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Kapamilya Club at EMU's 2nd Annual Philippine Culture Night

Kapamilya Club at EMU was founded in 2016 by Samantha Tolentino, Bianca Villegas, Josh Colina, and Naomi Caridad. Kapamilya Club, also known as KAPA, is the Filipino student organization at Eastern Michigan University, located in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Kapamilya means “to be part of the family” in Tagalog, and this mantra embodies what our organization stands for. As a close knit organization, we embrace one another with open arms, while sharing the culture of the Philippines in our club, campus, and community. This organization is so full of fun, love, and warmth. Our family is unique in that most of our members are also involved in other student organizations and programs, but at the end of the day, we know that Kapamilya is a home we can always depend on to take care of one another.

Kapamilya Club at the Fall 2019 AKA Reveal and FILAMCCO's Kalayaan

This idea heavily influenced us to choose the theme “Pag-Aalaga Sa Bawat Isa”, or "to take care of each other", for our Philippine Culture Night, which should have taken place on March 14, 2020. This theme was important to us because we wanted to show our community the importance of taking care of one another, and how we as an organization support each other. This is one of the only times in the school year where we get visitors from external schools and families to come to visit Eastern, and we wanted to show them how the members of Kapamilya can show compassion and support to our members and our community. We would have also used this theme to promote our Philanthropy for the night: the Kabataan Alliance's Kapit Bisig Program for Taal Relief.

KAPA holds a donation drive for Taal Relief with the Kabataan Alliance-Detroit Team

The PCN Committees

Our coordinators consisted of the Kapamilya Club Executive Board. It should be noted that with organizing this event, we had all KAPAs on deck. Each GBM ended with a dance rehearsal and decorations being made. Everyone was working with a glue gun, scissors, or practicing for our performances. Our families were preparing food for our PCN as well. We also used this time of planning PCN to bond with one another and work on building our relationships. The following committee heads have the following sentiments regarding our PCN:

Kapamilya Club 2019-2020 Executive Board

JoAnne Beltran (Co-Culture Chair); Anneliese Vogler (VP-Internal); Ronia Cabansag (Secretary); Shayla Tran (Treasurer); Samara Sarmiento (VP-External); Naomi Caridad (Co-Culture Chair); Pauline Paulo (President)

Photo Taken by: Jillian Mohr

Food Committee - led by Anneliese Vogler

Organizing the food for our PCN was an eye opening experience, even though it ended sadly. We dreamt up a menu and pitched it to all the KAPAs, and slowly but surely, we had enough members (and their families) volunteering to provide food that we only had to get the chicken adobo and lumpia catered! This was an amazing example of community coming together, and if our PCN had happened, I am sure it would have had great food.

Fundraising Committee - led by Shayla Tran

Leading the fundraising committee was stressful, but an essential part of PCN. We were responsible for coordinating with the other committees, but also carried out fundraisers to increase our available funds. It was really rewarding seeing all of the general body members coming together and helping with fundraisers for PCN. It definitely showed me how tight of a community we were; although we didn’t have a lot of numbers, we were still strong-willed. I was excited to see how the turnout for this PCN was going to be like and to see all of our hard work be rewarded. Regardless of the outcome, I’m glad we were able to experience the dedication and sacrifices made by our members to help out in aspects that they had to offer.

Decorations Committee - led by Samara Sarmiento and Pauline Paulo

Pauline: For this year’s PCN, our theme colors were orange, yellow, and pink. Since our theme was “Taking Care of One Another”, we thought that these colors perfectly resemble friendship, care, and love. The majority of our decorations were handmade. We made DIY flowers using our theme colors out of construction paper. During the second semester, we held weekly meetings twice a week in order to finish making our decorations in time for PCN. There would be a group of members either outlining, cutting, or glueing petals together. Making these decorations took a lot of time and effort, since we needed more than 50 flowers. Sometimes making these flowers took so long that we would still be on campus from 7:30-11PM. My favorite part of being in this committee was watching how we all came together as a family. It was also a perfect time to jam to music and bond with one another. I applaud our active members for sacrificing their time and effort every Thursday night. Our PCN would have been so pretty!

Samara: Being a part of the decorations committee was a bit nerve racking. To me, a PCN’s decoration always left a memory of that specific PCN. Whether it was to applaud the creativity or the craftsmanship, it was always something I looked forward to because I loved seeing how each school would incorporate decorations with the overall theme. As our PCN’s theme was “Taking Care of One Another”, a lot of our decoration ideas were focused on the idea that there was always someone who looked after us. We wanted to take more of a personal direction with the decorations by having pictures of all the KAPA members displayed as centerpieces, with people who took care of them. This was a way to say thank you to those who took care of us but also it was a way to show the connections we had to people whether it was through our pamilya or Kapamilya. At the end of all the planning, I was very proud of everyone and the image we were going to display at our PCN.

