Article by Melissa Dy

Photo by Liah Gomez

The much-anticipated Filipiniana is just around the corner and there is certainly more to be excited about than just shortened classes. First sown into the ISM tradition in the 1960s, Filipiniana or “Pista sa ISM” is “a celebration of the Philippine culture patterned towards the traditional Barrio Fiesta”, as said by Mr. Candido, the Philippine Culture Club director. Although it is a day to celebrate the Philippines, our host country, students are also invited to wear their own country’s national costume to diversify the celebration.

As always, Filipiniana will feature the marching band, a parade of colorful native clothes, and a cultural show. The program will showcase beautiful Philippine dances and music by our resident student dancers, singers and musicians. Students will also have plenty of time to sample the huge variety of Filipino food — everything from Bibingka to Boy Bawang.

The theme of this year’s Filipiniana is “Fiesta” to reflect the fun and vibrant side of Philippine culture. But the purpose of this event at our international school transcends merely showcasing Philippine culture. Filipiniana has come to represent the coalescence of Filipino heritage with that of each individual student’s, and it is this amalgamation of the two that makes up the fierce and indomitable Bearcat spirit.

To embody this spirit is truly gratifying. Karen Tokeshi, who has been living in the Philippines for twelve years, says that whenever she comes back to the Philippines after a holiday, she feels like she is coming back home. The Philippines is a part of her — she loves adobo, exclaims “Ay nako!” when exasperated, and has adopted the Filipino characteristics of cheerfulness and hospitality. She loves traveling around the country, seeing the different islands, and gaining a more complete picture of the diverse, multi-faceted Philippine culture. She says, “I experience something new, and that’s really nice because I get to learn more about the country I’m living in”.

Bearcat Anne Safran also cites the Filipino culture as a major influence on her life. Other than having come to enjoy consuming Filipino food and using Filipino slang, she has also adopted the qualities of the Filipino people. Anne says that she treats others respectfully and politely because of the way society here has treated her.

Matilda Makkonen, who has just recently started living in the Philippines, loves the Philippine culture for its colorfulness and joyousness, in addition to its abundance of singing and dancing. She is looking forward to Filipiniana, and is excited to learn more about her resident country.

By inviting Filipino and non-Filipino students alike to partake in this one-of-a-kind experience, Filipiniana exemplifies the Filipinos’ characteristic hospitality. For Mr. Candido, Filipiniana is “a day of celebration about our uniqueness as a nation [that] will help non-Filipinos have a glimpse of how Filipinos enjoy life”. So whether you identify as Filipino, something else or something in between, we can all take the time during Filipiniana to appreciate the local culture and its influence on our lives. Filipiniana truly shows that it is more fun in the Philippines.

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