BY Karen Yu

The second society for Week 5’s Cider theme is the Filipino Student Society of UNSW (FILOSOC)! I had a chat with Luke, who hails from the Philippines.

Luke moved to Australia two years ago and joined the FILOSOC to get a glimpse of home in a new environment. He enjoys being around people from the Philippines as it helps him feel a sense of belonging.

Explaining his college life in the Philippines, he said that during a typical year half the year would be sunny and the other half rainy. Luke also explained that students were happy when the rainy seasons were heavy, as it meant that they didn’t have classes. Once, the rain was so heavy the office flooded resulting in students losing their tests. As a result they couldn’t get their marks!

Hilariously enough, Luke said that one professor had stacked the test papers on top of a refrigerator, took a picture of the safe test papers and showed it to the class to say that it was all dry and they could be marked.

“There’s a difference of being a member on paper and being a member where you really feel like a member.”

At events, Luke saw other Filipinos having fun and meeting many other Filipinos. It was then that he wanted to meet more Filipinos and have fun with them.

FILOSOC promotes Filipino culture within UNSW and also helps Filipinos get acquainted with the school life here. They hold events that share their culture including the sharing of food. They recently had a boodle fight. This isn’t a real fist fight - it’s a table covered in rice and different foods. Luke explained that it was called a ‘fight’ because you needed to be agile to ‘protect’ your food.

“Everyone is warm and cheerful.”

Luke described his hometown as being very crowded, with heavy traffic.

In line with our theme of Cider, I asked what would be a very traditional or famous drink in the Philippines. Luke told me it would be sago gulaman, a type of grass jelly drink.

He wants his society to really help bring back the memories that fellow Filipinos experience in their homeland. The FILOSOC has many events centred on food and Luke says it’s because all Filipinos love food!

“Check the Filipino Society out, we have a unique culture.”

Luke said that he loved the cheerfulness of Philippines and said that if you needed cheering up to drop by the FILOSOC. He is happy for anyone to drop by and learn about the Filipino culture.

When asked for food and drink recommendations, Luke gave me a bunch. These included sago gulaman, adobl (a dish of pork or chicken with vinegar and soy sauce), and ensaymada (bread with melted butter, cheese and sugar). Lastly he recommended a dessert, halo halo (which literally translates to mix mix) to which you can add red bean, sugar plums, jelly, ice, milk or ube ice cream!

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