Article by: Mia Kawazu, 12
Photo by: Charlene Mamaril, 12
ISM is an amalgamation of eclectic cultures, a plethora of backgrounds from which students and teachers alike originate. But, beyond the various flags with which we identify and passports we own, we all know but one thing to be true: a special part of our hearts belongs to the Philippines. Amidst all of our differences, there is one similarity that weaves us together, and that is the country in which we live, with all its heavy traffic and exotically flavored ice-cream.
To celebrate the culture of the quirky archipelago, ISM annually holds Filipiniana, an event revering the local food, dances and music, all wrapped up by a traditional parade. This year, Filipiniana will be held on October 25th, a long-awaited signal to the October break. In preparation for this anticipated event, the school’s Philippine Cultural Club (PCC) has been working day and night.
The theme this year is Bayanihan, a reference to a local Filipino tradition. In the old days, when Filipinos wished to move houses, they would ask the whole barangay (town) to help out. Together with the assistance of each member of the community, they would carry their nipa huts to the new location. According to PCC Public Relations Officer Almira Silva, this was “a symbol for unity”. Indeed, the theme encapsulates what the Philippines is all about: family.
Some exciting new developments can be expected this year as well. For the first time, PCC has announced that they will be having a service partner, the Philippine Community Foundation, to which 50% of proceeds of the shirt sales will be donated. This enhanced sense of helping out the local community has become a central focus for Filipiniana this year in line with the theme of Bayanihan. Almira Silva shares that 100 pesos will be donated to PCF under the name of “anyone who signs up to march” in the annual parade, an activity designed to promote Philippine culture. Furthermore, PCC President Nacho Tambunting shares, “We [will] also have a Mr. and Ms. Filipiniana award, which is new this year”. Undoubtedly, it is clear that the PCC members have been giving 100% of their effort to making this the best it can be. “We put a lot of effort into decorations, t-shirts designs, not to mention the Barrio Fiesta,” Nacho Tambunting notes.
There is definitely something to look forward to this year for Filipiniana. While the appetizing food from the Barrio Fiesta, beautiful costumes of those marching in the parade and amazing Filipino dance performances are sure to impress, arguably the thing to watch out for is the integration of service into this celebration of local culture. According to Nacho, “PISTA gives the ISM community the opportunity to get to know their host country and appreciate its unique culture. PCC’s goal is to get international students to see and love the Philippines the way we do.”
Perhaps it is safe to say that we are all Filipinos in our own right. Whether we are eating halo-halo or enjoying a kwento session with our friends, we have fragments of the 7,107 islands in all of us. Indeed, Filipiniana will be the day when we unleash our inner Filipino, believe in the community which we live in and love, and remember that this family is worth marching for.