Filipino club offers insight to their culture

The Pilipinos for Education Art Culture and Empowerment (P.E.A.C.E.) Club held an open house at the Student Union building on Sept. 9, 2012. Students introduced themselves, exchanged summer vacation stories, and shared their City College experiences with one another during the open house. Photo by Shane Menez/The Guardsman
By Ivan Huang
The Guardsman
Clap! Stomp! Clap! were the sounds heard coming from the Student Union at Ocean campus as the members of P.E.A.C.E. warmed up with a traditional Filipino ritual called “Isang Bagsak.”The ritual involves clapping and stomping at the same pace.The student club held an open house on Sept. 7 in the upper lounge of the Student Union.Armando Borjal, who has been a member of the club since 2003, said that the club and open house are meant to educate people so they know what Filipino culture is all about.

“The reason why we’re having an open house is to have some members join P.E.A.C.E.,” Borjal said.

P.E.A.C.E., which stands for Pilipinos for Education, Art, Culture, and Empowerment, is a club primarily consisting of Filipino-Americans who attend City College.

It’s focused on Filipino culture and community, as well as volunteering for events hosted by club members.

The club was founded in 1998 when three Filipino students held discussions for an Asian American Studies course. The discussions later extended into serious talks about the Filipino community.

“We have connections with the FCC, which is the Filipino Community Center in the Excelsior, and we usually plan events with them or they have events that they let us know about,” President Kirsten Santiago said.

Some past events include “Shirt the kids”, a collaboration with an apparel designer to donate shirts to kids in the Philippines, as well as food related events.

The club plans on holding a basketball tournament as one of its events and is also planning fundraisers for the near future.

The open house included newcomers and returning members of P.E.A.C.E. who talked about how their semesters were going so far.

“What we usually do is introduce ourselves and say how our week went, have an ice breaker, and then we start checking back at events that P.E.A.C.E. was involved in the previous week, or even upcoming events,” Borjal said.

The members of P.E.A.C.E. displayed a lot of chemistry with each other while participating in introductory activities.

“My favorite part of this club is the community, everyone’s friendly, and very welcoming, everyone always treats each other like they’ve known each other a while, even when they’re new,” Santiago said.

Their open-mindedness has to do with the way Filipinos are raised.

“Our culture is very attached and family oriented. Once you become part of it, you don’t have to go through some initiation or something like that, in order to be part of it,” Alain Yu, events assistant, said. “We’re not a frat, we’re a family. We don’t do hazing. We may joke around but only as if we’re brothers and sisters.”

“You don’t have to be Filipino to be part of this club,” Yu said. He has been a member of P.E.A.C.E. for two semesters.

P.E.A.C.E. holds their general meetings from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Fridays at the Student Union in Conference Room 208 on Ocean campus.

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