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HomeMortgageCelebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Could is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a time for recognizing their important contributions to the historical past, tradition, and achievements in america. (Go right here to be taught extra.)

At APM, we needed to take this chance to be taught extra about our APM Household and what their historical past, tradition, and heritage means to them.

asian american and pacific islander heritage month

Kailani Jones, Advertising and marketing Administrator at American Pacific Mortgage

Kailani Jones had an extended historical past of occasion expertise earlier than she began with APM as our advertising administrator. Kailani—whose identify means “sea and heaven”—has ties to Hawaii rooted in her father’s facet of the household, all of whom have been born and raised there.


Kailani embraces her Hawaiian tradition by means of hula, a observe that was stripped from Hawaiians by means of colonization, was introduced again by King David Kalākaua as tribute, and is now how they impart their historical past.

Kailani likes to have fun the Merrie Monarch competition in April, which incorporates a worldwide broadcasted competitors with hālaus—hula colleges—from all around the island and mainland. Throughout this 12 months’s competition, Kailani’s cousins took half within the Ho’ike evening, a night of hula dancing and different inventive performances.

Hawaiian gatherings function all various kinds of ono (scrumptious) meals, together with poi, laulau, lomi salmon, mac salad, kalua pork, and Spam musubi, an area favourite that her youngsters love. As soon as the feast is prepared, everybody gathers palms to say a blessing.

Kailani believes a means we are able to be taught from her tradition is thru the aloha spirit. This consists of treating each other with love, respect, and compassion. She additionally feels strongly about treating the ‘āina (land), together with its Native individuals, with respect. Hawaiians imagine that what you give can also be what you obtain.

Kailani and her household greet each other by means of a honi, a kiss on the cheek. They like to hike, dive, surf, get pleasure from seashore days with the household, and most of all simply spend high quality time with each other.

Kailani now lives on the mainland in California and tries to convey a little bit of residence together with her by nonetheless talking pidgin, a mix of languages that was created through the plantation period as a means for all ethnicities to speak with each other by means of a single language. Pidgin remains to be used right now in Hawaii.

Her household additionally takes their footwear off on the door, an indication of respect to the home-owner by holding the house clear of outdoor germs and grime. Kailani’s household gatherings often embody Hawaiian music and infrequently a ukulele, which usually results in dancing and much more enjoyable.

Kailani has additionally saved in contact together with her Hawaiian roots by means of “Mama,” her auntie, who was the closest individual she needed to a grandmother after hers handed early on. Mama taught Kailani classes from an early age that she wouldn’t have discovered being raised on the mainland. Crucial of these classes have been realizing her roots and that household, loyalty, respect and compassion have been every little thing she wanted in life.

Mama was the glue to Kailani’s household. The traditions she taught her dwell inside herself and her youngsters right now.

General, Kailani believes that ohana (household) is an important factor concerning the Hawaiian tradition. That’s the explanation Hawaii is Hawaii.

Meena Na, Department Supervisor at Factor Mortgage

Born in Seattle, WA, Meena credit her mom, who immigrated to america with Meena’s older sister (one month outdated on the time), for a lot of her understanding and appreciation of the Korean tradition. “My mother thought it was essential to take care of the heritage, the tradition, and the language, so she spent many, many hours combating with me to ensure I discovered easy methods to communicate, learn, and write Korean.”


And whereas it takes numerous effort, Meena is grateful for the chance to have fun each cultures in her residence. “For any individual who’s born and raised within the U.S., I believe we do spend an distinctive period of time, effort, vitality, and emphasis on making an attempt to maintain the traditions alive—and I’m making an attempt to do the identical for my ladies as effectively.”

With the assistance of her mom, Meena’s household celebrates each the American and Korean holidays, together with each American and Korean variations of Thanksgiving (Chuseok in Korea) and the New 12 months. She notes one main similarity in celebrating holidays throughout each cultures: “You collect with your loved ones and spend the complete day making ready extra meals than any regular individual might eat after which sit down collectively to share what was made. Chuseok means ‘Autumn Eve’ and is an enormous harvesting season in Korea as effectively.”

She additionally actually enjoys the Korean traditions that pertain to her younger youngsters, together with celebrating 100 days after beginning, in addition to an enormous first birthday celebration (Doljanchi). “I recognize it rather more now, as a mom, than I did as a baby and discover myself extra enthusiastic about celebrating and passing on our traditions.”

