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Jun 01st
Home Columns Unsolicited Advice The FAL Will Fall Over its Decision to Name its E-magazine “The Flip”
The FAL Will Fall Over its Decision to Name its E-magazine “The Flip” PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Unsolicited Advice
Written by Bobby M. Reyes   
Thursday, 16 April 2009 11:44

J onathan Lorenzo, the administrator of the Filipino-American Library (FAL) of Los Angeles, California, sent a media advisory about the advertising rates for its e-newsletter called "The Flip."

Immediately upon reading Mr. Lorenzo’s message, this writer sent an e-mail with BCCs to some 1,200 screen names in our e-lists.

* Here is the e-mailed response to Mr. Lorenzo’s media advisory:




My Dear Jonathan:


T hank you for your media advisories. 


But how come you use the term, "Flip"? Don't you know that the said term has been designated by the Internal Affairs of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the Los Angeles County Sheriff Office and a host of other law-enforcement offices as "derogatory" to American citizens of Filipino descent and the Filipino people?


How come your Filipino-American Library is calling our people and our community members as "Flips"?


How can we have respect from the Mainstream and other-Ethnic communities when some of our people like you and your group insist on calling themselves with such a derogatory term? 


We suggest respectfully that you please change the title of your publication otherwise we at the Media Breakfast Club and affiliated organizations will begin to ostracize you and the other officers of the Filipino-American Library and brand them as racially-insensitive individuals. 


For your information and guidance, 




Lolo Bobby M. Reyes     UNQUOTE.  


* Here is the message sent by Mr. Lorenzo using the screen name,  




Looking to advertise your business?  Want to promote a particular product or service?  Could you use a boost in brand awareness or increased sales? Advertise with “The Flip” and reach over 2,000 people in Greater Los Angeles through email every month.  


Become an admired sponsor of FAL's very own e-newsletter now! (Snipped) UNQUOTE.  


* I added an additional message to the BCC recipients:  QUOTE.


Please find hereunder an example of my confrontational style of leadership. Many of our national leaders keep silent in matters like the way the Filipino-American Library of Los Angeles, CA, calls its magazine, "The Flip."


Almost all of our leaders keep quiet in dealing with such mundane matters because they think that politics is always addition. They are afraid of antagonizing potential supporters. 


Sen. Nene Pimentel says that three Cs define leadership: Clean, Competent and Courageous. Dr. Joy Bruce of Florida added a fourth C to Senator Pimentel's definition: Collaborative. I say that there should be a Fifth C: Confrontational. It is not enough for a leader to be clean, competent, courageous and collaborative. The leader must be able to confront those who even call Filipinos as "Flips."  UNQUOTE. 


T he impact was tremendous and almost immediate. Here are some of the opinions expressed in e-mails and postings in some e-newsgroups:  


* In a message dated 4/16/2009 11:36:33 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, writes:


QUOTE.  I am 100% in agreement with you on this. I do not understand why people of Filipino descent are not outraged by the term “flip.”  It is indeed very sad that Filipino Americans of Filipino descent think it is cool to call themselves “flip”  It is like the Chinese calling themselves “Chink” and the Japanese “Japs” or the African-Americans the “N”  word.  


So much ignorance is spread by our own people at the excuse of being “hip.” UNQUOTE.  


* Sir Jose Sison Luzadas of the Order of the Knights of Rizal sent from Florida the following message:

GIVE THEM "HELL" BOBBY! That's the right thing to do for every concerned Filipino.


Bobby, is the word "Flip" coined by American rednecks who despised our GMA decision to recall  the Filipino contingent serving in Iraq? Did we "flip" in our commitment to share the burden of fighting and dying? Jose Sison Luzadas   UNQUOTE.   



