WASHINGTON, D.C. – After a week-long class program on 9-13 August, the Philippine Embassy and the United Federation of Fil-Am Educators (UNIFFIED) Maryland Chapter held the culmination program of “Silid Aralan sa Embahada 2021” at the Philippine Chancery Annex Building on 14 August 2021. The event was conducted in a hybrid format via Zoom and limited in-person attendance in consideration of health protocols and regulations.
With the theme, “Kulturang Makulay, Mayaman, at Matatag: Sandigan sa Paghilom at Pagbangon mula sa Pandemya”, a total of 61 Filipino-American kids and youth successfully completed the modules of this year’s program composed of topics on Philippine history & geography, national symbols, values education, arts & craft, folk songs & folk dances, Original Pinoy Music (OPM), Filipino traditional games & cuisine, national language, folktales & plays, and national costumes.
UNIFFIED Maryland President Malou Cadacio delivered the welcome message of the program followed by a slideshow presentation featuring the lessons and activities facilitated by the volunteer teachers and partner organizations for the whole week. Youth class participants Milo Lopez and Roxy Hodzic and UNIFFIED Maryland’s Ms. Luz Sumingwa served as the hosts of the program, while Filipino fast food chain Jollibee graciously provided refreshments for the children, parents, and volunteer teachers during the limited in-person event.
“We hope that all of these experiences, lessons, knowledge, and traditions will not just be confined in the 1-week program, and that you will carry them with you as you grow older. There is no age limit to learning. You can explore and study on your own, practice what you have learned whenever you can, and always be proud of your unique Filipino heritage and identity,” said Philippine Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Jaime Ramon Ascalon, Jr. during his inspirational message for the Filipino-American youth.
The hybrid program was made more exciting by several intermission numbers including dance performances by the UNIFFIED teachers, a storytelling segment by CDA Ascalon, poetry reading, balagtasan, cooking demonstrations, drama play, and folk singing and dancing by the kids and youth participants.
“The Silid Aralan sa Embahada is a wonderful event for Filipino children to learn about our Philippine history, culture, and traditions. Although it is only a week, I had a great learning experience about Filipino martial arts, arnis, singing, and reciting Filipino folk songs and poems, and cooking Filipino food pinakbet. This event helps us connect and understand our Filipino heritage. I want to thank all the teachers who presented us with all the information and opened the Filipino mind in me. Maraming salamat po,” said Athena Lannu of the Kids class in her message of gratitude on behalf of the students.
“I hope that this will continue to be available in person and online so it can reach more Filipinos and Filipino Americans. Participating in this kind of activity creates a lasting impact on my family… what’s very important is creating a sense of Pinoy pride and identity while creating and building community and active volunteerism,” said Ms. Kristine Remudaro on behalf of the parents.
Silid Aralan sa Embahada is an annual partnership between the Philippine Embassy and UNIFFIED Maryland Chapter in preserving Filipino culture and tradition and celebrating Buwan ng Wika (Language Month). This year’s program was made possible with the support of the Filipino American Cancer Care (FACC), The Filipino Class of Baltimore, Pinakatay Arnis Sigidas, Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC), and Jollibee USA. ###