• Joselle Escobar

PSA UIUC FCN 2020: "Magpasalamat" (Give Thanks)



On March 16, 2020, the Philippine Student Association (PSA) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) cancelled the annual Filipino Culture Night (FCN) and followed the cancellation of PSA sponsored events for the whole semester. Despite the devastation of vital social functions enjoyed through Fil-Am celebrations in our community, PSA has sustained hope and positivity in reflecting back on our accomplishments and internalizing the important messages portrayed through our events.


Here’s to PSA’s outstanding FCN Coordinators Jules Suarez and Alex Monsalud!


Photo Credit: Kelly Tang


“Our Filipino Culture Night Showcase/Kamayan (FCN) is important to us and our board because it gives us a chance to support a Filipino-based, philanthropic cause and it also gives us an opportunity to showcase Filipino-American culture and identity. Although all of us are united because of our Filipino identity, we take pride in the different ways we choose to express ourselves. Filipino Culture Night is our way of showcasing the unique talents and skills that make up our organization and it is how we bring the community together.


FCN contributes to our mission statement by educating our members and community of Filipino identity and culture through our Kamayan Lunch, where we teach about a traditional way of eating in the Philippines; through dancing, where we showcase a variety of cultural and modern dances to show the contrast between a traditional way of Filipino dancing and how Filipinos express themselves through dance today; through a storyline, where we are able to address the different issues Filipino-Americans may face.

It meant a lot to us because we wanted to create a memorable event for our members and everyone else involved. We loved the opportunity to be able to foster the growth of relationships between our members and to give back to the Filipino community through a charity. Additionally, it gave us a creative outlet that we were going to use to inspire our community to be the best version of themselves.

We were excited for a lot of things. We were extremely excited to host Fia’Liwan and SLU’s FSA and to welcome them into our community and include them in one of our special traditions. We were also excited to bring our Freshmen into this tradition that would go on to be a defining factor during their next four years in PSA. We also took pride in having the opportunity to showcase all of our talented and hard-working Seniors one last time, and to make their last event and performance with PSA the most memorable.

We feel that the best way to portray our feelings towards everything that has happened because of the pandemic is through a Kobe Bryant quote: “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” Although we didn’t get the chance to showcase everything that we’ve worked on at our FCN, we take extreme pride in how our community worked together towards a common goal; along the way, we were able to form new relationships, strengthen current relationships, and create new, everlasting memories. We were also able to see how truly supportive our community is for us and that speaks volumes about how PSA is more than just an organization; we are a family.”

Jules Suarex and Alex Monsalud

PSA UIUC Filipino Culture Night Coordinators

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On behalf of PSA, we hope the MAFA community comes out stronger from the epidemic and look forward to the potential of the members and leaders in our organizations. FCN across all schools represents the celebrations and enjoyments of traditional and modern Filipino culture; a unique visual event that brings together our experiences and our history. In light of our FCN theme “Magpasalamat” (to give thanks), we would like to thank all of our general members, board members, executive members, and the MAFA community for providing a platform and network for blooming families and friendships to thrive in. With that in mind, surely there is nothing our community cannot get through together.


Joselle Escobar

PSA UIUC Vice President External


Officer Board of the Philippine Student Association UIUC (2019-2020)

Photo Credit: Kelly Tang

Executive Board

President: Brittany Amawan

Vice President Internal: Carmel Bumaa

Vice President External: Joselle Escobar

Secretary: Sonica Battung

Treasurer: Jasmine Cuasay


F Board

FACT: Denzel Ryan Cruz & Anthony Mendez & Erika Saligan

FCN: Alex Monsalud & Jules Suarez

Formal: Jean Carlos

Core Board

Alumni Chair: Melencio Sanidad

Athletic Chair: Daniella Di

Awareness Chair: Myka Padilla & Renzo Magnaye

Cultural Chair: Caitlin Daza & Jazmin Aguilar

Philanthropy Chair: Janessa Pacete

Publicity Chair: Brion Nono & Dana Villamena


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