Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez interacting with the members of UNIFFIED Maryland Chapter during the culmination program

17 August 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United Federation of Fil-Am Educators Maryland Chapter (UNIFFIED-MD) and the Philippine Embassy, through Sentro Rizal Washington DC, conducted this year’s Silid-Aralan sa Embahada using Zoom and Google Classroom platforms from 10 to 14 August 2020.

With the theme “Tuluyang Pagpapalawig ng Kulturang Pilipino sa Gitna ng Pandemya”,  Silid-Aralan sa Embahada 2020 held daily one-hour classes for young Filipinos and Filipino-Americans on Philippine geography, history, national symbols, arts and craft; Philippine folk songs, music, and poems; national costumes and folk dances; national language, storytelling, and plays; and Filipino values, traditions, and games. 

The learners were divided into two groups – the K Class (Kids Class) consisting of students between 4 and 9 years old; and the Y Class (Youth Class) consisting of those between 10 and 18 years old.

A culminating program was held on 15 August, recognizing 78 learners who actively participated and completed the required number of modules. Students Kristina Angela Trinidad and Kristian Lorenzo Trinidad served as the program emcees. 

Silid-Aralan sa Embahada is an annual collaborative learning program between the Embassy and the volunteer Filipino-American teachers that provide summer classes focusing on various facets of Philippine culture and heritage. The classes are held in August, which is also celebrated as Philippine National Language Month or ‘Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa’

During the culmination program, the learners wore traditional Filipino attire and shared their talents in singing, dancing, poetry-reading and acting.

UNIFFIED-MD Chapter President Malou Cadacio opened the culminating program with a message of appreciation to the parents, learners, and volunteer teachers, including Ms. Ivy Hilay-Wilcher who directed this year’s classes in her capacity as chairperson of the UNIFFIED-Maryland Socio-Cultural Committee. 

“We will certainly cherish these moments with you and will always inspire us to teach and perpetuate our culture, with or without this pandemic,” said Ms. Cadacio in her remarks. 

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez thanked and commended the learners, their family members, and the volunteer teachers for their respective efforts that contributed to the success of Silid-Aralan sa Embahada 2020. 

“Dear students, I hope that as you grow older, you will carry with you the knowledge, values, and traditions that you have learned through these classes. Practice them when you can and be proud of your unique Filipino heritage,” the Ambassador said. Founded in 2013, UNIFFIED is composed of Filipino teachers in the United States with the mission to foster unity and camaraderie among Filipino educators and help uplift communities in the U.S. and the Philippines alike. 

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Members of the K Class dance the Itik Itik as part of the culmination program


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One of the K Students recite her poem during the culmination program