As a Korean American, Meena appears at her twin cultural upbringing as a luxurious. “I get to see the professionals and cons of each cultures and it helps me make total higher life choices for myself and my household.” In her skilled life, Meena attracts from the Korean tradition of servitude and exhausting work, which she implements day by day when delivering glorious customer support and getting all of her purchasers to a clean closing.

Ian and Kimberly Cumugan, Off-Shore Staff Administrator and Off-Shore Assistant Staff Administrator

Born within the Philippines, married couple Ian and Kimberly Cumugun immigrated to the U.S. in 2010—the final of their household to make the transfer. Just lately, they discovered themselves again within the Philippines understanding of APM’s Manila workplace. With Kim as his second hand, Ian heads up the offshore groups in Manila, Philippines, and Sutherland, India, who associate with APM’s underwriting and post-close groups to overview paperwork for underwriting, conduct post-close audits, and extra.


Previous to taking the positions in Manila, Ian and Kimberly lived in Mountain View, CA, and labored on the APM capital markets workforce. When the chance got here up, they discovered it was a terrific match culturally and professionally, in order that they took a leap of religion and made the transfer. We talked with them about their Filipino tradition and the way it performs such an necessary function of their lives right now.

Ian and Kim describe the Filipino tradition as festive, fun-loving, and hospitable. Massive gatherings with household and pals are widespread and revolve round meals. In line with Ian, “In case you are invited to a Filipino residence, then prepare for a feast and prepare along with your favourite tune since you’re going to must sing karaoke and there shall be numerous dancing.”

Deep-rooted customs like “Pakikisama” (the concept concord and unity is valued above all else) and “Bayanihan” (a customized that refers to working collectively as a neighborhood to realize a typical objective) imply that household, neighborhood, and social accountability are on the forefront of Filipino tradition. It’s widespread for neighbors and pals to be known as “uncles” and “aunties” due to the close-knit neighborhood.

Work ethic and schooling are additionally extremely valued within the Filipino tradition. Kim and Ian describe how highschool and faculty grad charges are excessive, even in slum areas, as a result of schooling is prioritized. It’s one thing they proceed to make use of of their day-to-day lives and attempt to go alongside to their groups. “We all the time say, attempt to grow to be a sponge on a regular basis. Life is a steady means of studying, so maintain an open thoughts, be humble, and continue to learn. These are the issues that have been culturally embedded since we have been younger.”

Earlier than making the transfer, Ian and Kim made some extent to go to the Philippines yearly with their household to stay linked with their roots. Whereas cities like Manilla are extra much like the U.S. with a really international tradition, they get pleasure from visiting their provinces the place conventional Filipino values are nonetheless on the forefront.

Malyna Phan, Department Supervisor at Huge Valley Mortgage

Malyna Phan, Department Supervisor for Huge Valley Mortgage in Elk Grove, CA, sat down to speak with us about what it means for her to be a Vietnamese American and the way she continues to have fun her tradition together with her household.


One of many largest methods she celebrates her tradition is by recognizing Tet, or Vietnamese New 12 months. It’s broadly thought of an important celebration in Vietnamese tradition and interprets to “Pageant of the First Morning of the First Day,” which takes place on the primary day of the primary month of the Vietnamese calendar (round late January or early February). It’s celebrated by cooking particular vacation meals, giving “fortunate cash” to youngsters and the aged, and household time. One among her favourite methods to really feel linked is with meals and conventional Vietnamese gown (Ao Dai) throughout celebrations.

Malyna credit her father for her servant chief perspective. He was a servant chief in Vietnam earlier than the struggle, and helped a lot of their pals, household, and neighborhood unite with their household from Vietnam by means of the sponsorship course of. “He inspired us to deal with our lecturers, keep humble, and work exhausting to make sure a brighter future.” Malyna says, “I’m proud to hold on his legacy to all the time love and honor my household and pals, and proceed his work as a servant chief.”

In her skilled life, Malyna has served on the board of the Larger Sacramento Chapter of the Asian Actual Property Affiliation (AREAA) since 2017. Malyna is the present chapter president and makes use of her platform to advertise sustainable homeownership alternatives in Asian American communities, which marries her two passions of homeownership and supporting her AAPI neighborhood superbly.

Should you’d wish to be taught extra about APM’s dedication to variety and inclusion, go right here to examine our mission and technique.



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