The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

PSA, LSA host cultural crossover event

Annie Yang
Philippine Student Association (PSA) host a collaborative event with the Latino Student Association (LSA) to explore their intertwined cultures with sweet golden Pandesal bread rolls.

The Philippine Student Association and Latino Student Association shared various aspects of their cultures at the Cultural Exploration event on Thursday at 7 p.m. Each organization was invited to learn about each other’s similarities while savoring pandesal — a classic Filipino bread.

A room in Lincoln Hall hosted both groups; attendees conversed and laughter could be heard before the event began.      

The event was hosted by co-chairs of PSA Awareness and the co-enrichment coordinator of LSA. Officials of each organization took part in educating the participants about the similarities of each community.

A presentation was shown, which showcased aspects between both cultures; it covered religion, family values, cuisine, language and superstitions. 

The audience burst into laughter when the presenters explained the different meanings of “puto” in Latino and Filipino cultures. In Spanish, it’s a curse word, but it’s a steamed rice cake in Filipino culture.

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Another unique similarity that intrigued onlookers was each culture’s superstition of the “evil eye.” In Hispanic culture, it is known as “mal de ojo,” through which a person can get unlucky if someone looks at them with envy. “Usog,” in Filipino culture, is the belief that a child can become sick or discomfited when greeted by a stranger or when they receive an evil eye hex.

The pandesal — which was handmade by the PSA co-chairs — was the highlight of the event. Many people lined up to enjoy the sweet-flavored bread roll that claims both Spanish and Filipino origins.

Eillen Danielle Nigos, co-chair of PSA Awareness, explained this collaborative event with LSA began in 2021 and has become an ongoing tradition since.

“It was really fitting to do this in the month of October, especially in the first two weeks, because we’re overlapping with Hispanic Heritage Month,” Nigos said. 

The month of October is recognized as Filipino History Month, while simultaneously considered to be Hispanic Heritage Month. 

Joshua Garcia, co-enrichment coordinator in LSA, said he saw this event as a moment of empowerment.

“I think any opportunity we have to empower, not only our minority community, but also others on-campus is an opportunity we want to explore,” Garcia said.

Nigos explained PSA’s mission as spreading awareness and sharing Filipino culture, not just with Filipinos, but also with everyone else.

Yamileth Cortez, president of LSA explained the organization looks to share their programming with other groups on campus as well.

“We really like collaborating with other cultural associations because it allows us to explore and see, ‘oh, we have these similarities,’” Cortez said.

Cortez elaborated how comfort zones could limit the potential to share perspectives between groups.

“We tend to migrate towards people that are similar to us,” Cortez said. “So why not migrate towards Filipinos or anyone? There’s other people on this campus that are just like us.”

When exploring the similarities between both cultures, Nigos said it made her realize that, while she still strongly identifies as Filipino, she began to acknowledge the existence of Hispanic influence in her culture. 

“Our cultures have a lot of similarities and differences,” Nigos said. “Mainly because we have a history with Hispanic colonizers.”

Despite this, she believed that a lot of the things she appreciates and identifies with would not have been possible without Spanish influence, such as the food and the Tagalog language. 

“With our Cultural Exploration event, I hope that people recognize and appreciate our origins and how our origins helped us to become who we are today,” Nigos explained. “But we also had our own part in doing it.”


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