Since I was a little girl, I’ve been intrigued with my ethnicity. I’m Filipina but have been told by family members that I have Chinese and Spanish ancestry. Still, I didn't believe it. Essentially, most Filipinos will tell you they have Chinese and Spanish descent, which, led me to believe that being Filipino meant not being a pure blood.
I remember working on a family tree at school and I could only go as far back as my Great Grandparents. My dad told me they didn't have records like that in the Philippines as it wasn't really an important thing to most. Needless to say I was disappointed.
I used to look at old photos of my family. My dad as a teenager, especially, looked part African. He had really curly, hair and has a caramel-colored skintone. He looked like this little black boy I once went to school with. My maternal grandma had long hair but extra course and curly and very light-skinned. She didn't look very "filipina" to me.
Filipinos have these distinct features that I didn't necessarily have. I had course and very curly hair, my body type was a bit on the muscular side, and I have these big, cherry tomato eyes while the other girls had thick, straight hair with a thin build, and almond-shaped eyes. I never quite fit in with the other filipina girls when I was younger and was once told by another "you're not a true filipino - you're fake." This hurt me in ways you may not imagine and I was socially awkward around the others.
I actually bought my kit back in mid 2017 but just NOW decided to go for it. A former co-worker told me that she had hers done and was really surprised at her results. I thought, "HOW COOL?! I've always wanted to know." One of my oldest friends decided to do it as well and found things about her DNA that she never would have suspected. A designer I worked with told me her boyfriend's results and then I thought...hmmm this seems like a sign since everyone seems to be doing it and I got to thinking...what the hey. LET'S DO THIS.
My husband was annoyed that I wanted to know so bad - he'd always say "Why don't you just accept you're Filipino?” I think I really just wanted an answer for myself...where I came from. You'd never know but I struggled with checking the box "Asian," "Pacific Islander," "Hispanic," or "Other." HAHA
The kit is pretty simple - it comes with a sample tube (to collect your saliva/DNA), a pouch to place your sample, and a box with the address to the lab.
My brothers were anticipating the day I'd turn in my DNA sample because, whatever I'd get, they'd be the same. However, I've read that one sibling may get more of one ethnicity than the other. If you saw my brothers and I - we look totally different from one another. The only thing you can probably tell that are similar between us is the shape of our legs. Weird, I know.
One brother looks islander, one looks the most Filipino out of the three of us, while I thought I looked mixed with some African or maybe Hispanic.
To activate your kit, take note of your activation code (found on the tube) and register online. This is where you will be able to read up on your DNA results and find a little more on your background.
Taking the DNA Sample
Providing the sample was a bit off-putting to me. I absolutely get turned off when I see or hear people "hawk a loogie." The fact that I had to provide a significant amount of saliva kind of put me a little on edge. There’s a little funnel to attach to the tube to catch your saliva so I tried to be extra careful so as not to make a mess. You spit up to the indicator line on the tube.
Once you provide the sample, you place the cap back onto the tube and there's a liquid to (I think) preserve the saliva. Once the cap is tightened, the liquid will be released into the tube and mix with the sample. You then place the tube into the pouch, then secure it inside the box and send it off.
Next is when the waiting process begins (about 6-8 weeks or more depending on the lab submittals).
I received an email notification of my results and was not expecting the news (see my results in the photo below)...
I should have known! I looked into my Polynesian heritage, which is primarily Samoan and Tongan. Not only was that a surprise but the fact that there is a significant amount of it in my DNA. In high school, many of my Polynesian classmates asked if I was Samoan and when I'd tell them I was Filipina, they weren't buying it. LOL. The Guamanian side of me was also a pleasant surprise so I’m looking forward to learning about that as well!
When I read more online, I saw that Ancestry matches you up with possible family members - those that range from fair to very high possibilities. I have yet to contact some of these people. In the meantime, I am going to soak in what I can learn. I'm debating trying other DNA kits to see if they're similar but I'll set that aside for some other time.
My son, Ashton, is now intrigued to find out more about his mix. He says his dad doesn't really look Vietnamese so he wants to find out soon. :-)
If you're interested in getting a kit, these run $99 online. If there's a special discount running, then even better!
~ XOXO, Mari