Fil-Am youth immersed in Pinoy culture at UP alumni summer camp

DALY CITY, Calif. – In an effort to reconnect Filipino children and youth to their Filipino roots, the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of San Francisco held its third annual Filipino Cultural Immersion summer camp.

During the two-week program, young Fil-Ams learned more about the Filipino language, history, music, food and culture.

“It is vital that they connect to their cultural roots,” said Letty Quizon. “We’re giving them that knowledge framework and from there we hope once their engaged they may be able to help the Philippines as well as our community here.”

Many of the participants were born and raised in the U.S. and have never been to the Philippines. Organizers say the camp is a for them to learn about their heritage while having fun.

“I learned Tagalog words,” said Layla Alabado. “I learned Filipino history and Filipino songs.”

“I didn’t know what my heritage was about and I knew very little — just the food,” said Nicholas Fernandez.

“The best thing about camp was [learning] mostly about the history that was happening in the Philippines like Jose Rizal, Lapu-Lapu, and many more of our heroes,” said Jaden Fernandez.

“Filipinos are awesome,” exclaimed Hailey Oakes. “All the people in the past who were Filipino did great things to help the Philippines.”

The camp also taught the kids what it means to be a leader through stories and teachings from elected officials and achievers in the community.

“I really enjoyed the guest speakers,” said camper Mia Alabado. “I guess that was the best part is listening to what they have to say and describing their jobs and all that.”

Parents and organizers say that while the camp was only two-weeks, it was rewarding to see that the children learned so much.

“It’s kind of cute to hear them speak the dialect and the national Philippine language,” said parent Laila Muyco. “Yes, I feel so proud as a parent.”

“It’s when I listen to them and they talk to us in Tagalog and talk about their culture with more confidence and more proud in them,” said Quizon. “To me that means that we would have achieved our goal of instilling that pride in being a Filipino.”

For more information about future camps and programs you can visit the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of San Francisco at www.upaa-sf.org.

You can contact Rommel Conclara at rommel_conclara@abs-cbn.com and follow him on Twitter @rommelconclara for more information.

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