Welcome to our first episode of Cooking, Culture, and Chaos!
In this episode, we feature gym member and new Sister Fit coach, Kim Villaluz!
I chose Kim as a guest for our series because of her passion for Filipino culture and her relatability. I always feel happier when I get to see Kim here at the gym and I’m sure she’ll delight viewers too.
I enjoyed the simplicity of the recipes Kim taught me—I even ended up making beef giniling at home! Both the recipes are very comforting and easy to make.
Tortang Talong—an eggplant and egg dish!
Beef Giniling: Ground beef, potatoes, and peppers.
It’s clear to me that Kim has a beautiful connection to her roots; in her presence, it’s easy to feel and appreciate.
Kim Villaluz is a 29-year-old, licensed paralegal (non-practising) and personal trainer. She was born in the United Arab Emirates and immigrated to Canada with her parents in August 2000. Both of her parents are Filipino; her mother is of Ilocano descent (from Tabuk, Kalinga) and father is Tagalog (General Tinio, Nueva Ecija).
When reflecting on her experience navigating cultural identity, Kim shares that her journey began recently.
“It’s really only been in recent years that I’ve begun attending events organized by Filipino-Canadians, more so in the creative space (i.e. attending Tita Collective shows, events organized by The Rise Tribe). On my own time, I lean into my love of history to do my own research on pre-colonial Philippines in hopes of finding published histories and essays about the history by Filipino academics. It is my own personal goal to publish a novel based on old Philippine myth and folklore.
All in all, I am still in the process of navigating life, and in that, also navigating my identity as it ties with my culture (Filipino vs. Canadian).”
The “chaos” of this cooking series is what so many of us at Sister Fit encapsulate: we are a mix of identities, religions, hobbies, and ambitions. We grow to meet our ambitions and to do this, we sometimes move through a lot of pain. I think it’s in trying times that we most remember where we came from and who we are at the root.
Kim grew up in Scarborough and has lived here for most of her life, except for the 4.5 years she lived in Ottawa for school. Kim is a product of the TCDSB, having gone to a Catholic elementary school and high school receiving a religious education alongside the usual nuts and bolts.
Kim went to The University of Ottawa where she received her BA in English. She moved back to Scarborough and attended Seneca College to complete her paralegal certificate.
Kim also worked for the Philippine Overseas Labour Office for a year and half. During her time there, she learned a great deal about laws and regulations for migrant workers, both on the Philippine and Canadian side. She says, “being in a client-facing role, I also learned a very difficult lesson in separating personal feelings from work—a lesson I thought I had mastered through many years of working in retail/service. It’s different when you know that the papers you hold are equivalent to someone’s whole life, their family, all their money.”
Currently, Kim works at a law firm as a legal assistant, and coaches here at Sister Fit. She has an array of eclectic hobbies that may include an online shooting game called “Valorant.”
Enjoy Episode 1 of Cooking, Culture, and Chaos with Kim Villaluz below!