Visualizing a Memory

This week in class we told a personal story using a two minute video. I chose to focus on a particular painting of mine that always makes me think of a childhood home and why those memories are bittersweet. This was a very difficult assignment for me because I am awful with technology! The video is simple but I hope it tells my story effectively. Enjoy:

Sunset Peak

For this project I decided to make a video about one of my favorite places in Hong Kong, Sunset peak. When people think of Hong Kong they imagine a tightly packed city full of skyscrapers; no one every really envisions it as having much in the way of country parks and natural areas. Hopefully this video will dispel some of that and give you a chance to see some of Hong Kongs natural beauty.

The Story of My Family

This week we were instructed to make a digital story based on our family history. I chose to tell the story of how my family was formed. Specifically the way in which we met each other and how we grew to love each other. This story is important to me because my family is the most important part of my life. They are the people that have made me who I am and keep me grounded. This is the story of our beautifully diverse and wonderfully complicated family.

On the Water

Everytime I pass by a river or stream, I scan the water thinking about where the fish might be lurking. It’s a habit springing from years of fly fishing with my mom and dad in the Yellowstone region of Montana and Wyoming. Fly fishing has become an essential part of every summer for me––a time to enjoy beautiful places with people I love, while plying the water for unsuspecting fish.

Just in my lifetime, the past time of fly fishing has changed drastically: dozens more fishermen are on the water in Yellowstone and elsewhere in the West every year. It’s painful for me to see banks trampled down and tangles of discarded fly line in once-quiet fishing spots, but the increased interest in the sport means there’s also increased attention on the environment and natural resource protection. I’d like to think I am part of a generation of fishers who see the catastrophic threat of climate change to the waterways of the American West, and who help bring about meaningful policy and regulation to protect those waters and their environs.

This digital short tells my personal story of fly fishing –– an activity I love as much for the ritual as for the chance to be around the most important people in my life.

Hiking in the PNW

I decided to make a video about my favorite thing to do (besides archaeology!), hiking. I think the Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful areas in the world, and a few moments up in the mountains away from the city is a great tonic for pretty much anything. I try to get out of the Seattle area as often as I can, but life can get very busy sometimes. These are all clips I have taken in the last year or so from some of my favorite hikes. Hopefully I can make some new ones soon!

Alex “Vergil Nguyen” H’s Collection of Wonders

For my Digital Storytelling project, I decided to go over the various knick knacks I acquired on a trip to Japan. Aside from a longstanding anime and video game obsession, it was also a place where I spent quality time with my father after years personal distance. I dont think we got very far, but it was significant to me, at least.

The trip all started as a plan between me and two other friends, sometime during the December of 2013, and intended as a senior trip. Unfortunately things didn’t pan out, as one friend was accepted on a full ride to Whitworth University for his skilled oboe playing, and must buy a new (and expensive) one for the school band. The other friend waited too long for his ticket and went out of his price range. My mother, as caring as she was, feared for my life in the reputably very safe Japan, so she had my father buy a ticket and accompany me there. In retrospect, the ticket probably could’ve just been handed to my friend, but there was probably something about the ticket price differences and “friend oweing debts” thing that would’ve made it an issue.

There in Japan I acquired a variety of fun knickknacks all related to my hobbies. I have many photos of artifacts and historic structures from not only Japan, but Korea and Vietnam as well. I’m not going to dig any of those photos out.

Connections Through Cooking

For the digital story telling lab/ blog post, I chose to tell about how I developed a passion for cooking. With the assignment falling around Thanksgiving break, I knew I would be in the kitchen, and with an influx of free labor (my roommate’s little brother was visiting, so I convinced him to act as cinematographer/ camera-guy), I was able to get decent B-roll. I spent a good deal of time closed up in my closet and covered in a blanket in order to cancel out street and neighbor noise on the voice-over, but all in all, I’m happy with the final product.

Why I am in this field

For my digital storytelling assignment, I chose to talk about me and my apa’urlaq (Yup’ik for grandfather).  He led an interesting and full life which had a huge impact on me and my education.  He was one of the first Alaskan Natives to graduate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  Taught himself French, German, and was fluent in several Yup’ik dialects.  Unfortunately I did not learn much about my Native roots from him and by the time I wanted to learn, it was too late.  This has really driven me to pursue learning about cultural traditions and cultural preservation.

The Mangasers Come to America

As part of the first generation born in America in my family of Philippine immigrants, I have much to be thankful for. I can’t imagine how much more different my life would be if I had grown up in Manila, where my parents came from. My mom’s side, the Villenas, are from Manila, and my dad’s side, the Mangaser side, is from a small town called Tayug in a province called Pangasinan, which is three hours outside of Manila.

Born in 1964 to my grandpa Benjamin and grandma Flora, my dad, Victor Bravo Ferdinand Mangaser (long name, I know) is the youngest kid out of ten children. My mom, Luzviminda Villena, was born a year later, and is the oldest kid out of five from my grandpa Rudy and my grandma Mila.

The Mangasers lived in Pangasinan for a while before moving to P. Halili Street in Manila, coincidentally the same street as my mom’s family. I thought it was significant to mention the street where they came from, because they both still have family that live on the same street, in the same homes. My parents tell me that my mom didn’t like my dad at first, because my dad was apparently in a band so they played music all the time, and my mom didn’t like that. Same as usual, my dad also always teased her.

When they got married, one of my (many) uncles on the Mangaser side, Uncle Ben, had moved to New Jersey and petitioned all of the Mangasers to come to the United States in the 1980s. At around the same time, my dad had joined the United States Navy and my mom was in the process of gaining citizenship, which took around 10 years and two rejections, despite having a U.S. military spouse. I can’t imagine why it took so long, to be honest.

Eventually, I came to be in October of 1998, when my dad was stationed in California. From there, we made our way up to a small town north of Seattle called Lake Stevens. In 2004, my grandma Mila was able to come to the United States and gained citizenship three years later. You’d think that the rest of the Villena family came along too. Though my grandma petitioned the remaining Villenas living in Manila (long ago, I might add), their applications haven’t been accepted (yet?).

I am proud of where I come from as a Filipino-American. Granted, I’m definitely more Americanized as I can’t speak Tagalog or Ilocano (my dad’s native dialect), and growing up I used to be embarrassed to show common Filipino signs of respect, like adding po to the end of every sentence, or performing mano to elders. And growing up in America with parents who grew up in Asia, was (and still can be) difficult. Nonetheless, my family coming to America for a better life for their kids, my sister and I, has always meant a lot to me. It meant a lot of hard work, learning, and adjusting to a new way of life, something I couldn’t imagine doing in my late 20s.