Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Alberta Labillazo, June 6, 2022

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:08 - Introductions

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Okay, I'm just going to give a little introduction here.

Segment Synopsis: Alberta Labillazo introduces herself as a Filipino-American teacher at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA) in Lexington, KY. She says a lot of her family live in Kentucky, including aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings.

Keywords: SCAPA; School for the Creative and Performing Arts

Subjects: Careers; Filipino Americans; Hawaii; Kentucky; Lexington (Ky.); Teachers

GPS: School of Creative and Performing Arts
Map Coordinates: 38.0266534,-84.5279575
00:01:41 - Early Life and transition to Kentucky

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um, so kind of building upon this, tell us about your life before Kentucky?

Segment Synopsis: Labillazo talks about how she moved to Kentucky when she was just a year old, as her father's army career moved them from Georgia to Fort Knox, KY. Her mom is a teacher, and both her parents are first generation immigrants from the Phillipines. She explains how her extended family arrived in the US.

Keywords: Extended family; Immigration

Subjects: Childhood; Fort Knox (Ky.); Georgia; Kentucky; Phillipines; Teachers; United States. Army

GPS: Fort Knox, KY
Map Coordinates: 37.8897124,-86.00063
00:03:15 - Childhood at Fort Knox

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Okay so uh, tell us a little bit about your journey to Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Labillazo reflects on what it was like growing up Filipino on an army base. She describes going to elementary and high school in what she describes as a "country city." Although there wasn't much cultural or social diversity, her two closest friends were also Asian American.

Keywords: Army bases; Country cities; Cultural diversity; Social diversity

Subjects: Asian Americans; Filipino Americans; Fort Knox (Ky.); Identity; Kentucky

GPS: Radcliff, KY
Map Coordinates: 37.8116443,-86.0762204
00:06:34 - Family connections to Lexington, KY

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um so what happened after that, after you graduated from high school?

Segment Synopsis: Labillazo pursued her bachelor's degree at the University of Kentucky after high school, in part because her mother had already purchased a home and moved to Lexington. Labillazo discusses how she would later inherit this house, where she's now lived for forty years. She discusses how her experience varied from her parent's experience of young adulthood, during which her father's family were poor farmers, while her mother's family were better off and had completed plenty of education. She also touches upon how her parents ended up adopting her two older sisters.

Keywords: Immigration; Wealth disparaties

Subjects: Adoption; Lexington; Philippines; University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.0306511,-84.5061584
GPS: Fort Gordon, GA
Map Coordinates: 33.430386,-82.1279819
00:10:22 - Visits to the Phillipines

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Have you been back to uh, the Philippines at all?

Segment Synopsis: Labillazo says she goes back to the Philippines regularly to visit family and friends. She discusses ideas of home, and the economic variation between the US and the Philippines.

Keywords: Cultural Differences; Local economies

Subjects: Home; Philippines; United States

00:14:01 - Found communities in work, life, and family

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Describe, um, your community, um, broadly speaking, what does community mean to you?

Segment Synopsis: Labillazo describes how she has built community in Kentucky. She talks about her community through SCAPA, where she has taught for over thirty years. She also discusses the Filipino American communities in Lexington and Louisville, which her extended family also participate in.

Keywords: Cuisine; Cultural Events; Fil-Am; SCAPA; School for Creative and Performing Arts

Subjects: Filipino Americans; Kentucky; Lexington (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); Teachers; Teaching

GPS: Louisville, KY
Map Coordinates: 38.1884721,-85.9569606
00:17:45 - Hobbies and activities in the US and in the Philippines

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Tell us about the activities you enjoy doing in Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Labillazo says that, beyond her communities at SCAPA, in Lexington and Louisville, she maintains vibrant community through hobbies. She mentions that she particularly enjoys theatre, playing mahjong, and traveling while in the States and in the Philippines she enjoys the time with friends, family, and cuisine.

Keywords: Extended Family; Extracurriculars; Mahjong; Philippine cuisine; SCAPA; Theatre

Subjects: Filipino Americans; Lexington; Louisville; Mah jong; Philippines; Theater; United States

GPS: Philippines
Map Coordinates: 11.5562069,113.5734184
00:21:45 - Discrimination and Anti-AAPI sentiment in the US

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Did you experience any challenges, um incidents that might have happened to you um, as an Asian, um, as a Filipino, um, American?

