By Jason Cruz
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
While working on a documentary following the Filipino Food scene in Seattle, Terrence Jeffrey Santos had an idea—create a publication celebrating the many Filipinos in the different industries.
Santos, a regional Emmy award winning filmmaker, had a well-followed social media account focusing on the local food scene. But, during the pandemic, his focus shifted and so did his social media account.
“That quickly pivoted to an advocacy site as people following the account were excited about new Filipino businesses coming up.”
In 2020, when he and his wife were visiting family in Palm Springs, he came across Palm Springs Magazine, which had compelling images and told a strong story. The idea popped into his head that he should start documenting stories from the general community.
“In any and every industry, you can pretty much find a Filipino,” explained Santos.
In late 2020, Santos set the plan in motion for the magazine. He conducted interviews but took a pause while he was working on his food documentary. In mid-2022, he had grappled with whether to go forward with the magazine.
“I owe it to them to do the stories with me.”
In November 2022, he engaged another photographer and designer to start production to complete the rest of the magazine. The hope is to include as many community members as possible.
In mid-October, FilipinoTown launched its digital release and the subscribers will later on receive the physical release. The launch party included a celebration at the Filipino Community Center.
“Entertainment and food are easy to spotlight,” said Santos. “We have a ton more accomplished community members outside food and entertainment.” He started to interview people within his circle of friends and network of contacts. Santos believed that there was not a magazine that dedicated to this to have the communities “tell their story.”
The magazine will be 200 pages, as well as be available online. Santos intends to release a new issue annually in October to coincide with Filipino American History Month. Each issue intends to focus on Filipinos that are making their mark in different cities across the United States.
“It’s really just a celebration of our community’s beauty, strength, and brilliance,” said Santos, as he discussed how he hopes the magazine influences a new generation to discover different roads in diverse occupations and industries.
“There are Filipino Americans that are already going down these paths, kicking down those doors and opening up those gates.”
Santos said he did research to see if people would be interested in this magazine on his social media account. His followers enjoyed the influx of more general subjects than just food posts. “It started getting my mind to grind to think that more people wanted to know more about our community,” he added. “It was not necessarily purposeful market research but you can see that our community wanted more information about one another.”
While Santos’ goal is altruistic, the business of producing a magazine is daunting.
“Print is dying,” admits Santos, but he noted that magazines were holding steady. Females in the 18-35 range are still steady magazine subscribers.
“In order to fit as many community members for the pages, we leaned more on photography than articles.”
The setup of the magazine will have community profiles, biographies, and have QR codes that will kick you to individual profiles which will include filmed interviews. The interviews are general questions about their life and career.
The hope is to take the video interviews and build it out to include more information, informed Santos.
Santos says that reaching out to people for the magazine has been enthusiastic in the project and are willing to be interviewed.
“There are a good handful of community members featured that I just met with a cold DM (direct message),” he added, “I’m very thankful and great to see them make the time.”
In this debut issue of FilipinoTown, many people within Seattle are featured, including director/choreographer/dancer Bennyroyce Royon, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club executive (and former Seattle Seahawks staffer) Ryan Madayag, cancer survivor Maceo Garcia, and Chef Melissa Miranda.
He also interviews the Gurat Family, which includes a side of the family that are nurses, a side that work in the post office, and the younger generation that have broken away to become small business owners.
Although no plans have been solidified for next year’s issue, Santos is thinking of the possibility of double issues to cover cities such as Los Angeles and New York, Las Vegas and its relationship to the Hawaiian Islands as well as the DMV area, which includes the areas of Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
“I hope that it will continue the growth of pride in our community.”
For more information, visit filipinotownmagazine.com.
Jason can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.