Kristine Sinajon

“Pilipino in my DNA”

Kristine Sinajon small


R & B Singer
Catholic Cantor
Make-up Artist
Reiki Practitioner
Tango Dancer

“My father is from Cebu and my mother from Antipolo, Manila. My family migrated to the SF Bay Area in 1985 when I was 4 years old. My father was invited by his brother to assist with his business selling karaoke machines on the West Coast.

“I was born in the Philippines and grew up in South San Francisco, San Francisco and Daly City, the ‘Little Makati’ of the Bay Area. I came to a deeper understanding of who I am as a Pilipino American at SF State University, where I learned Pilipino American history and gained a strong awareness of my heritage. It’s a blessing to be in a place so culturally diverse that our differences contribute to the amalgamation of cultures rather than creating definitive boundaries. Being here in the Bay allows me to simply be me, the Pilipino-American multi-faceted being that I am.


“Of all the things in my life, I feel music has chosen me. I was told I started singing at the age of 3. I don’t remember being without music. I’m classically trained. I was in the SF Girls Chorus and I studied opera at SFSU. Classical music is my home base, but my love is soul and R&B music, probably influenced by my father’s  love for jazz music: Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, and others. So there’s a classical side, soul and R&B, and a little bit of Latin salsa.

“I’ve been a church cantor since I was twelve years old, singing at all church functions: baptisms, weddings, funerals, and leading the congregation in singing during Catholic mass. For me, singing for funerals is an honor. I feel my singing helps heal the people who are left behind. I don’t feel I am assisting the passing or transitioning of the soul of the dead; I comfort the living in their grief. I sing within the Catholic practice for all ethnic groups, young and old. It’s a ministry for me. Even though I often get moved to tears during the eulogy, when I sing, I  connect to the spirit and I focus on my job in life, that I don’t get carried by the strong emotions of  the grieving family.

“I’ve performed in an all-women a cappella group, salsa/bachata band, sang in different languages, including classic Tagalog. Even though I’m not fluent in classic Tagalog, Spanish, Italian, or French, I can connect and sing from that genuine place by bringing my own experience into the role, letting the authentic emotions come through the songs.


“I feel Reiki is an extension of my music because I feel music is healing. I was introduced to Reiki when I went in for my own healing session during a tough time in my life. It inspired me to search for a way to heal myself and others, particularly my grandmother who was very sick and must go through routine dialysis. Although there is indigenous Pilipino healing practice, I don’t really know why I was drawn to Reiki, a Japanese healing modality.


“I enjoy applying make-up on others to enhance their natural beauty. It stimulates a different creative part of my brain. I’m not built for an everyday 9-5 work routine. Being a free-lance make-up artist allows for more flexibility in my life.


“During my college choir trip to Cuba in 2008, a Cuban grabbed me, and all of sudden my body knew how to salsa! As if something from my past life turned on and until then I did not know I could dance. That’s how I was introduced to partner dancing. Then, a salsa friend introduced me to tango. For me, salsa is external energy and tango is contained energy. I find it amazing.  To connect with another person’s energy and beautifully move together as one by simply being in tuned with my partner, it’s pure magic.


“I am Pilipino in my very DNA. Being Filipino-American is simply a facet of my life I don’t even have to think about it. It just is. I am it. And I can never give up kare-kare and bagoong!

“It’s totally amazing, this difficult-to-explain non-verbal connection among Pilipinos. I’m blessed to have travelled many parts of the world. When I randomly meet  a fellow  Pilipino in the streets, on the subway, or wherever, there’s this warm connection between complete strangers. There’s this understanding, this knowing, that we come from the same place.”

Kodakan explores the many “faces” of the San Francisco Pilipino community, both past and present. But each individual also has many “faces” both literal and figurative. Along the atrium, we profile four individuals with complex and multi-layered public personas. Pictures and video stills for this panel were taken by Peggy Peralta.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: