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Celebrating #AANHPI Heritage this May

We asked some members of the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. military how they celebrate their heritage for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 


Kanishka Gangopadhyay
U.S. Embassy in the Philippines Spokesperson


“My family celebrates our diversity every day, though not necessarily in obvious ways. My parents immigrated to the United States from India, years before I was born. As kids, my sister and I were brought up to celebrate the diversity of both our American lives and the Indian side of our heritage. As parent now myself, I’ve taught my sons to mark Indian celebrations and love Indian food. More importantly, that appreciation of diversity has helped me guide my sons, who have lived in Europe, Africa, and now Southeast Asia, to appreciate the diversity and richness of the places where they live.”

Spokesperson Kanishka Gangopadhyay and his family wearing traditional Indian attire.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Denise Guiao-Corpuz  

“I am extremely grateful to have been able to participate in this year’s Exercise Balikatan. It was an amazing opportunity to leverage my cultural knowledge and experience to support both the U.S. forces and our Philippine allies.”

Capt. Denise Guiao-Corpuz in front of a stage with the Philippine and U.S. flags and a large screen with text: “Philippines-United States Exercise Balikatan 38-2023 Closing Ceremony”

Dr. Romel Lacson
U.S. CDC Director, Philippines Country Office


“Through Memory and Music.

Memory: I visited the Philippines for the first time as an 11-yearold who had grown up living in South Carolina. My identity as a Filipino came into focus while running and playing in the rice fields and streets of Imus, Cavite, with my cousins and discovering that other kids (other than my siblings) shared my last name. It blew my mind. This experience launched a dream of mine to work and live in the Philippines, so I feel blessed to be here.

Music: The Filipino community in South Carolina is relatively small but they were my extended family members. I had many titas and titos but one of my favorites was Tita Lorna, a pianist who introduced me to the traditional songs of the Philippines, and as I was studying music in college, I took full advantage of this repertoire. The melodies and the lyrics help me to embody my Filipino heritage.”

Dr. Romel Lacson and his family at a beach.