S.

    To learn more about Filipino history and culture, visit our Filipino Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Patrick Faunillan 5
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    Narrator: Patrick Faunillan (PF)

    Interviewer: Lita Malicsi (LM)

    LM: In what way do you think your life would have been different if you had not left the Philippines?

    PF: Yeah, I definitely think my life would be different if I’d stayed in the Philippines. I don’t know if my self-esteem would be as high or if I would be as happy, because I really enjoy being here in America. I know others may not, but I’ve seen other places and how less fortunate it is, like the Philippines. I’m very fortunate to have grown up here. And after going back to the Philippines the past two summers, I can really see that. I like to strive for the best, and I really believe America is giving me more of a chance to be my best, and I think the Philippines wouldn’t give me as much of a chance or opportunity to really explore what I want to do. And I think that’s why my parents wanted to come here, to just give us better opportunities. And I thank them for that, because just going back there, it’s just . . . I see all of these people, and a lot of them just want to go to America. And they’re working hard to go to America. So, I mean, to grow up here, and to be kind of the first generation in my family to really grow up here is really nice.

    I guess if I lived in the Philippines I’d be able to speak Tagalog, which would be pretty good, because I can’t speak it. [Chuckles] I can understand it, but I can’t speak it. But if I stayed there, I definitely would be able to. And I guess if I stayed there we’d be closer to our extended family, literally closer, and emotionally closer, and better relationships with them. But yeah, that would . . . that’s how different it would be.

    Related Glossary Terms

    extended family

    Noun:  A family consisting of parents and children, along with either grandparents, grandchildren, aunts or uncles, etc.


    Adjective: Lucky, favored by fortune.


    Noun:  1. A period of around thirty years, the average amount of time before a child takes the place of its parents.  2. A group of people who are of approximately the same age.


    Noun:  A chance for advancement, progress, or profit.


    Noun: Personal feelings or opinions of oneself.


    Verb:  To try to achieve a goal; to try earnestly and persistently.  (strives, striving, strove/strived, striven/strived)


    Noun: A language spoken in the Philippines, particularly in Manila and the surrounding area.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 2142