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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Students celebrate Filipino-American culture and identity

By Joshua DeJong

Northwest residents and Western students celebrated the social, political, educational and cultural values of Filipino-Americans at Western’s Performing Arts Center Saturday Jan. 28.

North West Filipino-American Student Alliance hosted PerSPECtive, a Pilipino Culture Night to celebrate culture and Filipino pride.

Junior Sarah Anderson, design major, said Pilipino Culture Night gives those who identify as Filipino-Americans a platform to express themselves through different mediums.  

“As an audience member, you get to experience everyone’s stories within that label of Filipino-American.” 

Junior Sarah Anderson

Filipino-Americans from across the Pacific Northwest brought to the event stories of culture, spoken word poetry, music and dance.

TJ Sawyer, a business administration major at Seattle Pacific University, performed spoken word poetry, drawing on his life experiences to highlight his struggles of not fitting into just one culture.

Sawyer, a Korean-American, said he found it difficult to adapt and assimilate to Korean culture. He said he faces challenges with being in America, but not being seen as just American.

“Not everyone can sing, not everyone can drum, not everyone can dance, but everyone has a voice, and even people who can speak have an identity,” Sawyer said. “I encourage people to do [spoken word], it’s a great form of expression.

Jhus Custodio, a finance major from Portland State University, sang a song called “I’m in love with adobo too.”

“I played the song ‘Shape of you’ by Ed Sheeran, but I changed the lyrics to fit the context of a comedic struggle of Filipino and Filipino-Americans,” Custodio said.

The comedic song is about how Filipinos might meet someone they like, but there will always be an internal struggle between their love for this person and their love for a traditional Pilipino dish called adobo.

The song was the “C” or cultural aspect of the “PerSPECtive” event, Custodio said. He represented this by combining American music culture and Pilipino food culture. By singing about adobo, he said he knew that Filipinos would instantly get it.

Richiel Sta. Maria, a student at University of Washington Bothell said that Pilipino Culture Night was “lit.”
“It was nice having everyone together talking about our Pilipino identity,” Sta. Maria said. “Connecting with some people, even without having a conversation, they were on stage and you could just vibe with them.”

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