Become a Fly Pinay Mentor!

The days are counting down till our Fly Pinays Pre-Session on Saturday, March 2nd at San Jose State University, where we’ll welcome our newest group of mentors and mentees for our 3rd Annual Fly Pinays Program.

Till then, we’re still pushing hard to reach YOU, you possible Fly Pinay mentor!

If you’re interested in becoming a Fly Pinays mentor, you will be joining a group of ~200 Pinay women and girls from across the Northern California region.

The time commitment is to attend two (hella fun) community events next month with your mentee, and from that point, establish your own meetup schedule that suits both your calendars.

To join as a mentor, there are three quick steps:

  • Check your calendar! Are you available on Saturday, 3/2 (10am-2pm) and Saturday, 3/23 (9am-4pm) to attend the two Fly Pinays events in the South Bay Area with your mentee?
  • Do you have at least four to five years of professional experience?
  • Have you registered yet? Register at link here 3rd Annual Fly Pinays. (Takes about 10-15 minutes.)

3rd Annual Fly Pinays Program:

Pre-Session for Mentors & Mentees
Saturday, March 2nd
San Jose State University
At the Pre-Session, you’ll meet your mentee, as well as other mentors and mentees involved in the program. From ice breaker activities to small sessions on how to build with your mentee, the Pre-Session will hype up the Leadership Summit and provide a space for our women and girls to bond.

3rd Annual Leadership Summit
Saturday, March 23rd
Mission College
The Leadership Summit is exclusively produced for our mentors and mentees. The day features leading Pinays from the arts, community, and industry on themes of sisterhood, mentorship, and Pinay experiences. You’ll engage in workshops, interactive sessions, and group activities with your mentee and other participants throughout the day.



AAP Expanding to East Bay

Those very familiar with our organization know that our bread and butter, our founding program, the initiative that gave us life in early 2016, was our Filipino Studies/Civic Engagement Course called the Awareness in Action Program (AAP).

An eight-week, free and community-based course, AAP is interdisciplinary and ties lessons on Filipino language, cultural history, psychology, and community action through a Filipino Communities Project and various etho-exposure tours.  Since 2016, we’ve ran AAP out of AARS-HR 360 on the Eastside of San Jose. #ShoutOutAARSFamily

Our AAP has continues to grow, attracting not just high school aged youth, college students, and young adults, but families from across the South Bay region.

It wasn’t until earlier this year that we noticed an upward trend. 

Our summer 2018 AAP received 6 sign ups from distance learners:  one from Ohio, one from Pennsylvania, and three from the East Bay.  Not to mention, our 16 in-person participants.

Bootstrapping all the way, we offered live streaming, hosted weekly Google Hangouts, and shared our learning materials virtually with our distance learners.

With half of our AAP organizing team hailing from the East Bay, coupled with the increasing interest in our program, we made the decision to expand our summer AAP to the East Bay!

Through the gracious support and sponsorship of Filipino Advocates for Justice, we will excitedly begin running our program in Union City this summer 2019.

The East Bay expansion will be led by: Celeste Francisco, Michelle Nelmida, and Jeren Penalosa.  Our San Jose team will be led by:  Tyrell Malonzo, James Binauhan, and Karen Manalac.

Meet the 2019 Fly Pinays Team!

Our Annual Fly Pinays program is a p-r-o-d-u-c-t-i-o-n that begins nearly eight months in advance, and entirely the end-result of volunteer leadership, capacity, and vision.  Primarily run and owned by college students and young adults from the South Bay Area, the work of Fly Pinays simply wouldn’t exist without the bold vision of our volunteer organizers. Bound by a commitment to bringing something special and distinct to our community and locked in shared conviction in its purpose: elevating and putting our community on. 


Marissa Martinez
Program Director
Alma Mater: Santa Clara University

About me:  Marissa is creative writer and advocate for youth and the arts, was born and raised in East San Jose. She writes plays and poetry inspired by her life as well as the lives of her close friends, family, and community.

