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Student News Site of Ruben S. Ayala High School

Bulldog Times

PUSO : Embracing the Filipino Spirit

+2023-2024+school+year+PUSO+members+gather+for+first+meeting+of+the+school+year.+%0AI+want+to+help+people+see+the+beauty+in+our+culture+while+also+giving+back+to+those+who+keep+it+alive+and+the+people+who+gave+us+that+culture+to+begin+with.+And+I+want+to+do+so+by+showing+our+culture+in+things+that+they+already+love+doing%2C+said+President+Janelle+Medina+%2811%29.+Showing+beauty+in+our+culture+through+dance%2C+food%2C+music%2C+or+whatever+it+may+be.+
Janelle Medina (11)
2023-2024 school year PUSO members gather for first meeting of the school year. “I want to help people see the beauty in our culture while also giving back to those who keep it alive and the people who gave us that culture to begin with. And I want to do so by showing our culture in things that they already love doing,” said President Janelle Medina (11). “Showing beauty in our culture through dance, food, music, or whatever it may be.”

Laughter, traditional music, and conversations flood a classroom, as president Janelle Medina (11) and her fellow officers begin the well known “singkil” of Philippine tradition. At this moment, Filipino students, along with their friends, gather around tables to spectate the performers of a classic dance within their culture. 

For years at a time, Asian culture had been an aspect of students’ lives they were afraid to embrace : stinky food, unusual habits, high standards… the list goes on. Ayala High School is one of numerous schools with students who vow to diminish this sense of insecurity for their culture(s), creating clubs that embrace and educate one on the beauty of their being. One of these clubs is called the Philippine Student Union Organization, otherwise known as “PUSO.”

PUSO is a school club that aims to spotlight the hidden treasures of Filipino culture to students around the campus. Starting during the 2021-2022 school year, its ultimate goal was to offer a safe space for students to connect with each other and bond over their cultural similarities. While overwhelming, the club quickly gained interest from Filipino students on campus, earning loads of signatures the moment it began.

“PUSO, even without being an official club, already had so much support behind it and that’s why I think it’s so important for us to have it — it shows how impactful our love for our culture is,” Medina said.

Throughout each meeting with PUSO, the officers strive to prompt a deeper understanding within Filipino students on campus, but have even touched the hearts of those yearning for the same embracement. Samantha Ramones (11), the Vice President of PUSO, anticipates gradual boosts in cultural confidence among those attending.

“Joining PUSO will help students on campus get a better understanding of Filipino culture since we will be sharing food, dances, music, and overall just the hospitality that one might receive in a Filipino family at our meetings,” Ramones said.

As love for the Philippine Union Student Organization blossomed, they have gotten the chance to branch out to other schools with similar culture clubs within events, such as “The Kaba Games.” During this event in 2022, Filipino students across the district gathered together, bringing popular dishes and homemade desserts; the love language of the Filipino culture. Particularly, Ayala High School’s very own Philippine Union Club united with our neighboring clubs invited by Rowland High, the host, offering competitions, social activities, and so much more. 

Despite the sudden stop to PUSO as club officers graduated after its 2022 peak, this year’s officers seek to rekindle the love they recognized in their time attending. Since then, students have gotten the opportunity to donate to fundraisers for financial support in the Philippines, get involved with major school events, and even help others reconnect to their roots with help from PUSO. Treasurer of PUSO, Ferdie Garce (11), looks forward to building strong relationships with members in our community.

“Something unique about this club compared to other Asian embracement clubs is that not only do members have the opportunity to connect with other Filipinos, all members regardless of background have the opportunity to learn about the rich Filipino culture,” Garce said. “Through music, art, and food, members of PUSO can enjoy themselves while learning about culture or simply reconnecting to their roots.”

As Bulldogs ease into the 2023-2024 school year, the Philippine Union Student Organization plans to initiate unique activities for their members, such as “tinikling,” a popular Filipino traditional dance originated from the country’s Spanish colonial era, and it is definitely a genius cultural bonding experience for students attending. 

“We hope to spotlight the Filipino traditional dances and food in our culture, as well as the most famous traditional dance that almost everyone knows, called tinikling. We hope to be able to perform that during this year’s spring rally to show everyone how beautiful and fun the culture is,” Garce said.

With anticipation continuing to build up for PUSO members as the school year continues, the Philippine Union Organization is absolutely one club to consider attending for a chance to dive deep into the beauty of the Filipino culture. 

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