By Krista Cummins, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (NNS) -- During Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Pacific Acquisition Program Analyst Tracy Flores credits her Filipino heritage to shaping the person she is today.
Flores is of full Filipino descent and both parents were born and raised in the Philippines. They instilled in her many values from the Filipino culture that helped shape her work ethic and everyday life. Through her parents' experiences, she learned about the challenges and rewards of hard work at an early age.
"Both of my parents' families came from very humble beginnings, but I discovered that this is where our rich legacy of having a spirit of excellence, hard work and integrity was built," said Flores. "My parents continued to emphasize to my sister and I to never stop learning and preached that education is a privilege."
Flores graduated from Waipahu High School and later attended S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Public Relations. She is currently attending U.S. Naval War College, College of Distance Education, Fleet Seminar; and also serves as the vice president of Young Government Leaders, Honolulu chapter, which is a non-profit organization that strives to educate, inspire and transform current and future leaders of the Government.
"Drawing from my experiences of visiting the Philippines has taught me to stay humble and to appreciate everything I have. I am proud to say that my Filipino culture has influenced every aspect of my life as a wife, mom, professional and as a person overall."
Flores can converse with her grandmother in Tagalog, which has given her the opportunity to learn more about the Filipino culture and her family's rich history. She now places great importance on making sure she passes on these same values and traditions to her sons as they also learn to speak the Tagalog language.
Flores' favorite family tradition during Christmas is celebrating with Simbang Gabi (night mass) followed by a Noche Buena (good night) feast. Every holiday season, the Flores home is adorned with a parol, which is a star-shaped Christmas lantern from the Philippines. She says this traditional Filipino decoration is an expression of the shared faith, hope and triumph of light over darkness because of the birth of Christ.
On her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, going to the beach, hiking, singing karaoke and traveling.