Fave Filipino Dish?  Tocilog!

Fave Movie?  Moana

Why I’m involved with Fly Pinays.  I want to help create a space for fellow Filipinas to connect and thrive. Plus, I feel so empowered being surrounded by driven, successful Pinays!

Mentee Co-Director
Alma Mater: San Jose State University

About me: I’m from LA but love living in the Bay! I have my BA in Psychology from SJSU and hope to be going to grad school soon (-:

Fave Filipino Dish? My mom’s Sinigang na Hipon

Fave Movie? A Cinderella Story

Why I’m involved with Fly Pinays. I’m involved with Fly Pinays because I want to help young Pinays not feel restricted when it comes to choosing their career path. I want to help provide resources they didn’t realize they had.

Mentee Co-Director
Current: San Jose State University


About me:  I am a fourth year at San Jose state university majoring in public health and double minoring in Asian American Studies and Psychology. I love reading and have been reading a lot of Pilipino/Pilipino American books or books by Pin@y authors or books with historical context/social justice. One of my goals this year is to learn Tagalog and I’ve been watching a lot of Filipino shows/movies to help aid my quest in learning.

Fave Filipino Dish?  I love Diniguan. I know people are turned off by it being pork blood but I love the taste!

Fave Movie?  The Hate U Give. A super powerful movie/book that showcases a lot of experiences I may never face because of the color of my skin.

Why I’m involved with Fly Pinays.  I love that Pinay students like myself can connect with Pinays already in their own work profession. As a first generation college student, I found it hard trying to understand preparation for interviews or even opportunities in my career path. I love that Fly Pinays can bring so many womxn together in one day to lift each other up and feel empowered.


Social Media & Publicity Director
Alma Mater: UC Davis
About me:   I’m the Social Media/Publicity Director for this year’s Fly Pinays Leadership Summit! With my background in Design and Digital Media from UC Davis and as founder of the Brown Papaya magazine, I hope to bring a fresh exciting look and feel to this year’s 3rd Fly Pinays!
Fave Filipino Dish?  Tosilog.
Fave Movie?
Why I’m involved with Fly Pinays.  I was a mentee at the first ever Fly Pinays and felt this overwhelming sense of empowerment being among older Pinay womxn in their professional fields. As the oldest sister, I never had an Ate figure, so it was incredibly refreshing to have that space freshly out of college. I volunteered the year after, and continue to help out now with social media/publicity!


Fundraising & Mentor Director
Current: University of Southern California
About me: 
I’m a music-collecting, black t-shirt sporting, politics-following, sleepy iPhone-aficionado, with a love for travel, fervent conversation, and a great cup of cafecito.

Fave Filipino Dish? Pssh, bistek…one day later.

Fave Movie?  Coco!  Cried the second it started.
Why I’m involved in Fly Pinays. To contribute and give to a cause much larger, deeper, and broader than myself.  We saw and felt the need in our community and brought Fly Pinays to the South Bay; the program grows because it’s supported by shared belief in its importance — the importance of building sisterhood and forging connections that’ll transform and leave us better than we were.

Volunteer Director
Alma Mater: San Jose State University
About me:  My name is Katrina Figueroa! I recently graduated from SJSU with a political science major & human rights minor.  In my free time I’m either at the gym, playing video games, training my puppy, or at the movies.

Fave Filipino Dish?  I love everything my mom cooks so it’s hard to pick one.

Fave Movie?  I go to the movies almost every weekend so it’s hard to pick just one favorite. But I’m obsessed with the marvel franchise & Legally Blonde, haha.

Why I’m involved in Fly Pinays.  I love that it gives a space for women to network and attend workshops to develop their professional career. It also gives them an opportunity to learn more about their Filipina identity. I attended last year and I found is very empowering so I’m excited to be a part of the team that will put it all together.

