Tatak Pinoy: An Overview of PISTA 2021

Written by: Sophie

Edited by: Sara

Visual by: Mischka

PISTA sa ISM is an annual event organized by the Philippine Cultural Club (PCC) celebrating the culture of the Philippines, our host country. Patterned after the traditional Barrio Fiesta, a celebration that allows families and friends to gather for Filipino festivities, PISTA took place on Friday, December 10. This year’s theme was Tatak Pinoy, which translates to “Mark of the Filipino.” According to Kendra, president of PCC, this theme was chosen to “showcase locally grown Filipino foods and goods, especially during the difficult times of the pandemic – we can still celebrate how much our host country has to offer.”

This annual event is the “one day of the school year where everyone gets to celebrate Filipino culture.” Kendra further adds that “other than PISTA, we don’t really have any other events that focus on tradition and Filipino values.” PCC’s Vice President, Miguel, says that “ As an international school with students and faculty of various nationalities, PISTA allows us to come together and show appreciation for our host country.” Due to the impact PISTA has on the community, PCC wanted to continue this annual event.

As this is the second year Filipinana has gone virtual due to the pandemic, PCC planned similar but more improved events. These included a Jeopardy game during advisory where students could answer trivia questions about the Philippines. An assembly with performing arts groups made up the second half of the program, with the ISM orchestra playing “Ordr-E”, a Madukayan Folk Song. Explore Dance, performing a dance to “Dahil Sa’yo” By Inigo Pascual. Advanced Dance, performing a dance to “Marupok” By KZ Tandigan and “No Touch” By the Juan dela Cruz band. The Show Choir singing “Tilibum,” a Tagalog folk song arranged by Fabian Obispo Jr.. The Jazz Band playing “Buwan” By Juan Carlos. And finally, Dance co. performing a dance to “Laking Pilipinas.” Another great event was the extensive raffle held, which contained a great number of local Filipino prizes. Prizes included bags, clothing, and accessories from brands like Aranaz, Rags2Riches and Fino leatherware. “Since this is our second year doing a virtual PISTA,  we wanted our raffle prizes to be bigger and of more quantity, as we also wanted to emphasize our collaboration with these local Filipino brands in relation to our theme,” says Kendra. “These raffles allow for a more interactive aspect that we miss out on because of COVID, as we would usually have our in-person parade and in-person assembly.” Through the events held in this year’s PISTA, the ISM community got to have a taste of Filipino culture, whether it was through music, dance, food, or trivia.

Although PISTA was virtually held, the planning was still very extensive. Kendra says that “ hosting PISTA online was equally as difficult as it would be in-person due to online order logistics. We’ve had to figure out how to track recipients’ orders, so that food, raffle prizes and merchandise gets received in time for the PISTA assembly. However, compared to our experience from last year, these logistical issues were much more improved.” However, Kendra also notes that “due to the orientation week and hybrid announcements pausing our Filipinana assembly, it was harder to get the word out about PISTA orders and raffle tickets. However, with help from administration and the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) we were able to receive more orders than last year even with the decreased ISM population.” The increase in orders displays the desire among the ISM community to celebrate their host country, as well as allows the community to support local communities, as all proceeds go to ISM service partners. 

As Filipinana comes to a close, Freshman Maddie from the United States says, “This was my first virtual Filipinana, and I thought it was very organised and allowed me to appreciate the culture of the country I live in, even during the pandemic.” Although PISTA is the celebration of the robust culture of the Philippines, it is evident that as an International community, anyone can appreciate Filipino culture, despite where they’re from.  

Celebrating the local brands of the Philippines is a vital part of its unique culture. With this year’s raffle prizes being from local brands, it allows the ISM community to admire the well-crafted prizes and support Filipino workers, especially during the pandemic. Through this year’s PISTA theme “Tatak Pinoy,” the ISM community was able to come together to celebrate our resilient host country of the Philippines. We are excited to see what PISTA 2022 has to offer!