* Here are the comments of a Ms. Elsie of the  




HOLY MACKEREL!  HOW IN THE WORLD DID THIS JONATHAN WHATEVER . . . become the "AD-ministrator" of a Filipino American Library, according to his address when HE -- by far --  IS THE FIRST SO-CALLED "educated" Pinoy who is . . . UNFORTUNATELY  IGNORANT what "FLIP" means?
And he is a 


Come to think about Mr. Frank Adamo, NOT A PINOY, and yet HE KNOWS THIS (is) NOT ONLY DEROGATORY BUT (also) RACIALLY an iNHUMANE put down on US, FILIPINOS and hyphenated FILIPINOS irregardless of our acquired race.

During the American colonization of the Philippines, one American historian-writer described their bloody battle against "these savages, brown monkeys without tails." That's how THE AMERICANS described us DURING THOSE DAYS.
Other derogatory namecalling to Filipinos: "NoyPits" which reflect on our "crab mentality"... but "Flip" is as worse as the "N" word inflicted upon our African American brothers and sisters.
To Jonathan: Since you are supposedly a publisher, how about coming out with a magazine titled 'MAGANDA"?
"Maganda" is the nickname given to me by my late AMERKANO husband. It also reflected his love and respect to Filipinos.(Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.)
But calling ourselves "FLIP" is a self-inflcting PUT DOWN upon our own self.
I am not looking for a debate here. Just opening my heart.
Elsie of filamGOPorg@yahoogroups.



* Here are comments from Don Azarias of Chicago:  


Dear Frank, 


Thanks. I know I can always count on you. That's why there's a saying that "a little learning is a dangerous thing." I was really appalled at it. Some people are just plain ignorant. Maybe because of colonial mentality, Dr. Nelson? He didn't only insult a group of people. He insulted an entire race. 


Don Azarias   



* Here are the comments from Frank Adamo, as posted in the  on 04/16/09 at 10:40 a.m. 


QUOTE. Even I know what FLIP means and I'm not even a Filipino.  It's worse than calling an Italian a dago. UNQUOTE.  


* Here are the contents of an Open Letter to Jonathan Lorenzo, as written by Don Azarias  and posted also in the




Dear Mr. Jonathan: 


If you think that the word FLIP is just a contraction for the word FILIPINO and it's cool to use it, then I'm afraid that you don't know what it meant.  During the late 1800 after the Spanish-American War until we became a U.S. colony, those American cavalry soldiers referred to us as F-L-I-P-S or FUCKING LITTLE ISLAND PEOPLE. 


Shame on you, whoever you are, for screwing your own countrymen. 


Don Azarias


* In a message dated 4/16/2009 10:00:54 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Ting Joven of Chicago wrote to this writer:  QUOTE:


FLIP????  What a name!  The name belongs to a Talipapa and should never be associated to a Filipino American Library.  How ironic and moronic!   


What a shame.  As the saying goes:  "You can take the girl out of the farm, but you can never take the farm out of the girl." 
* The controversy is bound to elicit more passionate comments and even statements in defense of the FAL and Mr. Lorenzo. Here is an e-mail from a reader, who is obviously a defender of the FAL and/or Mr. Lorenzo:  Jet Pizarro writes: “Why is ‘Flip’ a derogatory term?”  
 (To be continued . . .)

Newer news items:
Older news items:

Last Updated on Monday, 20 April 2009 22:25
Comments (19)
1 Thursday, 16 April 2009 14:09
Dear Bobby:

Yes, I understand your comments. In Real Estate Industry, Flipping or "FLIP" is one of the common fraud schemes. I wish them (to) change the word if it may.

2 Thursday, 16 April 2009 14:18
Dear Don:

Jonathan Lorenzo is a young man, probably in his early or mid 20s. I am sure that he will make a reply, after he has consulted the Filipino-American Library Board of Directors.

BTW, all of your comments have been posted in the, either as part of, or after, the article, The FAL Will Fall Over its Decision to Name its E-magazine “The Flip”

Please check it out.

Thank you all for your support. I think that this article and you comments will put to rest the misguided use of "Flip," especially among our youth.


