ABOUT THE FOUNDER: JACKIE ORTIZ
"What is that?"
I was asked this question over and over and growing up. My hometown was a middle-class suburb located just outside of the city of Chicago, comprised of only a handful of Filipinos (including myself). In elementary school, I was that kid who brought a big thermos of Nanay's day-old sinigang or kaldereta or adobo to the lunchroom only to be confronted with a barrage of the same questions – "...what is that?" or "what's that smell?"
It was scarring. And I slowly became embarrassed and ashamed of food I once found delicious. I started bringing Lunchables and begged for bologna sandwiches. It was the beginning of a spiral into what it meant to be Filipinx, and furthermore – what it meant to be American.
It wasn't until I relocated to Los Angeles that I made the conscious decision to make up for lost time and reclaim not only my Filipino American identity, but my love for the food that raised me and made me.
I created Sarap Tees as a celebration of Filipino food, culture and tradition – to create a dialogue by repping Filipino cuisine proudly on a tee, tote or sweater.
Is for the kid in the lunchroom who's tired of explaining their lunch to their classmates.
It's for the parents forging the pathway for the next generation of Filipino Americans.
It's for the people who want to give Filipino cuisine its long overdue celebration.
Sarap Tees is for you.