Festivities kick off Filipino American History Month

Participants enjoyed food, live music and more

Caricature artist begins to draw a member of the Filipino American History Month kickoff event. People line up besides them to get their caricature next, on Oct 6.

For Filipino American History Month (FAHM), students and faculty gathered on Oct. 6 in the GE quad. FAHM is celebrating its 50th year of Filipino studies in the United States and 30 years since the month was recognized by the federal government.

“I’m really excited about all of our different celebrations, and Filipino History Month is just one of them. They’re educational programs, but also they help the work that we do to foster a sense of belonging.” said SJCC President Rowena Tomaneng.

Tomaneng is the first Filipino woman to serve as president in the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District since 2020.

“They make me feel good and appreciated,” said Jodi Carr, who has recently began supporting SJCC events and who worked a digital photo booth and drew caricatures at this event. While Carr is new to helping the school, they are no stranger to the campus as a former Jaguar and regularly take art and science classes.

Carr said she was “ignorant” of Filipino heritage, she also mentioned that when coming to events such as these you get to talk to people and hear their stories of origin and how they came to America, whether that’s if they were originally from the Philippines or have family such as grandparents from the islands; people such as Mar Abat.

“I want to get back to my roots” said Abat.

Once Abat immigrated to the U.S. when she was just seven years old Abat felt as if she was pushed away from being a Filipino. Moving at such a young age she felt as if she wasn’t able to bring a lot of their culture with them. Now that she is older she wants to embrace their culture and give back to their ancestors for everything that they’ve done just so she could be here today.

“I’m all about community, I believe that’s where it should start,” said Abat.

Abat and Philip Quijano, a local musician who played at the event, were both very excited about the community and its recent growth.

“I love how we’re shifting our perspective to celebrating these cultures instead of, you know, just keeping them out of the limelight like how we used to, we’re being celebrated and encouraged to be ourselves instead of hiding it.” said Quijano.

The festivities had a plethora of activities during the event having a spread of cultural food, zodiac sign guessing/ merch table, and live music.

“I mean, I wish the folks that are reading the paper could smell [the food], the music, the sights, it’s a lot,” said Wendy Ho. “It’s time to celebrate dates and honor the rich tapestry that we have.”

“I was extremely stoked to perform for the Filipino American History Month, because what else can I say? except it’s my culture, and I love how it’s being celebrated, how the people are and how it’s become a part of our American culture.” said Quijano. “I’m just here to create great music for my community, for my fans, for my friends and family,” said Quijano.

Filipino Heritage isn’t just a day but an entire month. Allowing LEAD Filipino and other neighboring organizations to set up multiple events.

Abat is in LEAD Filipino, a small non profit organization based in San Jose holding the title/responsibilities of a project coordinator. Right now they have a series for our FAHM that they are coordinating with other Filipino organizations in San Jose. Including events such as a flag raising happening next Friday on Oct. 14th, A Big Fan Jam Festival which “is like a knife market with vendors, artist, and art galleries,” which will take place on Oct. 21 and lastly a poetry open night on Oct. 28th.