Lolo Bobby

In a message dated 4/16/2009 3:02:18 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, don.azarias@ writes:


Can you tell me in private or openly who this Mr. Jonathan is? He's got a lot of explaining to do in the Fil-Am community here in the Chicagoland area. Maybe you should ask him if he knew what the word FLIP meant before he used it as a name for his organization. If he says that he is not aware of its derogatory connotation, then maybe he should change his organization's name and then let's forgive and forget.

Don Azarias
3 Thursday, 16 April 2009 14:21
In a message dated 4/16/2009 2:50:06 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, qphs1960@ writes:

I learned about this word from my son when he was about 24 years old and he is now 41. A woman I met in the park while walking to meet my son who at that time was having some disagreement with our daughter..... his sister.....! The old lady warned me.... " be careful lady.... there is a FLIP there sitting on the bench....! And I replied with sarcasm.... " Lady... that happens to be my son......! I am proud of him and I will not allow anyone.....specially you "OLD WOMAN " to insult anyone with that word.....! Please check with someone more educated than you what the word means..... LACK of education can put you in trouble where ever you go ! "

I am grateful I have been given the opportunity to be in America..... but at the same time.... I have had some instances that I have been discriminated...... I have fought back with dignity and respect!

4 Thursday, 16 April 2009 14:24
I might also add that, out of my 38 years or so I've known my (Filipino) wife (we've been married 36 years), I've only heard the word flip used once or twice. Therefore, it is extreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeemly rare to hear that word in the Filipino community. Regretfully, I've heard dago used a few times in my adult life.

Frank Adamo
5 Thursday, 16 April 2009 14:49
I agree. I can not discern why some Filipinos love to call themselves with names that
are derogatory and self degrading. I have a problem even the terms like Pinoy/Pinay.
I did not like when a person of another race called me Pinoy. I remember in a speech,
I even asked the Philippine media to stop using the terms Pinoy/Pinay in their
publications because people of other races read them also, and that could trigger
others to get the wrong impressions.

I ask MEDIABCLA to continue to be the watchdog on this type of publicities.

Roy Padre
6 Thursday, 16 April 2009 14:55

I know Jonathan Lorenzo. He studied in the Midwest, he was a student leader connected with MASA Midwest Asian Students Assn composed of students from 5 major universities in IL, IN, MI, OH and I think he graduated from Notre Dame in Indiana. He was active in the NaFFAA Midwest Region until he moved to LA. The word Flip has been used widely by the youth especially in New York where a book of essays by young FilAms was published with the Flip word in the cover, three years ago. I don’t think it is derogatory among the youth I think it is their affectionate way of calling each other that, hence Lorenzo adopted the word for their publication. Jonathan is a librarian at a Fil-Am library in LA.

Quite a few older Pinoys have complained against the word, including Dr. Paz Buenaventura Naylor, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, of course she even objected our calling each other Pinoys . . . oh well. BTW she is a grandniece of Emilio Aguinaldo

7 Thursday, 16 April 2009 14:57
Hi, Ed and all,

You have raised a good point. I wish we could hear from the youthful friends of Jonathan Lorenzo and understand their side, why they use the word "Flip" without, presumably, intending to downgrade themselves. As the saying goes, beauty is on the sight of the beholder; so is sin, ugliness, etc., Subjective. Others would rather be objective.

8 Thursday, 16 April 2009 20:09

Like the majority of the Filipino-Americans who had called and e-mailed me voicing their outrage over the use of the word FLIP by a Mr. Jonathan Lorenzo to name his publication as such, I think someone who was a student leader and a graduate of a prestigious university should have known better than what he did. He should have researched what word really meant before using it. I do believe that he had known all along that there was a derogatory connotation to that word. Calling Filipinos FLIP is akin to calling an African-American with an 'N' word. And he should have known that older Fil-Ams have been objecting to the use of that word. Unless his IQ is below par, Mr. Lorenzo has no excuse for his gaffe and, for me, there is no middle ground on this issue.

