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 A Film By Rafael Bitanga

Bridging Our Stories

Bridging Our Stories shares a Filipina's story of 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 + 26:46 Minutes +Color
Logline: When 50-year-old Filipina immigrant travels to the Philippines for the first time since infancy, she immerses in her native culture and learns traditional dances to bring back to her Filipino community in Alaska, hoping to spark cultural engagement and identity amongst youth increasingly disconnected from their heritage. 
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

Rafael is a Center for Asian American Media Fellow and receives mentorship from Tadashi Nakamura

At age six, Rafael’s creative journey started when he used his mom’s 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 filming documentaries centered on overlooked stories (particularly Filipina/o Americans). 
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 filmmaking, he teaches digital storytelling 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 with a B.S. in Hotel Administration from Cornell University.

Bitanga Productions

© 2023 by Bitanga Productions. All rights Reserved.

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