Community - July 27, 2011

M-A juniors pay tribute to Filipino heritage

by Caitlin Moyles

Jesse and Christian Perkins, juniors at Menlo-Atherton High School and residents of Menlo Park, are often recognized for their prowess in tennis. This year, both were named Athletes of the Week by the Palo Alto Weekly, first team all-league players for doubles, and the M-A varsity team's "most inspirational" and "most valuable" players. They also maintain 4.5 grade point averages and help run a small family business.

Recently, the twins paid tribute to their Filipino heritage when they were filmed by the Filipino company, GMA Pinoy TV, for its weekly "Power Ng Pinoy" documentary program, which highlights Filipino Americans who are making a difference in their communities.

"We have respect for elders, the fighting spirit of Filipinos, and that we embody the work ethic of Filipinos," said Jesse, the older twin by two minutes. "We also have love for country, God, and family."

The Perkins twins, citizens of both the Philippines and the United States, were born in Cape Town City, near the Philippines' capital of Manila. They were filmed for "Power Ng Pinoy" on Saturday, May 21, at an Atherton home and doing drills on the M-A tennis courts.

"They also talked to us about how we take losing a match," Christian said. "We're always disappointed when we lose, but we always use that as a learning experience. I think part of the show's message is that passion and hard work are going to get you places you strive to get to."

Jesse added that he believes the show's message is especially important for Filipinos.

"(The program) showcases that everybody can reach their full potential and follow their dreams, which is a really a good thing for the mass of people who will watch it in the Philippines," he said.

The twins will return to the Philippines this summer, where they will spend two months practicing with the national tennis team in hopes of playing doubles for the Philippines in the Davis Cup, they said.

"It'll be a good opportunity to train and improve our weaknesses," said Christian.

Jesse added that they still have a lot of family in the Philippines and try to visit often.

"We were born there, so we love the Philippines and try to go there as much as possible," he said. "We also love Filipino food."

In their free time, Jesse and Christian help their dad run Born to Surf, a surf clothing business the twins got involved with to help pay for their college education.

"I'm the marketing person, and my brother handles the graphics and Web design," Jesse said.

According to Christian, however, their free time diminished significantly over the course of their junior year.

"Junior year is pretty hard," he said.

When asked what the future holds for them, the twins responded that they hope to continue to play doubles together at a college or university in California. UC Berkley, Stanford, University of Southern California, and Westmont are among their top choices, Christian said.

"It's definitely a goal," Jesse said.


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