Segment Synopsis: Labillazo reflects on an incident of anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) she experienced at the UK Med Center as an employee, which she has also explored through her theatre work.

Keywords: AAPI; Asian American and Pacific Islanders; University of Kentucky Medical Center; Verbal harassment

Subjects: Asian Americans; Discrimination; Ethnicity; Filipino Americans; Race; Theater; Vietnam War, 1961-1975

GPS: UK Healthcare
Map Coordinates: 38.0322815,-84.5419871
00:25:01 - Theatre and education background

Play segment

Partial Transcript: I did want to follow, um, go back to, um, ah, your theater background a little bit.

Segment Synopsis: Labillazo explains what was, in her words, "a long journey" to teaching theatre at SCAPA. She says she originally planned to be a teacher, but she ended up following her passion for theatre during her undergraduate studies and after graduating and teaching theatre at summer camps and other venues, she applied for the theatre consultant job at SCAPA. Labillazo mentions that she has since earned a Master's degree in education.

Keywords: Graduate Studies; SCAPA; Undergraduate Studies

Subjects: Careers; Education; Teachers; Teaching; Theater

00:29:06 - Self-Identity and Filipino American heritage

Play segment

Partial Transcript: How do you identify yourself in this community?

Segment Synopsis: Labillazo reflects on her roles as a teacher, a theatre person, and a Filipino American and how they relate to identity. She discusses her perspective on diversity in theatre and media.

Keywords: Assimilation; Immigration; Language; Racial Diversity

Subjects: Ethnicity; Filipino Americans; Teachers; Theater

00:33:41 - Motivation, race, ethnicity, and immigration

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You are incredibly active in your field, and you're just nonstop.

Segment Synopsis: Labillazo discusses how race, ethnicity, and family influence play a role in individual focus and expectations. Labillazo talks about what she would tell future generations of AAPI students and artists, urging them to "be a solution", and explains how excited she is when she sees other Filipino and Filipino-American representation, locally or nationally.

Keywords: AAPI; Asian American and Pacific Islander; Cultural Diversity; Family Expectations; Filipino Representation; First Generation; Immigration

Subjects: Asian Americans; Filipino Americans; Filipinos

00:37:42 - Reflections on racial and ethnic double standards

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Would you tell people to work harder, you know, no matter who they are, I guess?

Segment Synopsis: Labillazo wrestles with the idea of a racial and/or ethnic double standard and how BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) individuals in the US need to work harder just to reach equal footing. She recounts another episode of discrimination her uncle experienced at Wal-Mart shortly after arriving in the US.

Keywords: Anti-AAPI sentiment; BIPOC; Race and ethnicity; Racial Diversity

Subjects: Discrimination; Ethnicity; Hate crimes; Prejudice; Racism; United States

00:40:36 - COVID-19 impacts

Play segment

Partial Transcript: During this COVID-19 pandemic, how has that affected your life work? Um, have you heard of any specific anti-Asian incidences happening?

Segment Synopsis: Labillazo says she has not personally noticed an uptick in anti-AAPI sentiment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but her life as a teacher was impacted. She discusses that when she needs to, she can take a stand with regard to social issues, but for the most part she devotes her energy to her work.

Keywords: Anti-AAPI sentiments

Subjects: COVID-19 (Disease); Discrimination; Filipino Americans; Hate crimes; Kentucky; Pandemics; Racism

00:44:29 - Reflections on the Philippines, Kentucky, and Filipino American pride

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Tell us what you learned about living, uh, living in Kentucky, learned about yourself living in Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Labillazo reflects on some of the cultural differences she's observed between the US and the Philippines, in particular socioeconomic status discrepancies. She notes that she is always proud when she sees positive Filipino-American representation in the media and pop culture, specifically citing Bruno Mars and Olivia Rodrigo.

Keywords: Cultural Differences; Economic Differences; Fil-Am Representation; Media representation

Subjects: Filipino Americans.; Kentucky; Mars, Bruno, 1985-; Music; Philippines; Pop culture; Rodrigo, Olivia; Social Media; Socioeconomic status