Filipinos showcase their culture

    As part of its effort to boost awareness and appreciation of Filipino culture, Kaibigang-Pilipino (“”Filipino Friend””) hosted its annual dance, fashion show and musical presentation in the Price Center on March 8.

    Tyler Huff
    Guardian

    “”We’re hoping to catch a couple people’s attention,”” said Jay Perez, vice president external for KP.

    Mari Dar, cultural coordinator for the over 100 members of KP, said, “”It’s a good opportunity to boost awareness of our culture; Filipinos are doing something [positive] on campus.””

    Price Center patrons paid particular attention to the “”bahog”” — an extended loincloth worn by men in the mountainous regions of the Philippines. Students also watched the dance performance that featured three partially filled glasses balanced on the head and each hand of a Filipino woman.

    Tyler Huff
    Guardian

    Students could also view musical instruments from the islands and could purchase authentic Filipino food on Library Walk as ways of partaking in the cultural celebration.

    While the Price Center was busy with patrons during the celebration, most notably a long line for Jack Johnson concert tickets, it did not bother the program’s coordinators that most people who weren’t involved in the event didn’t respond with great enthusiasm.

    Organizers believe the day’s events would be worth their effort if just one or two people decided to investigate Filipino culture after their exposure to the awareness day, Perez said.

    Student responses to the celebration were as diverse as the geography of the Philippine archipelago.

    “”I would like to be involved — to share what others have to offer,”” said Jessica Pizarro, a Filipino freshman at Warren.

    Others were less impressed by the celebration

    “”It’s interesting [but] I don’t feel it has anything to do with my personal culture,”” said Michelle Kalisher, a half-Filipino sophomore at Muir. “”I would be interested if it was any culture.””

    The coordinators carefully designed the presentations to, as Perez said, “”do the university’s job — teaching people about Filipino culture and the importance of it.””

    Besides all the build-up for Filipino Awareness Day, the event provided an opportunity to peer into the lives of minorities on campus. When asked what it was like being a Filipino on campus, students responded quite differently.

    “”I feel good about being a Filipino at UCSD,”” said Darwin Castillo, a Marshall sophomore, “”because there aren’t many Filipinos here.””

    The Philippines have been under the control of other nations for the last few centuries with the result that different regions have developed divergently. Thus, Filipino culture reflects its indigenous Asian roots, the colonial Spanish influence, and now a broader American impact.

    Recently, attention has been drawn to the Philippines following the abduction of Christian missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham and the subsequent U.S. military campaign to free them from their Muslims captors. Despite the growing Muslim population in the Philippines, Catholicism and animism remain strong religious forces in Filipino culture.

    This means that groups such as KP represent a diversity of cultural niches at UCSD; that they aim to be “”a space to create and teach about Filipino culture to UCSD,”” according to Perez.

    Filipinos comprise the third- largest minority group in San Diego County and UCSD, according to the 2000 Census and at university sources, respectively.

    The San Diego and North County region has the second-largest population of Filipinos in the world, and KP cites this as a major reason they are trying to raise student alertness to the Filipino presence on campus and in the community.

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