Zeta Phi Rho celebrates Filipino American Heritage Month

In celebration of Filipino American Heritage Month, Cal State Long Beach fraternity Zeta Phi Rho gathered more than 140 students in the Psychology building Monday night to watch a short film about the Philippine-American war.

“[After watching the film,] I finally understand what my grandpa meant when he would tell me stories about the war and how hard it was living there during that time,” junior business major Ivana Kirstie said.

Zeta Phi Rho showed a movie called “Amigo,” starring popular Filipino actor Joel Torre as Rafael Dacanay. The film followed Dacanay as he was forced to decide between protecting his village as an American ally, or “amigo,” and siding with his brother who led the guerilla force during the three-year war

Asian-American studies professor Linda España-Maram co-hosted the event with the fraternity to help promote October as Filipino American Heritage Month

“The history of the Philippines gets lost in time,” España-Maram said. “The Philippine-American War [actually marked] the first Vietnam in terms of armed military conflicts in Asia.”

During intermission, students were served a traditional Filipino noodle dish called “pancit malabon.” The fraternity also raffled off Starbucks and Robeks gift cards to the attendees.

The event was full during its first half, but more attendees, as well as students from other colleges, arrived after the intermission.

“It was a good idea that Zeta Phi Rho chose this film to educate those who were unaware of the war in the 1900s. It’s a topic that’s not taught in school,” said Charlene De Guzman, a senior nursing major from West Coast University who came to support the fraternity.

At the end of the event, Jonathan Velasco, a senior Asian-American studies major, and event coordinator Jonathan Velasco said the event was a success.

“People were standing up — even after 20 minutes, people were trying to come in,” Velasco said. “Hopefully next time we can get a bigger grant to host the event on a larger scale providing more hospitality to the huge turnout.”

October was recognized by the California Department of Education as Filipino American Heritage Month in 2006.

“I thought it was … a good choice for PAHM to highlight the struggles and sacrifices our native people have had to go through to preserve our heritage,” junior film and electronic arts major Isabelle Fidel said.  “While I was watching, it made me wonder just what it took for me to actually get here, to be born here as a Pilipino American.”

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