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Explore​ ​Wellness​ ​With​ ​Filipino​ ​Cuisine: AFIRE​ ​and​ ​Filipino​ ​Kitchen​ ​Launch​ ​Six​ ​Mo

CONTACT: Sarahlynn Pablo, 312-888-1482,; Hannah Doruelo, 773-817-9969,

Explore​ ​Wellness​ ​With​ ​Filipino​ ​Cuisine: AFIRE​ ​and​ ​Filipino​ ​Kitchen​ ​Launch​ ​Six​ ​Month​ ​Program,​ ​“Usapang​ ​Pagkain”

CHICAGO,​ ​January​ ​8,​ ​2017​ ​--​ ​Community-based organization AFIRE (Alliance of Filipinos For Immigrants Rights & Empowerment) and food media and events group Filipino Kitchen will explore wellness and health with Filipino Cuisine in a monthly series, Usapang Pagkain. The event series is free and open to the community. Each event will highlight a Filipino dish or dishes, including recipes. During the weekday evening events, a light dinner of the highlighted dishes will be provided. Made possible with a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, the purpose of the series is to explore how Filipino food can best serve our community.

“In recent years, the significance of culturally based food habits on health and diet has been recognized, and the need for intercultural competencies in the areas of nutrition research, assessment, counseling, and education has been cited,” wrote Sucher, Kittler, Nelms in “Food and Culture” (2016). In the Filipino community specifically, which has a higher occurrence of diabetes, a 2011 study published by the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, stated that Filipinos were more likely than any other ethnic group to self-report discrimination by healthcare providers, and related studies cite that “these self-reports of discrimination among individuals with diabetes have been shown to be associated with receiving fewer hemoglobin A1c tests, blood pressure tests, and foot exams, as well as have worse disease control, symptom burden, and physical functioning” (Rees, Karter, Young et al, Feb 2011: Volume 22, 1).

“When I eat Filipino food it does more than just feed my body it nourishes my soul. I have fond memories of my mother making nilaga baka for dinner; patiently simmering beef bones, chopping bok choy and adding it to the clear broth. Our food grounds us in our homes, our families, and our community. I’m excited to collaborate with Filipino Kitchen to showcase our food and foster a culture of wellness in the Filipino community,” says Michael Aguhar, executive director of AFIRE.

The 2018 Usapang Pagkain events schedule and themes are:

● Saturday, January 13, 2 to 4 PM:

“Healing & Comfort: Salabat, Tinola, Arroz Caldo”

● Tuesday, February 20, 6 to 8 PM:

“Healthy & Happy Hearts”

● Monday, March 19, 6 to 8 PM:

“Mga Isla Na May Isda: Fish-centric Recipes”

● Saturday, April 14, 2 to 4 PM:

“Bahay Kubo: Gulay & Other Vegetables”

● Wednesday, May 23, 6 to 8 PM:

“Adapting Classic Filipino Dishes”

● Sunday, June 24, noon to 3 PM:

“Isaw & BBQ: Family Fun”

Unless noted, all events will take place at the Hana Center, 4300 N California Avenue, Chicago. Schedule and venues are subject to change, please check and for the most up-to-date information.

The Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights & Empowerment (AFIRE) is a grassroots community organization that builds the capacity of Filipino/a/xs to organize on issues of social, racial, and economic justice that affect undocumented immigrants, domestic workers, seniors, and youth. AFIRE was borne out of the movement to resist the criminalization of undocumented immigrants in the U.S and founded in 2006 by Filipino immigrants who held deep roots in the People Power Movement of the Philippines. Over the years, AFIRE has provided a culturally-relevant, linguistically accessible space to engage and organize Filipino immigrants in popular education and to build each person’s capacity to advocate for their rights.

Filipino Kitchen uses Philippine cuisine to connect Filipinos everywhere with our cultural heritage and the possibilities of our shared future. Based in Chicago, we cook and share our delicious cuisine at pop-up dining events and the annual Kultura Festival. On our website, Filipino Kitchen documents with photography, interviews, stories and recipes from the makers and appreciators of Filipino cuisine and its continuing evolution. We hope to lead a long-coming renaissance of Filipinos by connecting across the diaspora with our shared love and pride of our food. The masterminds and masterhearts behind Filipino Kitchen are two Filipino Americans: writer Sarahlynn Pablo and photographer Natalia Roxas. Filipino Kitchen is online at and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


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