Keep up to date with what’s happening with the Asian American community on UCLA campus.

Friday, October 28, marked UCLA’s annual Pilipinx American History Month (PAHM) Festival.  The festival highlighted the different Pilipino organizations found on campus; celebrated the past and present; and featured traditional cuisine, demonstrations of dance and martial arts, and even trap music from a DJ.  

Despite the amount of activities offered at the PAHM Festival, it became glaringly obvious that its true strength lied within its community.  While the event aimed to increase visibility for the clubs involved, organizers emphasized inclusion of everyone in the UCLA community, not just Pilipino students.  As a result, participants of the PAHM festival were able to explore Pilipino culture and history without inhibition, learning the national dance of the Philippines and Pilipino martial arts, while experiencing performances from groups such as Tinig Choral and Samahang Modern.  Without further ado, here are snippets from some of the people behind the PAHM festival.  


Noodle Bagaporo, the current president of Samahang Pilipino

Noodle (Natalie) Bagaporo, President of Samahang Pilipino:

“This is the PAHM festival, which we have every fall quarter.  This one is special because we finally got it in Bruin Plaza.  We really wanted to get visibility for our culture so we had the food out here, the dances and performances, and the clubs out here.  The clubs are part of the Mabuhay Collective, which is the overall collective of Pilipino clubs at UCLA, so we had them table so that the Pilipino community at UCLA can see the resources we have for them, and for everyone else, just get an opportunity to learn about our culture and experiences.”

“Being Pilipino American, to me, has been a journey, a lot of questions, self-discovery, self-creation.  The thing about Pilipinos are that we are such a diverse group of people due to our history with colonization and new generational conflicts that being Pilipino or Pilipino American can’t be defined by a couple of sentences, and to me, being Pilipino American means being a part of a beautiful and diverse community, it means representing the struggles of your answers and paving the path for future generations.  It means celebrating the great food, dances, and artwork.  Being Pilipino American means being different, and when it comes to being Samahang, Pilipino American, I just have the most love for it.  It comes from the heart, it’s word vomit, I know, but it comes from the heart.”


Pictured from left to right: Jonathan Alcantara, Andrew Sam, Michael Estabillo, and Czarina Anglo.
Pictured from left to right: Jonathan Alcantara, Andrew Sam, Michael Estabillo, and Czarina Anglo.

Andrew Sam, Samahang Pilipino and Pilipino Transfer Student Partnership:

“So SPCN is a cultural night we play in Royce Hall every May.  It’s like a play – no, a musical, that showcases the cultural dances.  It’s an original story, an original concept, and in between all the scenes is the cultural dances.  And the musical aspect tries to tell a story about the issues the Pilipino community faces.”

Jonathan Alcantara, Samahang Pilipino and Pilipino Transfer Student Partnership:

“Also, we’re trying to make Cultural Attire Wednesday happen.  Wear your cultural attire….  every Wednesday!”


Members of Samahang Pilipino demonstrate the national dance, tinikling.
Members of Samahang Pilipino demonstrate the national dance, tinikling.
As the crowd grew bigger, more people joined in and learned to dance.
As the crowd grew bigger, more people joined in and learned to dance.
Austin Devera, dance troupe co-coordinator for Samahang Pilipino.
Austin Devera, dance troupe co-coordinator for Samahang Pilipino.

Austin Devera, Dance Troupe Co-Coordinator for Samahang Pilipino:

“This dance is called tinikling.  It’s one of the most well-known dances of the Philippines.  It’s considered the national dance of the Philippines.   The dancers mimic the movements of the tinikling birds.  As they move, they mimic the movements of the tinikling birds trying to escape from the bamboo traps the farmers set for them.”


Kappa Psi Epsilon tabling at the PAHM festival.
Kappa Psi Epsilon tabling at the PAHM festival.

Ashley Basco, Social Chair for Kappa Psi Epsilon:

“So right now we are doing a Baybayin workshop, which is the ancient Pilipino writing system.  The Spaniards tried to completely eradicate it, but it still lives on, and it’s a part of the visibility we are bringing to it, and to the Pilipino community, as well.”


Pictured from left to right: Enrico Cortez practicing a choreographed fight scene with his partner, Michael Estabillo.
Pictured from left to right: Enrico Cortez practicing a choreographed fight scene with his partner, Michael Estabillo.

Michael Estabillo, Samahang Pilipino, Pilipino Transfer Student Partnership:

“Pilipino Transfer Student Partnership, or PTSP, is a club which helped me, a Bay Area transfer, to be more confident as a transfer. They are a welcoming group of people that helped ease the transition to becoming a UCLA student and helped foster my growth as not only a student, but as a Pilipino transfer. They actively advocated for transfer issues and provided the academic and social resources for transfers like me to feel accepted. Last year, PTSP accepted me with open arms and became that nourishing community that I didn’t expect for myself to find in UCLA.”


Therese Nicole Diñoso, who organized this year's PAHM festival.
Therese Nicole Diñoso, who organized this year’s PAHM festival.

