Article by: Juliana Ching
Illustration by: Sung Hee Bae
As usual, this year’s Filipiniana was a success. Participating in the customary parade, tasting delicious local food, and watching traditional dances, the ISM community celebrated Filipino culture with a unique Bearcat twist. But embracing Filipino culture does not stop there, as it is part of everyday ISM life.
One of the most obvious examples of incorporating Filipino culture into ISM is the 11th grade study of Ilustrado, a novel written by Filipino author Miguel Syjuco, set in modern-day Manila. Andrea Thompson, an IB English Literature teacher, says that Ilustrado “provides a pretty shocking commentary… It allows students to really take a look at the world they live in, whether they’re Filipino or not.”
Filipino culture is also present in the music played by Orchestra and Concert Strings classes. Music classes learn the Filipino national anthem as well as folk songs such as “Ka Tika Tika.” Furthermore, although history classes do not discuss Filipino culture specifically, the Filipino fight for independence from colonization is incorporated into the curriculum.
But why continue learning about the Philippines? Why not just leave it all to Filipiniana?
ISM history teacher Dale Hutchison states, “I think it’s always helpful [when] students have a good, strong understanding of the culture that they live and work in. [Everyone at ISM] should understand quite a bit about the Philippines: its culture, its history, its current events and issues. Otherwise, they’re operating in ignorance.”
With such interesting customs, who wouldn’t want Filipino culture integrated into our curriculum? Combined with the international context only ISM can offer, Bearcats are lucky to receive the best of both worlds.