Written by: Sofia
Edited by: Erich
Visuals by: Zoe
Christmas is fast approaching, evident with Christmas songs being played in malls, Christmas trees being propped up, and the festive spirit emanating from many Filipinos. Synonymous with the holiday season is the celebration of Filipiniana in ISM, which will be hosted on December 9th as the first on-campus celebration of the event since the pandemic.
Filipiniana, also known as PISTA sa ISM, is an annual school event hosted by the Philippine Cultural Club (PCC) which celebrates Filipino culture and pride through numerous festivities. To start off these festivities, there will be a Pista Parade with the Quezon City Marching Band in which students, parading glorious traditional Filipino national costumes, will be marching with a partner along the perimeters of ISM. Then there would be Barrio Fiesta, an activity in which students will do activities related to Filipino culture. Lastly, to end it off, a whole school assembly will be hosted: the perfect icing on top of the cake. The details? You’ll just have to wait for the day itself; after all, we can’t have too many spoilers.
This year’s Filipiniana theme is ‘Halakhakan’, which translates to ‘simultaneous loud laughing’ in Tagalog. The theme is quite apt for this year’s PISTA since it represents the thrill and happiness of having Filipiniana back on-campus after two years. Along with that, having an in-person PISTA again enables students to fully interact with Filipino culture in an immersive manner, raising awareness and cultivating Filipino culture through celebration within an international student body. With that, Filipiniana is a unifying event because despite all the different cultures present in the school, the one thread between everyone is the Filipino culture of our host country.
PCC’s preparation for Pista goes way back before the event itself. Julia, PCC’s treasurer, explains that “preparing for Pista is a lot of work! The PCC council is responsible for making sure that literally everything runs smoothly on the day of Filipiniana.” She notes that since Filipiniana is the primary event in ISM dedicated to representing and celebrating Filipino culture, they aim to make it even bigger and better with each coming year. In order to commit to such a goal, they need to coordinate with individuals such as vendors, sponsors, and the Parent Community Association (PCA) to ensure that Filipiniana runs smoothly. Additionally, there are also PCC honorary members who ensure that all shirts are sold and help in the organization and logistics that are needed in Filipiniana. All of this shows that Filipiniana is an event that truly requires meticulous planning and hard work—very in line with the Filipino spirit!
PCC’s honorary members are the unrecognized backbone of PISTA, as they work to ensure that the student body remains engaged with the events’ festivities. They take part in the selling of the customized merch—specially designed shirts that align with the Halakhakan theme, chocolates, and tote bags—working to promote it amongst friends and family. Maddigan (9), a PCC honorary member, explains that “as an honorary member, I prepared for Filipiniana by pre-ordering my Pista shirt and asking my friends to buy the shirt, chocolate bars, and tote bags!” She remarks that “the experience has been exciting because Filipiniana is known to be a big event in ISM, especially through the help of the parents, donations, sponsorships, and PCC.” Without the hard work of honorary members in promoting Filipiniana, the event wouldn’t nearly be as successful as it is in ISM.
Since PCC is one of the largest organizations in ISM, PCC’s actions expand beyond spreading our host country’s culture in the school; it also includes helping the local community in achieving their dreams, mainly through acts of service. The PISTA merch, sponsors, and donations comprise a significant part of the event because funds raised from these go to the school’s student-led initiatives, including the Vicky SyCip Herrera Scholarship Foundation, SPECS Foundation, and Promoting Rural Education in the Philippines (PREP), amongst others. It goes to show that the Filipino spirit is indeed aligned with the spirit of service, and that spirit is being fostered throughout Filipiniana.
Whether the Philippines is your home or your host country, this event is a wonderful opportunity to pay homage to the culture of the country in which ISM stands on: the Philippine culture of many Bearcats, staff members, and other Filipinos in your life. Let us remember that Filipino culture is not only based on traditional cultural traits such as jeepneys or Jollibee, but on how tight-knit the community is. So make sure to take this chance to participate and be part of the halakhakan in this year’s Filipiniana. Maligayang pasko sa inyong lahat!!