Therese Nicole Diñoso, Cultural Coordinator for Samahang Pilipino:

“For Samahang Pilipino’s upcoming events, this quarter we have the Justice for Filipino-American Veterans March, where we work with Pilipino organizations to march in protest for Pilipino veterans who fought in World War II but never got equal benefits and rights as other veterans.  We are also working on a Historic Filipinotown exposure trip to take students to Los Angeles and understand the historical and cultural context of Pilipino history in Los Angeles itself, as it houses the largest Pilipino mural in the U.S.”


Special thanks to Samahang Pilipino, Pilipino Transfer Student Partnership, and Kappa Psi Epsilon for their contributions, as well as Michael Estabillo and Jonathan Alcantara for their efforts in connecting the author to these contributors.



In celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, UCLA Residential Life held their second annual “Color Outside the Lines” panel on May 26. Hosted by Faculty in Residence Dr. Robert Teranishi, the event was held “to discuss the fact that AAPIs are a relevant group to issues of race relations, campus climate, and how we think about student services and academic support at UCLA and higher education in general,” according to the Facebook event page.

The event began with opening remarks from Vice Chancellor Jerry Kang, who discussed the effects of the “model minority” myth and hate crimes against the AAPI community before turning the mic over to Dolly Nguyen, one of the authors of “The Racialized Experiences of Asian American and Pacific Islander Students,” a study done by the National Commission on AAPI  Research in Education (CARE) on the campus climate at UCLA.

In the study, various aspects of student experiences were covered, from students’ feelings of satisfaction with their academic experience to rates of participation in advocacy and performance groups. From looking into these experiences, one major finding is that the experiences of AAPI students parallel those of their Black and Latinx peers, which debunks the misconception that AAPI students “do not share the experiences of other racial minorities or in more extreme instances, are considered ‘honorary’ Whites.”

It is important to note that the data collected was disaggregated, which helps to recognize and shed light on the different and specific experiences and needs of each of the AAPI subgroups on campus. Nguyen finishes her presentation on the findings by proposing three main recommendations. Firstly, form cross-racial and cross-ethnic ties to “mitigate the persistent marginalization students of color experience on campus.” Secondly, use the disaggregated data to show the larger campus community the diverse experiences and unique challenges that each group faces. And lastly, offer financial and symbolic support to student organizations who serve underrepresented and underserved populations.

With the conclusion of the presentation, the panel itself began. This year’s panel featured speakers with different backgrounds and unique experiences, including Vice Chancellor Janina Montero, UCLA alumnus Justin Tan, and Jazz Kiang and Veronica Zamani, two students who are very involved in student activism on campus.

The first question was directed towards Montero and asked about her thoughts on the report. She confirmed that the findings of the research were right on point with what she has seen on campus during her time as the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. The experiences that she has heard of, including the sense of isolation within certain student groups, were quantified in the report, she elaborated. Montero stressed the importance of disaggregated reporting in order to recognize differences and address the needs of each group on campus.

The following question was for the two student leaders and asked how the findings resonate with the two individuals and how the data can be utilized. Jazz Kiang, a fourth-year Asian American studies major and the chairperson of the Campus Retention Committee, responded that the study put in writing things that have been known. There is a long history of student activism on this campus that has gotten the AAPI community to where it is now. For example, he explained how generations of students have fought to pass the diversity requirement, which passed just last year after three decades of activism.

The passing of the diversity requirement and the findings of the study are just small steps in opening up the conversation about the campus racial climate at UCLA. From here, Kiang proposed looking through an intersectional lens in relation to ethnicity, race, and class. He stressed the importance of protecting services that help students graduate from college, especially students from low-income backgrounds.

Veronica Zamani, a graduating political science major and the president of the Pacific Islands’ Student Association (PISA), expanded on Kiang’s ideas by mentioning the increasing visibility of the Pacific Islander community on the UCLA campus. This year, PISA held its second annual culture night and was also contacted to perform at many other events. Zamani pointed out that the PI population has grown to 0.2% of the campus from 0.001% just a few years ago, and she hopes to see an increasing trend in the following years.

The final question was for Justin Tan, a UCLA alumnus from the class of 2010 and a video producer at Buzzfeed. He was asked to elaborate on how diversity and the study are relevant off campus, specifically to his line of work in entertainment and media. He began by emphasizing the importance of representation, pointing out how there are so few Asian Americans on screen, and that these select few become responsible for representing Asian Americans.

Tan proposed that a possible solution for the disproportionately low number of Asian Americans in mainstream media is to normalize the casting of Asian Americans for main roles, not seeing race as relevant to the casting process. He elaborated that television shows like Dr. Ken and Fresh Off the Boat are just tiny steps, and that there is still a ways to go for the Asian American community in mainstream media.

The “Color Outside the Lines” program brought up very important points about AAPI issues on and off the UCLA campus. Through the pivotal findings of the study and the efforts of student activists, this “conversation” can be brought to the attention of the larger campus community, bringing recognition to the unique experiences and needs of the AAPI community.