Assistant Program Director
Current: San Jose State University
About me:  I’m currently a third-year college student at San Jose State University, majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in Sociology. Aside from being on the planning committee for Fly Pinays, I’m also an organizer for LEAD Filipino and active in my Filipino-American organization on campus. My hobbies include bullet journaling, exercising, and singing in the shower.
Fave Filipino Dish? Ginataang Hipon with Kalabasa and Sitaw.
Fave Movie?  A Walk to Remember

Why I’m involved in Fly Pinays.  I love how the summit ties in culture and sisterhood. Growing up, I never had a safe community of women to share experiences with, so planning an event that’s centered on Pinay experiences is really fulfilling.

Workshop Director
Current: San Jose State University
About me: 
I am a graduating senior majoring in Social Work at San Jose State University and an intern for Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence. In my spare time, I like to sleep, watch shows, (attempt to) play ukulele, and work out.
Fave Filipino Dish? Sinigang
Fave Movie?  Whiplash
Why I’m involved in Fly Pinays.  To support and uplift my community! We Pinays deserve to find mentorship and feel empowered.

Current: De Anza College
About me:  I was born in Cebu, Philippines. Currently a full-time student at De Anza College  pursuing a degree in psychology and also captain of Women’s Basketball team.
Fave Filipino Dish?  Tocilog
Fave Movie?  Lilo & Stitch
Why I’m involved in Fly Pinays.  My involvement in Fly Pinays as an intern is an opportunity in itself to connect with other strong filipina women and to follow the steps of my Nanay! Being part of this experience I hope to grow as a community leader and to develop my capacity to be able to become a mentor in the future!

Row of 106.1 KMEL to be at 3rd Annual Fly Pinays!


Announcement:  We’re so excited to share that Row of 106.1 KMEL will be joining our list of guest speakers at our 3rd Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit!  Row will address our crowd of ~150 women and girls on Saturday, March 23rd at Mission College.

About: Row is a Radio Personality on 106.1 KMEL. She currently has a podcast called “100 Proof Radio” with co-host G-Biz of the Sana G Morning Show – available at, iTunes, iHeartRadio app, and Spreaker. She will also be launching a new podcast “Row After Dark” this Spring 2019, which will be available across the same platforms. Her passion for music, Hip-Hop culture, and radio has helped her make a name for herself within the industry – and she’s just getting started. Catch this Fly Pinay at our 3rd Annual!

Be sure to keep checking back for updates on our guest speakers and featured workshops!

Recap: Fly Pinays Retreat (1.13.19)

When we retell the story and the journey of each year’s Fly Pinays, we stretch our memories of the laughter, bonds, and last-minute-panic-scramble-runs-to-the-store-to-grab-a-forgotten-item back several months.

The community planning, that’s characterized best by student and young adult leadership, starts the fall of the preceding year.  It truly takes special people to commit of themselves in their talent, treasure, and time, to produce a two-series Fly Pinays program each spring for our region.

While our first meeting was last November, we had our visioning and strategy retreat this past Sunday at Google. Shout outs to Advisor Bautista for hosting us at her home base.

Joined by pizza, salad, home-made pancit, and great company, our team spent an afternoon sharing their goals for their respective Director positions, receiving a training on fundraising, and learning the ropes of their roles from their predecessors.

Needless to say, after our calendaring session of must-dos and release dates, our 3rd Annual Fly Pinays team is off to the races!

Stay tuned, and follow our journey on IG: LEAD_Filipino

Recap: Advocacy Day Training (1.11.19)

Last Friday, Jan. 11th, several members of our Education and Civic Engagement teams spent the day at UC Davis, with our partners at the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies, in a deep discussion and training for our first [Filipino/a Legislative Advocacy Day] in Sacramento, planned for later this spring.

This Advocacy Day has been a long-time coming, and one that is being planned with consideration, thought, analysis, and most importantly — our community’s voices.