I was so appalled when I read Bobby Reyes' e-mail. And like Bobby Reyes, a very courageous journalist like Jesse Jose, Romy Marquez, Yoly Tubalinal, Elsie Niebar, Lourdes Ceballos, Joseph Lariosa and Veronica Leighton, I will stand up to anyone who will stop at nothing just to to denigrate our race. It's ironic that that person happens to be of Filipino descent. Although what he did is protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, he should have exercised a little indiscretion for the sake of us, Filipinos.

Don Azarias
9 Thursday, 16 April 2009 20:13
There is a time to speak and there is a time to be quiet. The leader must know when to speak.

The other C- Communicative.

Angel Dayan
10 Thursday, 16 April 2009 20:16
In a message dated 4/16/2009 5:54:05 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

Woah!!! What a strong statement. I guess the term FLIP was given a negative connotation by the LA law-enforcement offices. Not here in Toronto. We used to have a Sunday noon TV show entitled "FLIP!!" and nobody reacted the same way.
11 Thursday, 16 April 2009 20:25
Don, I cc'd Jonathan the note I sent you and also this one. Don't be so harsh and don't insult the intelligence of Jonathan Lorenzo. by mentioning even the school he went to, what are you and Bobby, two judges on American Idol? he he he I am sure that the Fil-Am Library Board where he works is well aware of the use of word Flip in the publication. You know the Fil-Am youth have a mind of their own, tried hard to convince even my kids to vote for McCain, but two out of three voted for Obama.

I have here a book in front of me. titled "Flippin' - Filipinos in America." Edited by two progressive Fil-Am writers Luis H. Francia and Eric Gamalinda published by The Asian American Writers Guild, NY, 1998, 377 pages. It is a collection of stories by some of the best minds in the literary world, which we are not part of. I am bringing this up because the term "Flip" is part of the title. So to some sectors of society, it has become an anathema, and to some it has been accepted. You know, it is all subjective, by the tone of voice...tone alone can become lost in translation. Say, "hoy Flip putang ina mo !!!" Or via cell "Whassup Flip?"

12 Friday, 17 April 2009 06:15
Please allow me to add another 3 C's that start with, do not COMPLAIN, do not CRITICIZE and do not CONDEMN.

Unless there are other derogatory connotation on the word FLIP, I heard it first in Norfolk Virginia years ago, and it stands for "Fuckin' Little Island People," it is bad.

Apo Ernie
13 Friday, 17 April 2009 08:13
Perhaps, I should become the administrator of the library. Apparently, I may know more about the history (thanks to my wife) than Jonathan . Though many years ago, I even took a course on Filipino language and history. I learned about the original Tagalog language, which was far more picturesque -- and wordy.

Perhaps FLIP is not so bad if it stood for: Flowery Language Instills Peace (and tranquility).

Frank S. Adamo
14 Friday, 17 April 2009 12:49
----- Reply to Don Azarias on 04/17/09 at 12:12pm

I really don't think anyone was accusing that Filipinos were dumb. As for Jonathan, I don't know him or how old he is or if he was born in the U.S. or the Philippines. However, many young Filipinos, particularly those born in the U.S., may be using FLIP because they don't know the history of the acronym. They may not even be aware that it had been used before. That is not being dumb, but not being educated. I'm certain that young Filipinos would stop using the term if they understood the history.

Similarly but oppositely, if I say I'm gay, 99.999% of the young adults will think that I am a homosexual. They have no idea that gay, prior to the '80s or '90s, meant happy. For the young Filipinos who use FLIP, I believe it is the responsibility for the parents, or others who know, to explain the history of FLIP.

