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Meet the 2021 Tayo Fellows Cohort


This year’s cohort includes:

Maria Cristina Chachie Abara

Maria Cristina Chachie Abara is an 1.5 Filipino American. Daughter, Sister and Scholarly Activist,  She graduated with degrees in Psychology and Philippine Studies with concentration in Ilokano Studies from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. She has developed two passion projects of hers that manifested in the last year which is her podcast and educational platform account.

Her podcast entitled, previously named, “Reclaiming Filipinx Identity” now branched to KasamahanCo is about stories of Filipinos in Hawai’i and curating the oral history of people from her age, and those older to document many of their experiences. Aside from her podcast, she works on creating content that showcases the Ilokano language and culture with her colleagues to keep that language from going extinct.

Chachie also advocates for the Filipino community in terms of mental health and for representation in terms of breaking taboo topics that is not as talked about into our own household. With her background in Psychology and Philippine studies, she hoped to manifest building a media revolution using her passion project to start a company that focuses on creating films, skits, and series that help kickstart critical dialogue and conversation.

Nouchka Claire Apostol

Nouchka Claire Apostol is a proud Ilocana from Pangasinan, Philippines, but has been residing on Tongva Land (LA County) for 20 years. Nouchka is a student at University of California, Irvine, double majoring in Sociology and Psychological Sciences. She is a strong advocate for mental health awareness and providing community support through the lenses of decolonization and anti-imperialism. Along with being a full-time student, she is also a community organizer, amateur bass player, and practicing mindfulness. Nouchka defines herself as a divine/spiritual healer as she has been practicing tarot and strengthening her ancestral connection for more than a year!

Ione Sky Causing

Ione Sky Causing calls the island of Guam her home. Over the course of her educational career, she’s worked for organizations such as Central Washington University’s Filipino-American Student Association as vice-president and president, and  was formerly an Eastern Advisor for the Northwest Filipino-American Student Alliance (NWFASA).

Ione hopes to use her skills for the better and to improve the lives of not only her own, but those around her. Although writing and editing are her purest passions, she will continue to advocate for her culture. She is a graduate of Central Washington University, where she majored in English Language and Literature. She currently lives in Maple Valley. When she is not keeping busy with writing, you can find her playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons or starting a new book.

Georgie D’Sanson

Georgie D'Sanson is a rising senior at Johns Hopkins University studying Cognitive Science, Spanish, and Mathematics with an interest in Linguistics. Growing up in New York, Philippines, and Hawaii, they have grown to appreciate how linguistic diversity reflects cultural diversity in surprising ways. They are the Cultural President of JHU's Filipino Students Association, in which they plan community events for the Hopkins Filipino community with other Filipino and FilAm students. They also enjoy singing and beatboxing for their acapella group Humming Jay.

Carina Gregorio

Carina Gregorio is a junior at California State University, Los Angeles. She is majoring in Healthcare Administration and is interested in increasing health equity, quality assurance, patient risk management, and project management. It is her personal philosophy to give back to my community and keep the door open for others.

Jonathan Laxamana

Jonathan Laxamana is a rising sophomore at Stanford University planning to major in Human Biology with additional academic interests in public policy, Asian American Studies, and neuroscience. He is currently a research assistant at the Giardino Lab, studying the biological mechanisms behind stress and sleep. During his virtual freshman year experience, Jonathan was highly involved within Stanford’s Filipino community as an intern for the school’s Kayummangi dance troupe and Pilipino Student Union (PASU). He also explored his interests in community organizing by participating in an Alternative Spring Break program centered around the struggles of Filipino migrant workers. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys hiking, playing piano, listening to podcasts, and spending time with family and friends.

Sofia Lindo

Sofia Lindo was born and raised in Pampanga, Philippines. She is a second year undergraduate student at Cypress College where she is pursuing a degree in Nursing (BS). She volunteers at COVID-19 clinics, contributing to reach the goal on vaccinating all Californians. She has mentored with elementary students, showing her broad appreciation in all subjects being taught in school. She is interested in finding ways to give more access in healthcare to all people living in rural areas in the Philippines. She intends to apply to medical school to advance her knowledge in cardiology.

Nico Palanca

Nico is a Junior at Virginia Tech studying International Relations. Currently he holds the positions of: a Resident Advisor in Virginia Tech, the Internal Vice President for The Filipino-American Society Association, and member of the Student Advisory board for The Innovate Living-Learning Community. Often Nico is in charge of projects such as culture shows, symposiums, outreaches, and many more.

Nico had lived in the Philippines for most of his life, and had recently moved to America to pursue a higher education. In his free time he enjoys amateur photography, discovering new music, and enjoying the outdoors. Nico is a driven person, with a clear goal and mission; to serve others and better his community.

Brian Mangilog

Brian Mangilog is a clinical project coordinator for the Rare Genomes Project, a research study based at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard that provides genetic testing to families with rare diseases. He graduated in 2018 from Harvard University with a B.A. in Neurobiology and a secondary concentration in Global Health and Health Policy. He currently serves as a Board Member for PAMANA, Inc., helping plan New England’s Philippine Independence Day celebrations and the Fil-Am High School Leadership Program. He was the former New England Ambassador and is now a Coach for Empowering Pilipino Youth through Collaboration (EPYC). He is also Co-Director for the Philippine Medical Association of New England’s Wellness Program, a monthly program serving the homeless community in downtown Boston.

For more information about the FYLPRO Tayo Fellowship Program, please contact FYLPRO Tayo Fellowship Director, Krystle Canare, at

This article was written and edited by the Tayo editorial desk and has been reviewed by an independent panel of subject matter experts.

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