We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Pat Lindsay “Pinky” Catalla-Buscaino and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dr. Pat Lindsay “Pinky”, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
In the Filipino American culture, many parents and relatives will encourage, influence, and impose youth to pursue a medical career pathway, such as the popular nursing field. It has become a common knowledge that Filipinos are in the medical and nursing industry, with multi-generational families who are nurses. Being a nurse is a professional occupation and offers good benefits and salary to raise multi-generational families. It’s a tried-and-true profession where financial success and stability is inevitable. I respect and honor our Filipino American nurses because it is a difficult profession and American healthcare would not exist without the blood, sweat, and tears of Filipino American medical workers.

But enforcing Filipino youth and young professionals to pursue nursing as the sole path to a successful and financially stable career is the piece of conventional advice that I disagree with in my culture. In my dissertation research, Kuwento/Stories: A Narrative Inquiry of Filipino American Community College Students, all eight of my research participants were influenced and were told to pursue the medical and nursing field by family and relatives. Out of the eight participants, one became a nurse, two are other professions in the medical field, and the rest decided to pursue something completely different. Telling youth that the medical field is the only way to be successful is harmful and limiting to the potential of our youth. At the same time, we are limiting Filipino Americans in non-traditional careers that need to break down the glass/bamboo ceiling in different industries. I believe we need to encourage and show youth the diversity of occupations that Filipino Americans pursue, and the various life paths people take to get there. There is no perfect route or GPS to copy. I believe each person will take their own path and experience their own unique journey. Perhaps this is why I pursued a different industry than the medical field so I can encourage others to pursue their own radical goals and dreams, even if your culture tells you otherwise.

What should our readers know about your business?
Kuwento Co. LLC is a small business focused on empowering and encouraging BIPOC people, especially Filipino/a/x communities to write, share, tell, print, and publish their life stories, kuwentos. You don’t have to be a “professional writer” to write your own life story. You are the author of your own life, which means you already know your story the best. At Kuwento Co., we give you the tools, resources, and step-by-step support to help you write your story through writing workshops, story circles, live readings, retreats, seminars, coaching, and consulting.

We are proud of many things in Kuwento Co., but one is empowering Filipino seniors to write their own legacy stories. Many of them are hesitant to write and share their stories because they don’t feel that their life experiences and stories are important. Many are held back by technology or how to start. But once they join a class or workshop, they see other peers who share their own stories and show their own dedication to writing their stories, and then they too become motivated to write their own stories. Kuwento Co. is rooted in culturally sensitive and compassionate facilitation for Filipino seniors, allowing clients to feel vulnerable and supported in their writing, sharing, and publishing.

Running a small business is a challenge because there are many risks. But with large risks, I believe there are large rewards waiting for you at every corner. As a business owner, I love the creative freedom of developing and executing my business. I have to believe in myself and my decisions, versus seeking upper management approval. I am able to be my authentic self, serve my community, make a difference in people’s lives, and make a sustainable living.

I want people to know that the big and small moments of your life are the experiences stories you need to write and capture. You might be worried about who reads your stories, but you can start off writing just for your eyes only. Once you feel more comfortable sharing your stories with others, you will find that someone out there is waiting to read and hear your story to inspire them to the next phase of their life. Kuwento Co. envisions and endeavors to have the largest clientele and collection of BIPOC/Filipino American kuwentos.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am originally from Culver City/Los Angeles, CA, so we have family and friends always coming to Houston. We love to EAT in our family, so we take them to our favorite spots. We love eating in Chinatown/Bellaire area. We love Korean restaurants like Jang Guem Tofu Restaurant or Handaam Korean BBQ Restaurant. We love dim sum from Ocean’s Palace. Mochi donuts and Korean corn dogs from Sul Bing Su and ChungChun. Popcorn chicken from Cafe 101. Sweet breads from 85 Degrees. Boba from Gong Cha. Affordable sushi and bottomless miso soup from Hokkaido. Delicious Malaysian Roti at Pappa Rich.

We also love taking folks to outdoor spaces, like local parks and preserve connected to Precinct 4. We love walking/biking to Jesse Jones Park in Humble, Mercer Arboretum, Collins Park, Meyer Park, Dennis Johnston Park. We also love walking in the Woodlands Waterway during the day and at even at night when there are lights on the trees. When we travel to the museum district, we visit MFAH and see the many Filipino security guards that work there. I love taking folks to Herman Park, visit the Japanese Garden, and the Centennial Garden. We also stop by Graffiti Park to take selfies in front of the murals.

We also enjoy visiting/staying Galveston and Jamaica Beach, where you can drive up to the shoreline and tail gate. This is so much fun because you just drive up, claim your spot, and stay until the sun goes down–all for free. We like stopping by Buc-cee’s first and stocking up on food, snacks, drinks, and apparel. Many relatives are in awe over how large Buc-cee’s is and what the gas store has to offer. We also enjoy staying at Moody Gardens Hotel and spending time visiting the pyramids and animal watching!

We will also most likely visit a Filipino restaurant, like Filipinana T00 or Jollibee, or visit a Filipino/Asian grocery store, Fil-Tex, Cherry Fooderama, or Hong Kong, to cook Filipino food at home.

I love taking folks to Rice University for the beautiful architecture, but also to showoff the FANHS-HTX partnership with the Woodson Research and Archive Center where we have started a Houston Filipino American artifact collection. The first Asian American to graduate from Rice University in 1917 was a Filipino American pensionado, Rudolfo Hulen Fernandez. His picture is in a yearbook in the center. We also drive through the medical center because it’s like the Vegas strip of medical centers. We like to highlight that many Filipino Houstonians work in the medical center.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to…

my partner, Kevin
my family and relatives, The Catalla and Buscaino Family
my ancestors
my community, Filipino American National Historical Society-Houston, Texas Chapter (FANHS-HTX)
my friends, teachers, mentors, and coaches, all who listened, supported, and gave me advice

Other: contact Kuwento Co. at hellokuwento@gmail.com

Image Credits
Pin Lim (headshot photo) Kuwento Co. (business card, Filipino Senior Private Group, Kuwento Co. Services and Books) Holly Lim Strategies (Come As You Are Screen Shot)

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.