Entering a new school with unfamiliar faces and a wider community would be frightening for some, but it is perfectly normal to enter the game feeling clueless and lost. Good thing, various universities have Filipino-Chinese organizations that can give you a sense of familiarity and belonging amidst these beginning uncertainties. Not only would they be there to help you transition from your Chinese high school to your college life, but they would also serve as a home whenever you need a supportive community. Additionally, there would be no need to worry about forgoing the usual occasions you celebrate in high school because these organizations also hold events that celebrate these affairs like the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Chinese New Year Celebration. With that said, let me introduce to you these student-led Filipino-Chinese organizations from different universities that seek to form families through their various initiatives and programs.
UP CHINESE STUDENT ASSOCIATION
First is the UP Chinese Student Association, also known as UPCSA. It was founded way back on July 23rd of 1963. According to Maximillian Wade R. Lim, the president of UPCSA, the organization was “founded by a group of students who saw the need for a Filipino-Chinese organization that would pave the way for interaction and cultural exchange within the University of the Philippines Diliman. Since then, UPCSA has grown not only as a cultural organization, but also as a socio-civic and academic one. The association has helped members find their identity, bringing together students of different backgrounds, [and] forging a deep sense of unity within its members; all forming a tight-knit community who share in their respect and interest for Filipino-Chinese culture.”
Aside from the annual Mid-Autumn Dice Game and Chinese New Year Celebration, this organization also holds events such as the Freshie Tour, Alternative Classroom Learning Experience, Playlist, and even a Milk Tea Fair. When asked what makes UPCSA different from other Chinese organizations, Lim said “We are truly the minority within the university. Most of us had come from different Filipino-Chinese schools, where being of Chinese descent was the norm. Now that we are part of one of the largest university communities in the Philippines, our Filipino-Chinese heritage has kept our members more close-knit than ever. It doesn’t mean we are closing our doors to the University; in fact, it has made us more inclusive by sharing our unique heritage with the rest of the university and the community.”
Another Chinese organization based in Katipunan is the Ateneo Celadon. It was founded on June 11, 1985, and since then, it envisions a Filipino-Chinese community that is integrated into the greater Philippine society by sharing and enriching the Filipino-Chinese culture. For Christopher Go, the incoming president of the organization, this means that it is about “having a familial community with one another and genuinely enjoying each other’s talents and company.” Thus, even if Ateneo will be holding its first semester online for the next school year, Go assures that “[they] will still provide both exciting and fulfilling experiences for [their] members to have the full Celadon experience despite the pandemic. [They] will be trying to hold online activities that will engage [their] members in the spirit of friendliness Celadon has always had.”
One of the projects that makes Ateneo Celadon stand out is the Binondo Amazing Race, an event where participants get the chance to immerse themselves in the daily life of a Filipino-Chinese in Binondo while also undergoing exciting activities. Aside from these, Ateneo Celadon has leadership programs that aim to incorporate the Filipino-Chinese culture present in the Philippines and the many ways in which the members can use this while developing their own sense of leadership. These programs include the Cultural Awareness and Leadership Lab, the Junior Manager Program, and the Leadership Development Program.
UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS – SCARLET CENTRAL
Among the 5 organizations listed here, University of Santo Tomas – Scarlet Central is the oldest as it was established in 1961. Initially, the founders of this organization came from the College of Science and the Faculty of Arts and Letters; however, as time progressed, they have extended to five units, namely, UST Scarlet Science, UST Scarlet Architecture, UST Scarlet Pharmacy, UST Scarlet Accountancy, and UST Scarlet Commerce with a totality of 1,114 members, said Hazel Noble, the Vice President for Communications.
With their wide array of members, the organization hosts various activities for them to grow and interact. Such events are the Crazy Chinoy Thomasians, the organization’s general assembly; and the Mandarin Class 学习, an initiative to further enrich the members’ Mandarin writing and speaking.
Up next, we have Englicom, the Filipino-Chinese socio-civic organization in De La Salle University – Manila (DLSU). Englicom was founded in 1964, and “with over 50 years of excellence, [the organization] is established with a vision of promoting cultural harmony and social awareness among Filipino and Chinoy students. Open to everyone in the university, Englicom dedicates its efforts in long-term development and nation building through organizing social, cultural, and socio-civic events. In line with this, Englicom serves as an avenue for its members to develop into future leaders and legends.” said Kendrick Ong, the organization’s Externals Vice President.
With over 750 members this school year, the organization takes pride in its various initiatives such as their “Little Stars Daycare Program”, which aims to donate food and materials to children; and “Transcend: Surpassing Limits”, which brings together some of the business industry’s up and coming names for an engaging talk. Finally, what makes this organization even more unique are their initiatives that provide financial aid to students from other universities by giving them scholarships.
Lastly, we have a newly founded Chinese organization established only this year, the UA&P Ascend. “It started out when the interest of having a Filipino-Chinese organization was [brought upon] by the Chinoy students [of the university]”, said Sara Tubal, the organization’s internals vice president. Tubal added that “[they] wanted to make it a better version of the old organization which carried the same vision of bringing the Filipino-Chinese community together but [making] it more inclusive to Filipinos as well.”
Their current flagship project is the 2 Life Fundraiser where they aim to help the frontline workers of Philippine Children’s Medical Center through donating personal protective equipment. Aside from that, they are also developing a series of awareness talks and projects to be held online which focuses on Filipino-Chinese culture.
With the variety of projects and events that these organizations offer, building another family within your new university becomes much easier to do. How about you─ are you excited to join one of these Filipino-Chinese organizations next school year?