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Kopino Reunites with Her Korean Father: An I-Witness Documentary

Photo taken from:

Photo taken from:

Kopino (코피노) pertains to children born to a Korean father and a Filipina mother.

Two years ago, I wrote an article about “The Sad Plight of Abandoned Kopino Children in the Philippines” after watching an I-Witness documentary about Kopino children searching for their Korean fathers and the good Samaritans who are helping them.

The good Samaritans are Mr. Bum Sik (Cedric) Son, a Korean, and his Filipina wife, Mrs. Normi Garcia Son. They founded Kopino Children Association Inc. to give Kopinos under their care free education, shelter, moral support and most of all hope for the children to see their father.

On Saturday, May 9, a day after children in Korea honored their parents by celebrating Parents’ Day, I-Witness featured the poignant reunion of a Kopino and her ailing father in Korea whom she hasn’t seen in six years.

Below is the full episode, entitled “Remember Me”, which was uploaded on Youtube by user Kapuso Ako:

Get your tissues ready. This father-daughter reunion will move you to tears.

If you don’t mind cuts, these links to a four-part episode, uploaded by user I WANT PINOY TV, have a wider screen for better viewing.

As of now, there are no programs or organizations supported by the Korean government and the Philippine government that cater to the needs of Kopino children. In fact, there is no data on the number of Kopino children in the Philippines abandoned by their Korean fathers. The problem is rather personal, so most of the children and their mothers don’t have anywhere to turn to, except to seek help from non-profit organizations such as the one founded by Mr. and Mrs. Son. Hopefully, there will be more Mr. and Mrs. Son’s who will reach out to Kopino children and help them achieve their utmost desire… to see their father in Korea.

If you are a Kopino who needs help, you may visit Kopino Facebook homepage. Please do not trust any other organizations. According to Mrs. Son, other groups try to lure mothers of Kopino children to file court cases against the Korean fathers in exchange for a large sum of money. This is never the intent of Kopino Children Association, except in cases where the Korean father refuses to recognize his Kopino child/ren, like what happened to a 27-year-old Kopino Mr. Son assisted recently. The Korean father, who has another child to another Filipina, abnegated his parental responsibility, so filing of a case was recommended.

The funds used by the organization come mainly from the founders’ own pockets, with help from one or two Korean sponsors who are based in Korea. The capacity to assist Kopinos is quite limited, but the need to be there for these children is great. The organization needs all the help it can get not only financially, but also in raising awareness and educating the Korean and Filipino society about what some unfortunate Kopinos go through and how we can all make a difference in the lives of these children.

For those who would like to help by donating to Kopino Children Association, please visit the organization’s website. There you will find a link to the banks where you can send your donations.

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“Biyaheng Bibimbap” on I-Witness

Last night, an award-winning documentary television program in the Philippines called I-Witness featured one of South Korea’s most popular signature dishes, BIBIMBAP. Bibimbap is “mixed rice” topped with meat, vegetables, chilli paste and egg. Although the very first Korean restaurant in the Philippines has been serving bibimbap since 1974, it was only recently when this food has gained popularity among Filipinos. Bibimbap restaurants have suddenly mushroomed in my hometown, but unfortunately, none of the bibimbap that we have tried here appeased our taste buds. My husband told me the bibimbap that I used to cook for him in Korea is more delicious. ^^ (I will share my recipe next time.)

The host, Howie Severino, visited the birthplace of bibimbap, Jeonju, where he had a taste of the best bibimbap in the country. He also tried different kinds of jeon sold as street food in Seoul. I never thought that I would miss Korean food now that I get to eat all of my favorite Filipino dishes… but I was wrong.

The documentary wasn’t all about food.

Howie interviewed another successful Filipina in Korea, Genie Kim, whom I have met during the meeting with President Noynoy Aquino. She is one of the many Filipinos in Korea who help fellow Pinoys (Filipinos) by being a multicultural family broadcaster, a volunteer and a marriage counselor.

Two Filipinas also appeared on the show, Ning Fetalvero Minah-Shin whom I call Ate Ning, and Professor Lalaine Cura.

For those who were not able to watch “Biyaheng Bibimbap”, below is the episode on Youtube.