Sunday, April 10, 2011

April 2011 THE FILIPINO-AMERICAN STORY: Albert Balbutin Jr. Aka Filipeanut

Albert's Family Hometown, Bohol Philippines
You probably have noticed by now that The Filipino-American is sporting a brand new logo. 

Of course when it comes to important stuff like this, it is important that we go to a Filipino!  So when the logo was done I decided to get to know our man as our very first THE FILIPINO-AMERICAN STORY. [April 2011]

1) Where is your hometown in the Philippines?

Daly City, California. It isn't in the Philippines but in terms of distance and population it is as close as I can get =). (Well, aside from Hawaii). I was born in San Francisco.

2) Do you still speak Tagalog, how about bisaya?

I'm currently learning how to speak Bisaya and Tagalog. Pero mas fluent ko sa bisaya kay bisaya man si mama ug si papa. (But im more fluent with Bisaya since my parents were Bisaya speakers.) Gusto ako mag aaral Tagalog kasi national language ito. (I want to study Tagalog because it is the national language) lol. Eventually, I'd like to learn Ilokano.

When I started getting better at speaking Bisaya, I used it during a trip to Mindanao in 2004. I noticed a great change in my experience. I was no longer an outsider, but an insider. "Small talk" with a random person on the street revealed more to me than I could get through a 10 hour interview in english with a Filipino.
It was then that I learned that I didn't really know what "Filipino culture" was. If I learn Tagalog and Ilokano, I'll know more.

3) What do you currently do?

Freelance web designer.

4) How did you get into wed developing and designing?I was in my 2nd year of high school when I found out about the internet. I think around 1997. My friend Steve told me about Geocities, Yahoo's free website service open to the public. As well as a few lines of html code. My cousin Paul introduced me to Photoshop. Together with my desire for attention and childhood love of drawing I learned how to code and design.

5) What is your favorite Filipino dish?

I have more than one, but i'll rank them!  
1) Lechon manok
2) Tosilog/longsilog
3) Crispy kang-kong
Lechon Manok
4) Anything with bagoong (kare-kare, pinakbet, mangoes)
5) Pinoy fish escabeche (sweet and sour fish) 

  6) What are you most proud about being Filipino?
The country's insular makeup and marine life. And everything that comes with that. Our love for new and novel things. As a foreign-born english-speaking Filipino, the fragmented geography plus the different colonial and cultural influences make up for a never-ending ride of discovery.

7) Do you know how to cook a Filipino dish?

Adobo. And I lost my mom's Binangkal recipe! But when I have free access to a kitchen, my "pinoy cuisine repertoire" will expand dramatically :).

Fish Escabeche
What are you passionate about?

My mom and Filipino culture.

If you have to have 3 things in a bucket list (things to do before you die) what would it look like?

1. Backpack the Philippines with a video camera.
2. Take my mom to Rome and/or Jerusalem.
3. Own a chicken isaw catering service.
10) What is your ultimate dream in life?
To get paid to travel the Philippines. I call it my "Filipino-American Dream" lol.

How do you get by between the visits to Philippines and living here in America?

I shop at Goodwill once every 6 months for clothes that cost $4 each. I live with my aunt which comes with a roof over my head and free food. I spend most of my money on learning more about Filipino culture while I work in the US, and gifts for my mom and her family. Because of the real estate bust a few years ago, the rest of the money goes to debts I pay. The money I have left over is enough for one Philippine trip per year.
Once I have my debts paid in a few years, depending on my life situation then, I plan to stay in the Philippines for 6 months. If I survive culture shock, I hope to stay longer.

Boracay, Philippines

What are you most proud about being Filipino?

The country's insular make-up and marine life. And everything that comes with that. Our love for new and novel things. As a foreign-born english-speaking Filipino, the fragmented geography plus the different colonial and cultural influences make up for a never-ending ride of discovery.

If there is any wisdom you want to share for our kapatids (brothers and sisters) FilAm what would it be?

That's a tough one. Since im living a rather frugal life at the moment, I guess I'd tell them "bisag gamay, basta kanunay!" =) (Bisaya for "regardless of how small, do so always.").

Below is something that I plucked from Alberto's Blog Page, and it just tells you that this one, though born in Daly City is definitely a Filipino at heart.

Albert on right with his Mom a month after the stroke
 On August 10, 2005 my mom had a stroke. To say it changed our lives is an understatement.

For me, blogging seemed to be the best way to cope, giving me a convenient distraction from the day-to-day job of caring for my mom. On October of that same year this blog was born. I wish I could have blogged more about the caregiving, but I took the selfish route and blogged more about the 2nd thing I loved in my life next to my mom... the Philippines.

Alberto and his Mom in the Philippines
In 2007 my mom's family in the Philippines and I decided it was best for her to stay with them so she could be around more people who could care for her, eat better food, and spend less money on health care. For me, it provided me the opportunity to take another shot and building on my own life and career where I grew up, in the Bay Area of California.

Being an only son to a single mother makes that difficult, so I promised her that i'd visit her every year to make the distance just a bit easier to cope with. I was doing this for myself just as much as I was doing it for her. It was "two birds with one stone," I got to visit my favorite person in the world, at my favorite place in the world.

I guess im just a nut for the Philippines. But I have my mom to thank for that.

Albert Balbutin is currently living in San Francisco.  You may visit his website for web design and development projects at

All Photos Courtesy of Filipeanut.Com


  1. Albs, you know how much we love you, brother. Congrats on this feature and for being such a great inspiration to the Fil-Am community.

  2. The Fil-Am! You gotta do a story on Jo, she actually DOES things lol. She pushes Filipino cuisine to the forefront in the Bay Area every way she can!!!! I just attend her events and eat the food lol.

  3. It would be my honor! I will contact her in the next few days. Mabuhay!

  4. Great story on a great guy! This is probably one of the hardest working dudes I know. Inspiring story of love for his mother, the Philippines, food and friendship. Glad we met bro.

  5. Albert, so awesome! And anytime you need Tagalog translation, let me know. I am fluent in Tagalog and I know a little Kapampangan, too.

  6. I met Albert once during their BAY2LA trip at Friache in LA and immediately I felt my connection with him (and the whole group of course). You know he has a kind heart and is truly Pinoy. This post validated that impression I got from him on that first meeting.
    Great blog... and more power!