It is undeniable that Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities have played key roles in shaping the institutions, cultures, and histories of the United States. Today, AAPI communities comprise a significant portion of the United States, growing in prominence and power. However, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders still face multiple forms of misunderstandings, misrepresentations, and discrimination which attempt to stifle collective voices and erase self-determined histories. In a tense political climate where the importance of race and ethnicity are continually denied, we must remind ourselves that contentious figures such as Alexandra Wallace, Pete Hoekstra, and the perpetrators of Danny Chen’s suicide occurred only within the last two years alongside the rise of inspirational figures such as Jeremy Lin.

It is in these multi-faceted experiences of being Asian American and Pacific Islander today that we invite you to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) during May. We call upon our community to reflect upon and engage in what it means to (Re)Claim our AAPI identities alongside our multiple intersecting identities. Throughout May, we invite you to join the Asian Pacific Coalition at UCLA in partnership with our member organizations and the Office of Residential Life to our events to remember and reflect upon our homes, heritage, and histories, both in the United States and elsewhere.

To kick off our month, Office of Residential Life and Asian Pacific Coalition will be hosting Dinner with 12 AAPI Strangers on May 1st in Covel Grand Horizon Room from 6P – 8P. This event is an opportunity to break bread with community leaders and alumni while dialoguing about the state of our communities.

RSVP NOW! Spots are limited!:

For the full list of events, check out the attached images or our website at

The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik at UCLA!

The Regents Scholar Society Presents
MAYIM BIALIK: UCLA alumna, actress, and author.
May 2nd, 7:30pm, Rolfe 1200

In addition to starring and garnering laughs on “The Big Bang Theory” as neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler, Bialik also holds a PhD from our very own UCLA. After becoming famous with her role in the popular TV series “Blossom” in the 1990s, Bialik attended UCLA and earned her bachelor’s degree and PhD in neuroscience. She also recently published a book on parenting titled “Beyond the Sling”. Bialik will be sharing her valuable personal insights on achieving academic and career success and the evening will also feature an interactive audience Q&A session. All UCLA students, community members, and Big Bang enthusiasts are welcome to attend, the event is FREE!

Contact [email protected] if you have any questions!

This month is Pilipino American History Month, and to celebrate it, Samahang Pilipino is hosting a series of events!

Oct. 13th-14th: Halu-halong Karanasan (Mixed Experience)

In association with UCLA PAA, the first ever [email protected]/[email protected] American Film Festival held on campus featuring student and professional features & shorts showcasing different Pilipino experiences.

Thursday 7-10:30 PM
Friday 6:30-9:30 PM

Lenart Auditorium, Fowler Museum

Oct. 15th: Samahang Modern Performance

Samahang Pilipino’s Modern group performs at “Kita Tayo sa Sipa” event at Historic Filipino Town.

7:40 PM at SIPA (Search to Involve Pilipino Americans)

3200 W Temple Street
Historic Filipino Town
Los Angeles CA 90026

Oct. 20th: Empowerment: An Exhibition of Pilipino American Strength

The opening night of a two-week long (weeks 4&5) collaboration exhibit with the Cultural Affairs Commission on student and community artwork focusing on where [email protected]/[email protected] Americans draw their strength from.

6-9 PM

Kerckhoff Art Gallery

Oct. 26th: PAHM on the Hill: Live Musuem

[email protected]/[email protected] American historical figures come to life brought to you by the different Pilipino organizations at UCLA and ORL!

It’s almost the end of the year, but that doesn’t mean that UCLA campus is slowing down, or that the API community is, either (although this blog has been a little inactive lately. Um, sorry.) There are two events coming up that you all should check out!

The first is the Asian American Undergraduate Conference, titled “The Next Chapter.” This will be taking place tomorrow, from 12 PM- 3 PM in the Ackerman Second Floor Lounge. The conference will explore what it means to be a scholar activist–attendees will learn how to take their education and use it to make a tangible change in their communities. The keynote speaker will be Natasha Saelua. She’s a current MA in the UCLA Asian American Studies Program, and she’s done a lot of work with the Community Programs Office. There will be workshops, a community round table with Lane Hirabayashi (outgoing Chair of the Asian American Studies Department), and free food. Yup, community discussion and free food. Doesn’t get better than that. So come check it out!

Here’s the Facebook page, and the quick facts once again:

WHAT: Asian American Undergraduate Conference: The Next Chapter
WHEN: Tomorrow, Friday (May 27), 12-3 PM
WHERE: Ackerman Second Floor Lounge

Even if you’re not an Asian American Studies major/minor, this is an excellent opportunity to come out and learn more about it. Who knows, you might even be persuaded to take up AAS.

Secondly, Asian Pacific Islander Graduation is coming up.

This graduation seeks to celebrate anybody who identifies as part of the API community to celebrate our success at UCLA together! Not only will you get a free tshirt, free food, fifteen seconds at the microphone and see cultural performances, but you may invite any number of family or friends. Also, our Keynote Speaker will be Beau Sia. This year, APIG will be on Sunday, June 12, 2011 at 3PM – 6PM. To register your graduating seniors, you must fill out this GDOC no later than SUNDAY, May 29.

BEAU SIA, YOU ALL. How cool is that? So mark your calendars, fill out that GDOC, and invite all your friends. It’s going to be awesome.

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