Revival of Filipino Culture Club

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Revival of Filipino Culture Club

The diverse, enthusiastic members of Filipino Club participate in karaoke together.

The diverse, enthusiastic members of Filipino Club participate in karaoke together.

Jaymie Paredes

The diverse, enthusiastic members of Filipino Club participate in karaoke together.

Jaymie Paredes

Jaymie Paredes

The diverse, enthusiastic members of Filipino Club participate in karaoke together.

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When people hear “the Philippines,” the first thing that usually comes to mind is exotic food such as balut and adobo. However, Filipino culture is far more complex than its cuisine. It encompasses religious beliefs, holiday celebrations, and unique traditions.

Bronx Science has a large variety of culture clubs, all of which boast educational and entertaining meetings. Several years ago, Bronx Science had its very own Filipino Culture Club, which united the population of Filipino students at Bronx Science, opening the door to many opportunities. The club participated in many fun and meaningful activities like the Filipino Independence Day Parade and fundraising at the food fair. Unfortunately, due to the lack of Filipino students at Bronx Science, the club was eventually shut down.

However, the absence of Filipino representation at Bronx Science is precisely the reason why it is so important to have a Filipino Culture Club. Kate Velarde ’20 has recently revived the Filipino Culture Club. “I founded the current Filipino Culture Club mainly because I wished to unite the disjointed Filipino community within Bronx Science. Filipino culture is rather distinct from other Asian cultures, and didn’t exactly have a place to fit in,” said Velarde. The revival of this club will allow students to connect with their Filipino heritage and fully embrace their culture in an institution that is sparsely populated with Filipinos.

“I founded the current Filipino Culture Club mainly because I wished to unite the disjointed Filipino community within Bronx Science. Filipino culture is rather distinct from other Asian cultures, and didn’t exactly have a place to fit in.”

The Filipino Culture Club has already begun to attract members, though each of them has their own reasons for joining. Reese Villazor ’21, a new member to the club, shares her reasoning behind joining the club. “I want to be in a place where I can explore my identity as a Filipina. When I was younger, I would be one of the few Filipinos, and my identity wasn’t something that was ever covered in class or acknowledged at school,” Villazor said. “Now that there’s a club here, I want to see what a Filipino community at school is like.” Aidan Domondon ’21 also joined to get more in touch with his culture. “Going to a private elementary and middle school that was predominantly white, I often found it hard to fit in, being made fun of for what I ate at lunch, or for how my family and I looked, which led to me suppressing my heritage,” said Domondon. “I was often reluctant to tell people my race, but in the past years I have spent at Bronx Science, I found myself surrounded by people who are loud and proud of their heritage. I learned that I was no longer in an environment where I had to hide.” The club will give its members a much needed chance to explore their Filipino identities.

Many share the misconception that one has to be Filipino to join, but this is certainly not the case. In fact, people of other cultures are encouraged to join for the sake of learning something new. “Our main goal is to actively learn more about Filipino culture and have fun with everyone, whether they are Filipino or not,” said Velarde. Culture clubs are centered around the idea of fully accepting one’s heritage. Naturally, such clubs would be inclusive and accepting of different cultures.

There are many activities for members to look forward to, for Filipino and non-Filipino students alike;Velarde has many exciting aspirations for the club this school year. “We’re looking to participate in more events and collaborate with other clubs. We’re planning on crafting parols (Christmas star lanterns) and perhaps even having showcases of traditional Filipino dances,” she said.

For the many Filipino students who felt as if they did not have a place to belong, the Filipino Culture Club is a dream come true. This club will serve as a small piece of the Philippines, right here in our own Bronx Science community.