Valentina Du Pond
Opinion Copy Editor
After a year-long discontinuation, the Samahan Filipino Club on campus has been reestablished by new officers this semester to continue representing the Filipino culture. Last school year, the Samahan club officers were not able to register the club officially at the ASB.
“To be perfectly honest, my officers missed the [club submission] deadline [last year]. It was very traumatic. We’ve been one of the oldest clubs on campus, it was totally embarrassing. So this year, it was a high priority to be reinstated,” club advisor and Filipino language teacher Edwin Lim said.
Despite not being officially registered, there remained a group of students on campus who met unofficially as the Samahan club.
“There technically was still a group and people joined, it was just not official,” senior and current Samahan co-president Kimmy Diez said.
Samahan is now being officially registered and had their first meeting on Sep. 7 in room 201. This year Lim and the new officers made it a priority to reestablish Samahan as an official club on campus. The new officers were students in Lim’s Filipino Language class, and were chosen by Lim after having volunteered to fill the leadership positions.
“I [chose] one of my students, [Diez], to be the president. She’s awesome, a go-getter,” Lim said. “I tried to make it a student club. It’s their club, so I want them to set the agenda, their goals, and aspirations. My job is to be a gentle coach [and to] make them be accountable. I picked officers who will have a backbone and will conduct the meetings once a month.”
Co-president and senior Tonie Gabrielle Zaballa elaborates on how there are many Filipinos at BVH, but being in another country can cause traditions to be lost.
“That’s what the club is all about, talking about our tradition and our culture, and I thought this would be a good way to spread that [idea] to other people,” Zaballa said. “My culture is a part of me and that also makes me and other Filipinos unique from others. We all have different cultures and different ways of expressing ourselves.”
As a new administration, the officers already have many plans on what they want to accomplish within Samahan this year. For example, Diez and Zaballa want to emphasize efficient organization of the club.
“I heard about the club before in previous years, and I wanted to be part of it, but I sometimes thought that it would be disorganized or [that] people wouldn’t take it seriously,” Zaballa said. “I want it to be something that’s actually taken seriously, where people will actually learn about the culture.”
Lim also hopes the club will result in more interest in the Filipino culture.
“One of our goals for Samahan is to make people interested in the Filipino class. There’s only enough interest for one class, but I love that class so much. So I need to teach one class, one period, four levels. I’m committed to this so much. I’ve been doing it for nearly six years,” said Lim.
The club is also meant to educate members on what they want to learn about the Filipino culture.
“I want to fulfill other people’s interests in the club, and what they want to learn and what they want us to contribute to them. I’m basically saying that we the officers, should be in service to the people who are joining the club. Because that’s what the club is to me, its educational,” Zaballa said.
By having Samahan on campus, Filipinos can join and form a community together. For example, they can discuss anything pertaining to their culture as advocates.
“[The club is] for advocacy. There’s no other group or advocates for Filipinos and our issues if Samahan doesn’t do it. I think it’s because of this advocacy, we had the Filipino class 17-20 years ago,” Lim said.
Despite being the Filipino club, Samahan club is not exclusive to Filipino students. In fact, “Samahan” means togetherness. It is a club meant to teach members about the Filipino culture and anyone can join if they are interested.
“I think people should join this club so that they’re more aware of the diverse community that Bonita has here,” Diez said. “Even if you’re not Filipino, you can still join too. Everyone should join.”