Get Global

Written by Newcastle University’s Filipino Society (Ncl FilSoc):

Newcastle University’s Filipino Society (Ncl FilSoc) is a cultural society representing the Philippines. We were first established in 2019 as a small group of people wishing to share the beauty of the Filipino culture with other Newcastle and Northumbria students. Now our community and FilSoc family are continuously growing with a mixture of students from various background and departments.

(First Taster Session, 18/19)

FilSoc embraces the diversity from non-Filipino to Philippine-born students aiming to learn and interact with one another. We hold social events such as potluck, games, movie nights, trips etc. to relax and de-stress away from uni-work. During the COVID pandemic, our transfer to online activities has encouraged our members and challenged our committee to keep the community spirit as we meet new people, create friendships and network through multiple digital platforms. We offer other educational events by introducing the culture, art, history or language for members to gain a further understanding about the Philippines.

 

(Food and Games Night, October 2019)

Aiming to enhance and expose our Filipino culture here at Newcastle we have conducted society collaborations, charity/fundraising events, university collaborations within the UK and directly towards the Philippines. We ensure that FilSoc will be a memorable and unique experience that our members across Newcastle University will remember in their whole ‘uni experience. Expect much more in the further years to come!

 

The Committees

Ncl FilSoc works closely with Northumbria University’s Filipino Society to create one big Filipino student community. Our collaborations allow our members to expand their circles and meet students outside their course and school.

(2018/19 Committee Members: Alex, Mezyel, Winn and Allison)

This year’s committee consists of Mezyel Gudaca as president of Ncl FilSoc (2020-2021) currently studying Biology, Lyle Dotingco as vice-president currently studying Computer Science, Lancelot Aguilar as treasurer studying Computer Science as well, Julia Justiniano as secretary currently studying Marketing and Management and Anne Badenhop as social secretary currently studying Philosophy. We meet regularly together with Northumbria’s Filipino Society committee to come up with engaging events to build on the growing community.

 

Events in the past

Since being established in 2018, Ncl FilSoc has held many social events to learn about the culture of the Philippines. In 2018 we held a boodle fight to celebrate the end of the year. Boodle fights consist of a large meal that is shared by a large group of people, with the food placed on a large table lined with banana leaves. Everyone eats together without cutlery and plates and is a great way to bond with the people you’re around – an apt way to celebrate our culture!

(‘Boodle Fight’, June 2019)

On top of social events such as these, we also take it back to our roots. We have a lot of non-Filipino’s within our society and we host Tagalog 101 events to introduce others to the language with simple words and phrases. During these events, we also present some of our iconic celebrations and in doing so we spread the word of our culture, and ensure every aspect of our identity is being recognised and appreciated.

 

An online society

As Newcastle went into tier 3 during the first term, we became an online society.

(Online Student Exchange event with University of St. La Salle, Philippines, December 2020)

In semester 1, our online activities attracted many members and non-members from Newcastle and Northumbria University. For example, for Halloween, we all dressed up and used Zoom! The committee planned a costume competition, scavenger hunt, a game of skribbl.io and an even more intense game of mafia. Everyone was engaged, running around their houses/accommodation, laughing with and at each other, and even though it was online, people made so much effort with their costumes! It was so much fun and helped changed some of our stressful perspectives of Zoom for a night!

Another example was having an online cultural and university experience exchange with the University of St. La Salle in the Philippines. It was highly informative and has given the society a meaningful understanding of the student experience in the Philippines, as most of us have grown up in the UK. We discussed mental health, study culture, and lifestyle. It was so eye-opening and was a valuable experience that involved learning and making new friends on the other side of the world.

 

Fundraising

As Ncl FilSoc transitioned into an online society, we wanted to continue our legacy of sharing our Filipino heritage and forming a community revolving around cultural and social exchange despite these unprecedented times and bring about greater cohesion.

One of the ways we sought to do this was through a society driven fundraising event that would help those affected by the recent Typhoon Goni in the Philippines in 2020. Helping to fund recovery and relief efforts through the Philippines Red Cross, as well as raise awareness of the situation.

By hosting the FilSoc Kitchen event, we were able to interweave member participation directly into the fundraising event by incentivising first place and donating all participation fees directly into the charity fund. The event would help raise further awareness but also make donating into a fun, small competition.

More importantly however, was the independent action taken by our members. From sharing our posts to donating to the charity fund themselves. Together as a society and its members, we were able to raise £600. Although we had not set a goal, the amount raised went beyond our expectations and can be attributed to both the activeness of our members and the planning skills of the committee.

Overall, the fundraising event was one of, if not the, most successful event held by FilSoc and we hope to be able to continue to host such events of similar scale and/or purpose in the future.

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