A Film By Rafael Bitanga
Magsayawan Ketchikan shares Alma Manabat Parker’s story as a Filipino-American living in Ketchikan Alaska as she revitalizes a once vibrant Filipino-American Community through the power of Filipino folk dance. Rediscovering her Filipino identity in the process.
About The Film
+Short Documentary +English, Tagalog + USA + 30 Minutes +Color
Logline: Magsayawan Ketchikan presents Alma Manabat Parker’s journey of reconnecting with her Philippine culture. Along with her rural community in Alaska, she revitalizes a once vibrant Filipina/o-American Community through the power of Philippine folk dance.
This is a story beyond just one culture; it is about the struggle of immigrants to maintain their identity in the United States, played out on the last frontier.
About Alma Manabat Parker
Health Equity Program Coordinator & Director of Operations, Ketchikan, Alaska.
As a Filipina Alaskan, Alma Manabat Parker has an intimate understanding of the Asian American identity crisis. Growing up, she struggled with racism. Philippine folk dance is helping her rediscover her cultural roots.
She was born in the Philippines and immigrated to Alabama at eight months old. Then, at age eight her family moved to Ketchikan. Alma's life took a significant turn when she settled in Alaska, which she has called home for over five decades.
Alma's life is not merely a geographical journey, but also a journey of self-discovery through dance. Dance, for Alma, is more than just a hobby. Dance is a healing expression of her cultural heritage and a powerful tool for reconnecting with her Philippine roots.
While Alma plays many roles in her life - a loving wife, a devoted mother, a committed sister, and a professional in health equity - it's her role as a dance coach that ignites her spirit and fuels her purpose. Since the age of 8, she has danced and coached the next generation daily. This enriches her life and her community.
Alma continues to be an inspiration for others in Ketchikan, Alaska. She embodies that rediscovering one's roots can be as simple as following the rhythm of your heart on the dance floor.
About the Director
At age six, Rafael’s creative journey started when he used his mom’s film camera to capture his older sister during a dance performance in the Philippines.
Early exposure to the arts sparked his creativity, which came into focus years later. As a 7th grader in Kodiak Island, Alaska, he documented the life of a retired Filipina nurse and teacher. Since then, he has been committed to filming unscripted documentaries centered on overlooked stories, (particularly Filipina/o Americans in Alaska).
In 2016, Rafael represented the Kodiak History Museum at the National Arts and Humanities Youth Programs Award, where Michelle Obama highlighted his contributions to photography and filmmaking. Rafael’s work has garnered support from the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Alaska Humanities Forum.
Beyond film projects, he teaches filmmaking to youth and educators across Alaska through the nonprofit, See Stories. The power of film and service fuels him to uplift others with dignity. Rafael is a Coca-Cola, Horatio Alger, and Live Más Scholar, who holds a B.S. in Hotel Administration from Cornell University.
© 2023 by Bitanga Productions. All rights Reserved.