Isabella Peralta

Isabella Peralta is a Filipino writer, editor, and educator whose work explores identity, diaspora, love, and belonging. As an advocate of racial and cultural diversity in literature and new media, Isabella has worked for various organizations and festivals that champion underrepresented voices, including the Global Migrant Festival, Ayesha Pande Literary, Poets House NYC, and We Need Diverse Books. Her writing has been published by Ricepaper, Literary Shanghai, Hyphen, and Postscript Magazine, among others.


When I am too tired to decipher my parents’ conversations in Filipino, I focus on how they speak. Intonations rising and falling like a tide. Enunciation everywhere, most syllables stressed. Voices raised even as they say something loving. They talk quickly, confident in their pronunciations of words that would trip up my tongue.

We eat Filipino dishes with names we cannot pronounce. Gathered at the dining table with rice piled on our plates, my siblings and I devour whatever my mother cooked that day: adobong manok with its brown, garlicky sauce, lechon kawali with its oily, crispy skin, tinola overflowing with green papayas and a ginger broth. Throughout my childhood, my mispronunciations of anything Filipino were overlooked, sometimes deemed charming.