Toledo community members and students from all over the Midwest gathered together this past Saturday
to celebrate Filipino culture through food, music and dance.
More than 200 people attended the University of Toledo Filipino American Association’s Philippine Culture Night Oct. 21 at 5 p.m. in the Student Union Auditorium.
Aileen Mendoza, a second-year communication major and vice president external of UTFAA, said the evening showcased what it means to be Filipino.
“From the amazing food to the amazingly choreographed traditional dances from different areas in the Philippines, it is an honor to share our culture to not only Filipino-Americans but non-Filipinos as well that came to support us,” Mendoza said.
She said students from the University of Illinois Chicago, University of Michigan, Purdue University, Indiana University, Northern Illinois University, Wayne State University and Michigan State University came to participate in the event.
Grace Garcia, a second-year biology major and secretary of UTFAA, said these schools got involved because UTFAA is part of an umbrella organization called the Midwest Association of Filipino Americans.
“It consists of other organizations from other schools,” Garcia said. “We try to support each other by performing and attending their events. This is one example.”
Garcia performed different dances throughout the night including Tinikling, a dance with bamboo sticks, Sayaw Sa Bangko, a courting dance and Maglalatik, a mock-war dance symbolizing the historical fight for coconuts between the Muslims and Christians.
“There are multiple cultures represented because Filipino culture and history comes from interaction with other communities,” Garcia said. “Filipinos are primarily Christian faith based due to Spanish colonization, hence the coconut dance history.”
Ralph Palad, UTFAA president and a fourth-year electrical engineering student, said this event gave students a chance to participate in learning something about the Philippines that they may not have known before.
“It's also a good way to network with our members and potentially join our organization,” Palad added. “We accept anyone as you do not need to be Filipino to join.”
Garcia said this is one of her favorite events as she not only performed and showcased her culture, but this event is where UTFAA and the outside community really come together.
“There is a tangible feeling of family that Filipino culture prides itself in cultivating. It's an exciting night, and it makes me proud to be Filipino,” Garcia said.
The Philippine Culture Night may be over, but the celebration of Filipino American heritage is not. FAA will be hosting a language workshop Oct. 25 and a general body meeting Oct. 26, as they continue to celebrate Filipino American Heritage