The Filipino Association of Monash (FAM) is a new cultural club at Monash University in Clayton established in 2019. Before the club’s establishment, despite the large presence of Filipino students in the university and the broader Melbourne community, there was no Filipino Club at Monash. Thus, the initiative to create FAM emerged to reform the cultural and social relationships between Filipino students studying at Monash and those who hold an interest in the Filipino culture.
FAM comprises committee members from a wide variety of academic disciplines and backgrounds – a diversity that ensures wide-ranging ideas on how to improve and innovate the club. Such differential experiences of the committee have allowed the club to host various events that cater to not just Filipino-Australian students, but also the broader Filipino community. To name a few, FAM has hosted a karaoke night, a boodle fight, and a live cooking class.
A highlight for FAM was a roundtable discussion organised with the Philippine Ambassador to Australia, Ma. Hellen B. De La Vega, alongside the Monash International Affairs Society (MIAS). In this engagement, FAM had the privilege of listening to Her Excellency discuss her experiences as a diplomat, about ASEAN, as well as the ongoing Philippine-Australian relations.
Whilst COVID-19 has hindered events that FAM had planned for this year, it has allowed the committee to broaden its vision to promote the Filipino culture. FAM collaborated with Bangor University in the United Kingdom for a talent show that would showcase the unique talents and abilities of both communities in Australia and the U.K. This is one of FAM’s main goals for the future – to collaborate with more Filipino Clubs in Australia and to work with Filipino associations from around the world.
Jake Makaling (General Representative) – Growing up I didn’t know many Filipinos my age. I’ve always wanted to delve deeper into my Filipino heritage and through FAM I’ve been able to meet other students with Filipino backgrounds across the wider Melbourne community whilst enriching my knowledge of Filipino culture.
Alex Mollaneda (Human Resources Director) – Growing up in Australia, the peers that I grew up with were a mix of Asian Australians. Being one of the Filipino-Australian students at school, I always found it difficult to embrace and express my Filipino culture. So, I figured joining FAM would help me reconnect to my roots – with my kababayan.
Michelle Talledo (Treasurer) – I joined FAM because being half-Filipino and half-Australian has meant that I often feel disconnected to my roots. Joining FAM has brought the Philippines to Melbourne which has allowed me to learn new things about our culture and has provided me with a community of students who have had similar experiences as me.
Angel Cuerpo (Social Media Manager) – I joined FAM because I wanted to understand more about Filipino culture. I grew up mostly in western countries and although my parents did as much as they could to expose me to the Filipino culture, I still felt disconnected. However, FAM has allowed me to see how unique Filipino culture is and I want to continue sharing it.
CJ Santos (Events Coordinator) – I joined FAM because I found Filipino people my age who I could relate to on a cultural level. It allowed me to create a connection to my Filipino culture that I was unable to get growing up.
Alyssa Pador (Secretary) – Growing up my family moved from country-to-country. I am grateful for the experience, however I found it difficult to hold onto my cultural identity. Starting FAM was a crazy experience for me having always felt like a minority in the Filipino-Australian community. However, there is so much acceptance and love in our community and I want to share our culture to others.
Shanel Malelang (Vice President) – Ever since I moved to Australia, I have always been seeking to maintain my cultural identity. I found FAM and for me, it acts as a platform for where I can strengthen my ties to the Philippines.
Edgel Tilan (President) – I helped create FAM to make up for a lack of a Filipino Cultural Club at Monash. Being a part of FAM, I wanted to educate myself and others about the rich culture that the Philippines has to offer. Whilst doing this I was able to acquire a second family in the form of the community that makes up FAM.
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