Filipino Heritage Month: Honoring Respect and Grace


Avery Rosas

Filipino Heritage Month spans the entire month of October in the United States.

Avery Rosas, Sports Editor

Being situated in particularly diverse Southern California, Ayala is no stranger to the vast array of cultures dispersed throughout the student body. This passing October month represents the prominent Filipino community and their historical presence in the United States.

Prominent they are, Filipinos represent more than any Asian community in California. Topping the 1.4 million Chinese residents in California, the 1.5 million residents of Filipino descent accumulate the highest number of any state, and the third highest in terms of proportion to overall population. 

While the demographic might hold true statewide, representation may feel a little different on campus.

“I like to say that we are [represented] but at the same time, there’s obviously more things that could be improved,” said Gabby Torres (12), “But I’m very proud of our community, no matter who’s in it or what we do.”

Ayala’s Philippine United Student Organization Club (PUSO Club) has been a long-standing faction of the cultural diversity and representation at Ayala, as well as throughout the Chino Valley Unified School District.

Torres stated that every once and a while, the clubs of different schools will join together to enjoy their culture together. Through this, Francheska Fernando (11) said she believes there’s, “A lot of Filipino people I can easily relate to and get along with at Ayala.” 

Being proud and connected to a culture has specific and special elements that allow a person to revisit the most sincere and nostalgic places in their mind. For some, that cultural connection is through food.

“My mom’s sinigang is the best soup ever.” said Fernando, “It’s like a sour soup with tamarind sauce, tomatoes, pork, and all the good stuff.” 

It’s similar for Torres, who gave more detail into her visits to her mothers family that still resides in the Philippines, whom she used to visit every summer before the COVID-19 pandemic began. From longganisa and dilis in the morning to turon and polvoron for dessert, it always felt like home in a country 7,000 miles away from the one she resides in.

“I just think it just transports me back, because I had it all the time; you have it every single day and you don’t get tired of it,” Torres said.

Food is a language that crosses all barriers, but in between those of the same culture, it’s language that connects individuals. The immersion a language brings to a heritage allows for a deeper connection not only to one’s family, but to the entire media that surrounds one’s people.

“I’m exposed to the language not only there but also at home,” Torres said, “My parents speak it; I’m not fluent in it, I can carry casual conversation but I can’t fully [speak] it, but I can understand fluently.”

While respect is a large belief in many cultures, some show it better than others. This is true for Filipino culture where respect within a community, and especially within a household, hold a special importance in their lives.

“You show a sign of respect by taking [an elders] hand, and then you place it on your forehead,” said Torres, “And I think it’s something that’s really important because you learned at such a young age, you have that habit of just being able to be respectful, not only to people in your community, but to everyone [else] as well.”

For a still-developing country like the Philippines, it’s understandable to speculate that the people are not always  fortunate for the very little they possibly could have. However, the gratefulness shown by the Filipino people is a beautiful peculiarity that shows the true side of genuine people. 

“​​I think what makes it distinct is that whenever I visit my aunts and [other family in the Philippines], they are so grateful for the little things.” said Torres, “They may not be making as much money as if they were working here, but they will still give however much they can in order to show their love and appreciation.”