Origin Behind Boxes
“BalikBAHAY” means “return HOME” in the Tagalog language. The meaning emphasizes that it is essential that vulnerable members of our community stay at home during this pandemic (#stayathome). “BalikBAHAY” Box is a play off the words “Balikbayan Box”, the famous boxes that Filipino families in the U.S. bring back to their loved ones in the Philippines, as a sign of thoughtfulness, support, and love.
The Filipino American Service Group Inc. (FASGI), Dr. Antonio Moya/UCLA National Clinicians Scholarship Program, and Dr. Melanie Sabado-Liwag/CSULA created the “BalikBAHAY” Box, a care package created by the Los Angeles Filipino American (FilAm) community containing essential items that can be most helpful to our vulnerable and valuable community members such as our elderly and unsung frontline and essential workers. The box is a heartfelt “thank you” to our community members who play an essential role in hospitality, food service, caregiving, etc. We hope our boxes and resource guides build stronger connections within our FilAm community.
We hope to distribute these BalikBAHAY Boxes to FilAms in 5 target areas of LA: Historic Filipinotown near downtown LA, South Bay areas including Carson and nearby Cerritos, West LA, San Fernando Valley, and also San Gabriel Valley area near West Covina. We have partnered with Filipino groceries and restaurants in Historic Filipinotown to obtain food, partnered with a local Filipino textile maker for the masks, and created the pamphlet with the help of our medical experts to be disseminated in the boxes. FASGI would work to bring all these FilAm organizations together, namely the Filipino restaurants, groceries, design and fabric industries, medical and public health personnel, as well as our vulnerable and frontline community members to both serve and uplift morale in our community during this time.
Inside the Boxes
The contents of this care package are simple: Filipino food staples including rice and other healthy Filipino ingredients, a cloth mask made by local L.A. based Filipino textile workers, hand sanitizer and soap for safe hand washing, and a paper pamphlet with key information about preventing the spread of COVID-19, dispelling coronavirus myths that permeate our community.