The Philippine Association of Students – UON (PINAS) recently hosted a Cheap Chewsday event for UON students and staff, as well as the local community. They took the opportunity to share far more than just a meal, giving attendees a taste of their culture, faith and values. Here is their report.
It was a gloomy Tuesday but the rain couldn’t stop the feast we prepared for our local and international friends. Cheap Chewsday is a monthly dinner hosted by Jesmond Park Uniting Church for the purpose of extending friendship and hospitality to international students, friends and families. For the month of June, Filipino cuisine was featured. The members of PINAS – UON (Philippine Association of Students) were so excited to cook delicious Filipino food and to showcase a bit of our beloved country’s culture.
Tara na sa Pilipinas! (Let’s go to the Philippines!)
Since we can’t bring our guests to our country, we thought of giving our guests a glimpse of the most famous and historic places in our country instead. We made miniature copies of famous tourist spots in the Philippines and placed them on tables for everyone’s appreciation. The guests were able to see the Banaue Rice Terraces, Barasoain Church, Rizal Shrine, and Magellan’s Cross. These places are the Philippines’ pride as the story behind each one of them depicts the triumph of courage, faith, and patriotism of our countrymen.
Like our two young guests you see in the picture, you can also Google these places to know more about the Philippines, and hopefully will be encouraged to visit us in the future.
Mas masaya ang pista sa Pilipinas! (Festivities are more fun in the Philippines!)
The concept of Festivals, or Pista in the Filipino language, has been embedded in our culture. It was adapted from a religious practice which was a celebration to commemorate a saint or celebrate good harvests and then eventually developed to showcase local products and attract tourists (such as the famous Flower Festival in Baguio). Feasts in the Philippines are colourful, fun and enriching, because they give you a chance to visit new places, meet new people, and learn sub-cultures.
We brought the festive vibe by designing the venue with colourful banderitas (streamers) and linens, and wearing Philippine-made bandanas (large handkerchief).
Buong pusong serbisyo (Wholehearted service)
Filipinos are known as hospitable, caring and compassionate people. It is rooted in our culture that we look after other people like our family, friends, and sometimes even strangers. Oftentimes, we even think about other people first before ourselves. As a result, we provide our service with genuine intention to care for others.
Serving food to over 150 people during Cheap Chewsday was a very tiring task, but all of us were still very enthusiastic as we fulfilled our task and ensured that our guests were more than satisfied.
Mas kaya pag sama-sama! (Things are easier when working together!)
Bayanihan is a Filipino traditional concept which describes a community working together to accomplish a difficult task. For example, a community exercises bayanihan when they work together to move a house from one location to another. We definitely applied the bayanihan concept to complete our Cheap Chewsday task.
All PINAS members were assigned tasks: cooking, serving, designing, etc. Each task allowed every individual to contribute and at the end we were successful in hosting Cheap Chewsday in a unique way. Because we wanted to offer not just food but an experience of our culture, we had to work together to be able to pull off the task.
Salo- salo para mapatibay ang samahan! (Eat together to foster stronger relationships!)
Eating together with family or friends is a way for Filipinos to bond and build stronger relationships. This gives us a relaxed environment where we can catch up and have meaningful conversations.
During the event, we served some of our all-time favourite Filipino dishes: Chicken Adobo, Pancit (stir-fried vermicelli noodles), Sinigang na Salmon (salmon in sour soup), and Biko (rice cake). We served all the main course and dessert in one plate as how we usually eat our meal. We were so happy to see everyone enjoying their food and having a great time with their family and friends!
Thanks to UON Global and NUPSA for giving PINAS a chance to give Newcastle a taste of Philippine culture. Until our next Cheap Chewsday!