“There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”
— Audre Lorde
Gabes (she/they) was born in Quezon City and raised in the province of Laguna in the Philippines. While she lived most of her formative years in the archipelago islands, she experienced a great deal of geographical movement and cultural and linguistic changes for the majority of her lifetime.
She identifies as a cisgendered woman of color, pansexual, currently non-disabled, educated and Neurotypical, a Third Culture Kid, and a first generation Filipinx islander with English as her second language. Gabes is presently based as a settler on Occupied Duwamish Territory—widely known as Seattle, Washington.
Gabes is a descendant of the Aeta Indigenous tribes of the Luzon and Mindanao islands, and comes from an ancestral lineage of nomadic seers, teachers, revolutionaries, healers, leaders, musicians, and theologians.
Gabes is a teacher, singer-songwriter, researcher, psychotherapist, and speaker (See speaking engagement list below). Her life’s work is to demonstrate how there’s nothing “post-” about post-colonialism. She studies and teaches how oppression continues to dominate and manifest in our systems, society, inter- + intrapersonal relationships, imaginations, and human psyché.
While Gabes is passionate about exposing and dismantling systems and cultures of white supremacy and racism, she also aims to create and sustain contexts, strategies, and practices of freedom, growth, and collective healing for the racially disenfranchised. With her story and training, she intends to fervently organize and offer services and care to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and refugee + non-refugee migrant/immigrant communities of color.
Her work is inspired and carried through by the influences of esteemed educators, authors, and practitioners such as Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, Dr. Leny Mendoza Strobel, Dr. Linda Tuhiwai Smith, bell hooks, Dr. Jennifer Mullan, Renee Linklater, Zadie Smith, Paulo Freire, Ibram X. Kendi, Dr. Melba Maggay, Dr. Joy DeGruy, E.J.R. David, Peter Levine, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Miroslav Volf, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Homi K. Bhabha, and so forth.
Gabes completed a Bachelor’s in Historical Theology & Philosophy at a theological school based in Chicago, Illinois because of her fascination in the birth and growth of the Western church and missionary movements with their irreversible influence on the Philippines’ history of Christian hegemony and colonization. She completed a Master’s in Theology and Culture at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, focusing on colonialism and how its effects violate the virtue and practice of hospitality. She recently completed her second Master’s in Counseling Psychology, focusing her clinical practice and research on racial trauma and decolonizing mental health.
She now works as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate (LMCHA) at a growing counseling organization that works directly with shelters for survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. Gabes’ particular therapeutic approach pays attention to:
- racial identity and development
- racial, migration, and post-colonial trauma
- politicized somatics
- ancestral trauma and healing
- sexual abuse and trauma
- attachment theory in multicultural contexts
- spiritual abuse
- Filipina/x/o colonized mentality
- internalized oppression
- narrative-based treatment
Gabes also writes poetry and music, and occasionally performs her repertoire at live events. She independently produced 3 albums of original music, and her first one was launched when she was 17. She has toured in Southeast Asia, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle.
Previous Speaking Engagements
Pivot NW Live Podcast Recording
February 13, 2020, Quest Church, Seattle, WA.
Presentation Title: “Xenophobia & the Church: Decolonizing the ‘Stranger'”February 21-23, 2020, The Westin and David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh, PA.
Bare Witness : On vulnerability & becoming
November 9, 2019, at Cedar & Spokes Coffee and Bar, Seattle, WA
Confronting Reality: Toward a De-Colonial Spirituality
November 18, 2019 at Coastland Commons, Northminster Presbyterian Church
7706 25th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98117
WIDEN, 2019 (Private Retreat) with Fr. Richard Rohr, Kaitlin Curtice, and Mirabai Starr : “Decolonization as a spiritual practice”
August 23-26, 2019, Santa Fe, NM
Formidable & Loved ii: Identity & Belonging
August 17, 2019, at Cedar & Spokes Coffee and Bar, Seattle, WA
Formidable & Loved: The Story of a Migrant
June 21, 2019, at The Ravenna Collaboratory (5751 33rd Ave NE), Seattle, WA
Endings + New Beginnings, A Gathering for Thinkers & Creators
Presentation Title: “Decolonization through Spirituality & Creativity”
May 26, 2019, Seattle, WA
For Women Who Roar, Launch Party
April 18, 2019, at Cathedral (5449 Ballard Ave NW), Seattle, WA
Jubilee Conference, Presentation Title: “Decolonization & Hospitality: God’s gift of welcome as an antidote to colonialism”
February 22-24, 2019, The Westin and David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh, PA.
Undoing: Decolonizing our Bodies & Sexuality with Annie Mesaros, MDiv & Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers
March 2, 2019, Cedar & Spokes Coffee and Bar, Seattle, WA
Womxnhood in Pre-Colonial Philippines
Filipina on the Rise
Healing the Impact of Colonialism
Speaking of Racism
The Arise Podcast
Race & the Enneagram (Panel discussion)
The Art of Growth Podcast
International Enneagram Association Global Conference, Oakland CA
July 26-29, 2019
Decolonizing Our Relationships
God Help Us Podcast with Annie Mesaros, MDiv
Photography by Laurel Yae of Nour Images