October is Filipino American History Month

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Photo by Sarah Kuhns

October is Filipino American history month

Filipino American History Month is celebrated in October, a chance to share Filipino culture.

October represents Filipino American History Month and marks the first recorded presence of Filipinos in the United States from the Philippines in 1587. Currently, more than four million Filipino people live in the United States, making this culture the second-largest Asian American group in the country.

In order to introduce Filipino culture further into American society, some groups and organizations are integrating Filipino cultures into society. One of these organizations is Meat on the Street, which is a Filipino food truck and catering service.

Alexa Alfero, co-founder and owner of the business, believes that one of the best ways to get people familiar with other cultures is through food. Before she decided to open this business, she viewed Filipino culture as being underrepresented in American society, which she still sees as a problem.

“Introducing Filipino food was very difficult during our startup. Being a foodie was not a thing, and people were hesitant from trying our food,” Alfero said.

Even though she faced challenges during their startup, Alfero said she didn’t let these setbacks hurt the business. With a lack of Filipino food options in Milwaukee, Alfero continued to promote the food and encourage people to try new things.

“It’s important to share our culture so people understand who Filipino people are and what they embody,” Alfero said. “This is a month to celebrate our heritage and culture, and the best way Meat on the Street can do that is through food.”

Calvin Carlos, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, believes that Marquette is a place he feels accepted through its multicultural community, which allows for him to meet people with similar backgrounds to him, as well as different ones.

“This is something that some colleges can’t offer,” Carlos said. “When befriending other people who understand my culture and can relate to me on how I grew up, it makes Marquette really feel like home.”

Carlos, like many other Filipino students on campus, views October as a month to commemorate some of his favorite parts about the Filipino culture and spread them to others.

“Some of my favorite parts of the Filipino culture are food, boxing and basketball,” Carlos said. “This month gives me a chance to share this and feel like I’m in the spotlight for a change.”

Stephanie Villaceran, a senior in the College of Nursing and president of the Bayanihan Student Organization for the 2021-22 academic year.

“Bayanihan Student Organization is a cultural organization on campus that aims to promote, educate and celebrate the Filipinx culture within Marquette University and the Milwaukee community,” Villaceran said.

Within the school year, BSO hosts two main events for students in and out of the club to explore Filipino culture.

In the month of October, BSO plans to host a retreat for the members to celebrate Filipino American History Month. The goal of the retreat is to allow students to build deeper connections with one another while also learning more about the Filipino culture. They also have a Halloween social planned for the end of the month, where students wear costumes and play games throughout the night.

Other events throughout the year include a fashion and cultural show.

The first is the fashion show, and this year marks the 25th anniversary of the show itself. The proceeds of this event go to a charity chosen by the fashion show coordinators.

The second event BSO hosts is a cultural show. The annual cultural show showcases the Filipinix culture through traditional dances, acting and modern dances which are organized by the Cultural Show Coordinators.

Villaceran is hopeful for the future of BSO and has set more goals to educate the Marquette campus about Filipino culture.

“Goals and aspirations I have for BSO in the future are that we can continue to cultivate an atmosphere where people are comfortable to be who they are,” Villaceran said.

This story was written by Phoebe Goebel. She can be reached at phoebe.goebel@marquette.edu