Filipino Club: An Immersive Cultural Experience

By Andrea Espino, Staff Writer

Filipino Club is one of Niles West’s cultural organizations that works to create an open space for all students to learn about Filipino culture, immerse themselves in traditional dances and games, and be able to meet new people and enjoy the welcoming atmosphere.
Traditionally, Filipino Club focuses on getting ready for International Night at Niles West. The club would choose one or two dances to practice, usually a modern dance and a traditional one. The traditional dance is usually Tinikling. Filipino Club is known for its Tinikling performance at International Night, featuring amazing dancers and traditional bamboo sticks. Last year, their performance at International night was one of their biggest accomplishments collectively as a club. Everyone who watched and participated in it enjoyed it greatly.
The members are bummed that they will not be able to perform at International Night this year. It’s something that they all look forward to participating in and giving an enjoyable performance to all students, teachers, and family. Given the current circumstances with the pandemic, they have come up with other entertaining activities to do during their time.
“We have done a number of Game Nights. Google Map Field Trips, a variety of Language/Dialect lessons, and introduced Historical Presentations on subjects such as Supernatural Phenomenons/Superstitions and Filipino Traditions! We look to our club members’ input on future activities, and try to find new activities every week,” senior co-president Bea Francine Cronologia said.
This year, Filipino Club has a total of around 15-20 members that attend the Zoom club meetings and are each enjoying the time that they have together, even if it’s through a screen! During remote learning, the club has been discussing and learning about different aspects of Filipino culture. For example, they have learned different dialogues in Tagalog and superstitions found in the Philippines. They also play games during the club like Among Us. Moving online, they’ve unfortunately been informed that they cannot have potlucks or dance tutorials, so they’ve learned to adapt and take on new ideas.
Filipino Club’s main goal for this year is to have an open place for any and all students to enjoy learning about Filipino culture, make friends, and relax from the stresses of online school.
“This year, we want to provide a spot for students to connect and meet outside of school. Since they aren’t able to do their dances, they are devoting even more time to learning about Filipino culture,” sponsor Mr. Sean DeFelice said.
For senior Sean Emmanuel Atienza, who moved from the Philippines to Niles West, the club has met its goal of creating an open space for students to come and feel included.
“I decided to join Filipino Club because I thought it would make it easier for me to adjust to my new school environment when I had just moved from the Philippines. Also, being a part of this club helped me meet my friends at West, and it gives me a sense of belonging in our school community,” Atienza said.
As the semester wraps up, Filipino club is excited for the holiday season and invites you to come and join them for their final meeting, where they will be hosting a virtual cooking lesson, making Turon or Banana Lumpia!
Filipino club meets every Monday from 3-4 pm, so if you’re interested in learning about Filipino culture, make sure to stop by and let the sponsor [email protected] know!