If you all remember, our organization co-spearheaded execution of last Fall’s Filipino Policy Symposium at UC Davis, where we featured speakers such as Genevieve Jopanda (with now, Treasurer Ma’s office), Appointments Secretary Mona Pasquil, Commissioners Austin and Villavicencio, nonprofit leaders Terry Valen and Angelica Cabande, and many more educators and activists.  Most especially, this Symposium engaged its participants — over 20 Filipino grassroots and nonprofit organizations and 80 community members — in “policy advocacy talks” on interests of public issues: Immigration, Workers and Women’s Rights, Housing, Education, Justice/Prison Reform, and Small Business Ownership. The list was endless…and we loved it.

The outcome of the Symposium was clear. 

We, and the Bulosan Center, would take our community’s feedback, experiences, and concerns, to the drawing board and sketch out our Advocacy Day in Sacramento, to show that the largest API community in California, is here to stay and most saliently, listening and observing.

During our training, we covered the basics on everyone’s mind:

  • We answered why we’re hosting an Advocacy Day.
  • We re-shared the goals of the Advocacy Day.
  • We provided the who within the Advocacy Day.
  • After the basics, we dove into providing a deeper view into Sacramento: our new Governor, bills that we will advocate on related to Ethnic Studies and Human Issues, and newly elected leaders that we could ask to support these efforts.

We look forward to continuing this work with — and for — the community.

The next training is scheduled for March.  We hope you’ll join us!

LEAD Filipino

Eskrima Workshop at Santa Clara U.

January 8, 2019

We had the privilege of presenting a tactical and interactive workshop on Filipino Martial Arts: Eskrima to the students and members of Barkada at Santa Clara University!

Led and developed by one of our organizers, Kevin Suarez, we were joined by Guru Lester Fontecha with Inayan Martial Arts in San Jose, in a workshop that provided a historical context on Filipino Martial Arts – Eskrima, Arnis, Kali – in light of Spain’s 300-year occupation in the Philippines. 49270406_1214664858672280_8334955208408825856_nDid you know that Eskrima emerged as practice of self-defense during just the 1980s in the United States? Its resurgence across American martial arts/defense classes was attributed to the Delano Manongs that maintained the Filipino martial art form from the Philippines.49251305_1214664832005616_4067241962393042944_nSpecializing in open-hand movements, tactical positions, and weaponed stances, Eskrima continues to gain popularity across martial arts communities. Through the provision of our free workshops, and Kevin’s leadership, we hope to continue preserving the spirit and education of Eskrima for our community.

Announcing Our: 2019 Fly Pinays Directors!

We’re proud to announce the leaders of our upcoming 3rd Annual Fly Pinays Leadership Summit – be on the lookout for this year’s directors because we’ll be cooking up big things the next several months!

2019 Fly Pinays Directors

Marissa Martinez (SCU ’16) – Program Director

Eleaine Reyes (SJSU) – Assistant Program Director

Jenna Edra (SJSU ’19) – Workshop Director

Jenn Cayanan (SJSU) & Katie Mendoza (SJSU ’18)– Co-Mentee Directors

Isabel Bagsik (UC Davis ’17) – Social Media & Publicity Director

Katrina Figueroa (SJSU ’18) – Volunteer Director

Angelica Cortez (SJSU ’10, USF ’13, and USC ’21) – Mentor & Fundraising Director

Congratulations to this year’s 2019 Directors, we look forward to the creativity, positivity, and imaginative magic you all will bring to our 3rd Annual Fly Pinays!

2018 Annual Community Report

We’re long overdue, but at last, we’re so proud to present our 2018 Annual Community Report that details our accomplishments, highlights, and major programmatic areas from the past year.

Maraming salamat (thank you so much) to everyone that journeyed with us throughout 2018 from our programs, projects, and campaigns, each one of you made the world of difference – and gave meaning – to community service.

It’s truly an honor to present our 2018 Annual Community Report (click link).

2018 Annual Community Report