This duoethnography (a dialogic approach to studying the meanings given to a similarly experienced phenomenon among two or more individuals; Norris, 2008) engages dilemmas of identity and authenticity for two mixed heritage Filipina/o Americans on various points in their ongoing journeys toward decolonization. We center our analysis around recent travels to the “motherland” of the Philippines, engaging two guiding questions: (a) What does it mean for us to claim Filipino-ness within the context of the Philippines when we are solely visiting? And (b) How is the dissonance of being in a different national context helpful for better understanding our relationships to our Filipina mothers? Despite educational and cultural experiences that have promoted a sense of belonging and confidence in identifying with Filipinx communities, we share the realization that there is no escaping our proximity to whiteness despite connections to Filipinx family members. We also highlight how our narratives help us make meaning of memories, yet ultimately conclude that we can and should not claim something we are not. This conclusion leads us to critique the rigidity of the systems that cause us to question our identity.


duoethnography, Filipinx, multiracial, culture, decolonization, travel

Author Bio(s)

Lisa Delacruz Combs (she/her/siya) is currently a doctoral candidate at The Ohio State University in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program. Her research interests include identity interconnections, multiraciality in higher education, Filipinx identity development, and deconstructing social constructs around race. Please direct correspondence to combs.235@osu.edu.

Marc P. Johnston Guerrero, PhD, is associate chair of the Department of Educational Studies, an associate professor in the higher education and student affairs (HESA) program, and affiliate faculty in Asian American studies at The Ohio State University. His research focuses on race and multiraciality across changing contexts.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.







To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.