Advertising Committee - led by Ronia Cabansag and JoAnne Beltran

JoAnne: From last year’s PCN, Kapamilya garnered positive feedback from our campus community, so I was looking forward to expanding our impact this time around. We largely focused on advertising to different campus organizations/departments in hopes of bringing our university more exposure to Filipinx culture. Although Kapamilya wasn’t able to host our PCN this year, the process built up to the event made every second worthwhile. PCN is an all-hands-on-deck ordeal, so it was amazing to see the sheer dedication put into our joint efforts. We really cultivated a family within Kapa and made some irreplaceable memories along the way.

Ronia: Putting together the promotional materials for PCN was so much fun. We were able to garner support from other campus organizations this year, from the Center of Race and Ethnicity to Summit Street A Cappella group. One of our goals for this PCN was to make the event more accessible to members of our local community who wouldn’t normally attend a PCN, and I think we accomplished that given the wide range of orgs we collaborated with. The last thing we got to do was put up physical flyers all across campus. I remember seeing our flyer on my way to class and thinking, “We’re almost there. We put together something great, and it’s really happening.”

Philippine Culture Night 101 post created by Ronia Cabansag

Stage Committee - led by Naomi Caridad and Stevan Martinez

Being able to communicate with all the schools and outside performers was a lot of fun. It was exciting to see the program come together, and it was encouraging to know that we had so many hands on deck to help us prepare on the day of. I also want to give props to our performers. These people learned how to dance tinikling for the first time this year, and our tiklos team embraces this dance. Practices were so much fun. While I was excited about seeing the external performances, performing tinikling, I was most excited for the special color guard performance with other members of the MAFAsphere. Being able to combine my love for band and my culture is something I have been wanting to do for a long time. This year, we had all the pieces lined up. We had been preparing for it for the weeks leading up to PCN. For a lot of us, it was our first time spinning in awhile, and we were really looking forward to performing.

Behind the Scenes of Practices

Our Performances

Three performances we wanted to share include Tiklos, Tinikling, and our KAPA x MAFA Colorguard.


The Tiklos is a Waray dance that celebrates the spirit of working together for the betterment of your community.

Dancers: Noah Caridad, Josh Colina, Pauline Paulo, Shenelle Alyssa Rimando, Samantha Tolentino, Shayla Tran, Bianca Villegas, Katrina Yu


This is a traditional Philippine dance originated in the Spanish colonial era. When workers disobeyed or didn't work fast enough, their punishment was to stand in between two poles being clapped together. These workers would escape punishment by jumping over the poles. This dance is traditionally done with bamboo sticks.

Dancers: Justin Arriola, Ronia Cabansag, Naomi Caridad, Josh Colina, Gabby Liddy, Anneliese Vogler, Samara Sarmiento, Alyssa Ortiz

KAPA x MAFA Colorguard: "No Matter Where You Are" by Us The Duo

Colorguard is physical representation of music through body movement and color. They are also considered the visual aesthetic in a marching band. This art consists of dance, flags, rifles, and sabres.

Color Guard Members: Meredith Benedict, Brendan Bowns, Naomi Caridad, AnneJoleen Elum, Kaitlyn Pugh, April Saraza, Alina Sheu, Sammi Witteven

What's Next?

Our biggest takeaway from this pandemic is that we all have the opportunity to positively contribute to our community in multiple ways. I am so incredibly proud to be a part of an organization that is filled with unconditional love and support, especially in a time like this. We can work on our interpersonal relationships, work on ourselves, and work towards the safety of our loved ones and our society. Our culture will outlast a pandemic as long as we continue to share it and pass it down to the younger generations. We are looking forward to the day where we can be in each other's company, and when we can host another Philippine Culture Night on our campus. Until then, we will continue to take care of each other, while emulating the strength and integrity of the Filipino and Filipino American culture.

Kapamilya's Salamatsgiving, attending PSA UIUC's FACT, and our Pasko Party

With KAPA love,

Naomi Caridad, 2019-2020 Co-Culture Chair

KAPA Chant: "OHHHHH K-A-P-A-M-I-L-Y-A C-L-U-B, Kapa who? Kapamilya!"

Follow our Instagram @kapaemu and Facebook @kapaemu for updates on our PSA.

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