Article by: Joaquin P.
Visual by: Catherine T.
Edited by: Joaquin M.
ISM is a melting pot of cultures from all over the world. Walking through the hallways, one can find many different identified homes and nationalities. Despite this seemingly irreconcilable diversity, one commonality is the fact that all Bearcats call the Philippines, land of the morning, suckling pig, and heavy traffic, their home.
This Friday, October 26, ISM will celebrate the annual Filipiniana, or PISTA sa ISM, which is a means of giving tribute to Filipino culture and traditions. In preparation for this anticipated event, the school’s Philippine Cultural Club (PCC) has been working long hours.
Every year, Filipiniana has a different theme, which is the central idea of the event. The theme for this year is Katutubo, a word referencing the native and indigenous peoples of the Philippines and their traditions. This year’s Filipiniana ceremony celebrates the resistance of indigenous Filipinos against colonial pressures– a heroic act that has maintained their cultures.
Certain events that have been staples of previous Filipinianas will continue this year as well. To celebrate Filipino cuisine, PCC has organized a ‘Barrio Fiesta’ in the courtyard– an event that has been very popular with students in the past.. Various vendors will serve local delicacies such as a “lechon” suckling pig and sweet fruit. Many community members will march in a colorful musical parade, with a few student ‘couples’ carrying the paraphernalia. Finally, the day will culminate with a whole-school assembly in the FAT sure to feature many traditional dances and performances representing the theme of the day. This integration of local culture is definitely something to watch out for, even for students not from the Philippines.
The school community is excited about the event, as always. “I’m looking forward to the final assembly,” Ms. Mould remarked. “The singing and dancing are very entertaining.”
For many, the event renews their ties with Filipino culture. “I grew up surrounded by the Filipino community in San Diego. I was able to point with my lips, a Filipino idiosyncrasy, before I got here,” Mr. Winters said. “I love the Filipino culture, especially their musicality. It’s so ingrained in the culture, so I look forward to seeing that.”
Even homegrown Filipinos praise Filipiniana for strengthening their attachment to their culture, something that can be hard to maintain in such a nationality-neutral school. “I think that ISM has tried to keep Filipinos connected to their culture. Many Filipinos [in ISM] typically become ‘Westernized’ and lose the values instilled on them when they were younger. Therefore, cultural promotion events such as Filipiniana have helped in establishing a stronger Filipino identity in students, as well as helped in spreading awareness on the Filipino culture.” sophomore Amelie D. explains. “With that said, I’m looking forward to the barrio fiesta!”
Filipino or not, Filipiniana is both a culturally significant event and a powerful binding force that brings the diverse groups of ISM together in united celebration of the one country that we call home– the Philippines.