49 Voices: Ronell Corral of Anchorage

This week we’re hearing from Ronell Corra, in Anchorage. Corral is a UAA student and a second generation Filipino-American.

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Ronell Corral of Anchorage (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media - Anchorage)
Ronell Corral of Anchorage (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)

CORRAL: My mom, she went to West High School her junior and senior year and she also went to Dimond. And so she kinda got a pretty good view on what the American way was versus the Filipino way. So she got a pretty good mix. My dad, on the other hand, definitely… super Filipino, like fresh off the boat. And so I think I had a healthy balance between the two. She understood both how things are here versus how things are back home. And so she really instilled that with us… that basically, you gotta be well-rounded. You can’t be stuck in one way or the other. But at the same time don’t forget where you came from.

My parents, they own their own assisted living home and they started that almost 20 years ago. And that was kinda their bread and butter. Because they had that steady flow of income, they’ve been able to branch out and have different sources of income.

The thing about my old neighborhood is that we had a very diverse neighborhood. So I’d rather be outside than being stuck at home. And so maybe that affected why I didn’t learn the language. At the time, I’d rather hang out with people my age and be a kid. You know what I mean? This melting pot kinda played a huge role. My parents speak it (Tagalog) but we just… us kids… it didn’t click with us.

A lot of Filipinos will relate to this… We’re very family-oriented. It’s not about us individually; it’s about us collectively. I’m used to dropping whatever I’m doing and helping out my parents or my grandma or my uncles or whatever. That’s just the way it is. And some people just don’t get that. They wanna be their own person.

We’re lucky up here. If Alaska can transcend to the rest of the United States, I feel like we’d be a lot better of a place.

Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org

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