----- Re: Don Azarias wrote:

Filipinos are not as dumb as that. The issue here is the usage of the word "FLIP" <>


15 Friday, 17 April 2009 13:04
16 Friday, 17 April 2009 19:28
Thank you, Dodong, for your comments.

But to be called a Yankee is not an insult. In fact, to become a member of the New York Yankees baseball team means being signed to a multimillion-dollar multi-year contract, aside from huge signing-up fees and bonuses. You mentioned a Red Neck, who is usually giving the racial insult, and not receiving one, as Filipinos do when they are called “Flips.” The use of “Flip” can never be OK because a Filipino-American law-enforcement officer (LEO) can claim racial profiling, discrimination or harassment if other LEOs call him by such a name in the City and County of Los Angeles. So, how come officers of a Filipino-American Library in Los Angeles can call their publication, “The Flip,” and expect Filipinos and Filipino Americans to be happy about it?

The First-Amendment rights do not include the use of racially-offensive terms. It is not being onion-skinned to demand respect and bar the use of an insulting moniker or name.


Lolo Bobby M. Reyes
17 Friday, 17 April 2009 22:16
Dear Bobby,

Derogatory indeed. I just learned something new from your letter to Jonathan. But then my naive mind could only chuckle because the word FLIP brings to mind the term used when someone goes berserk or crazy. Remember people saying "his mind must have flipped!" And not to forget "flip-flops," which are the rubber-thong slippers worn by beachgoers, and last but not least, the ever popular name they call people who can't make up their minds, "flip-floppers." Our political leaders are so good at "flipping" that the name FLIP should be bestowed on them. The name shows the insecurity of those who chose that name. I am sorry to make this comment but I just can't fathom the reasoning behind choosing such a name. As teenagers would say, "that is a lame name, duh!"

If I seem to be dense, maybe I too must have flipped or just plain ignorant of what is going on with our supposedly "Cerebral Filipino Community." Your articles are the only ones worth reading. It gives me a good laugh because your commentaries are jocular. That is what we are supposed to be known for back then and you made a revival of that Filipino trait . . . witty yet it smarts, too.

Dan Soriano
18 Saturday, 18 April 2009 11:01
To Mr. Jonathan Lorenzo:

A fellow-Ateneo alumnus (Bobby Reyes) just emailed me about the FLIP word you used. I don't know you and you don't know me. I don't know how old you are, or where you were born - here or in the Philippines. I don't even know your educational background, whether you reached high school or college or whatever. If you are Filipino, Filipino American or of Filipino heritage or parentage, your parents or grandparents must have really failed in their sacred duty in bringing you up properly to love your own people.

You must have really "flipped" when you used the word FLIP for whatever you are publishing or writing about or doing. If you have a dictionary handy, you should look at the meaning of the word "flip" before using it to refer to Filipinos, as though it's just a harmless "play on words" or "a term of endearment". You must really have a stunted brain or your brain is badly damaged for using this derogatory word referring to Filipinos living here in the USA.

You should apologize to all Filipinos for using the word in reference to them. If you think you owe no apology to anyone, in the guise of "freedom of speech", we will understand. We will even understand if you use the word "nigger" whenever you refer to African Americans, including our President Barack Obama. After all you must really have a damaged brain and the IQ of a one-year old baby. You've really pissed me off! This email message from me contains my email address. You may or may not reply to this email. I will understand.

Panny Gagajena
Chairman, Ateneo Alumni Alliance USA

(As e-mailed to Jonathan Lorenzo with CC to Bobby Reyes)
19 Monday, 27 April 2009 20:14
Mr. Reyes:

You wrote: " Here is an e-mail from a reader, who is obviously a defender of the FAL and/or Mr. Lorenzo: Jet Pizarro writes: “Why is ‘Flip’ a derogatory term?”

It's amazing how you can make such a careless assumption that I am some how associated with Mr. Lorenzo or FAL because of a simple question. I don't know nor am I associated with neither. Your website and topics invite many opinions and exchange of dialogues from the Filipino community which is one reason that makes the US of A a great country. So don't abuse this right by making inaccurate statements and false accusations. Keep it objective and Keep your facts straight. Mr. Reyes.

Jet Pizarro

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Benjamin Franklin said in 1817: In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. But never in his wildest dream did he realize that by 2010, death would be synonymous with taxes~Bobby M. Reyes