It’s an incredible honour for me to be writing this piece as we look back on the year. Although I may not look it (as I am coming to you from my student house miles from home, hair up in a bun and waiting for my frozen pizza to cook), when I joined FiliFest in 2019, I had only been in the UK for two years – detached from the culture I grew up in and seeking the comforts of home!
As I start my second year in university, I knew that I needed to be efficient in prioritising my responsibilities. FiliFest is something close to my heart and I take immense pride in it, so I had to ensure I was in tip-top state in everything else to enjoy doing this work. Although, it wasn’t as smooth sailing as I wanted it to be, we are getting there! I am very thankful for how understanding everyone is.
This year, we spent ample time in restructuring, reorganising, and redirecting FiliFest to what we truly want it to be, looking more towards its future and the immense potential it has. We also put emphasis in training the Committee to execute their ideas and make FiliFest their own.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my time in FiliFest is the importance of taking the first step. We have dabbled in projects and led events at frightening scales – I mean you only need to look at the first festival to know what I mean! I found myself working in projects that I initially rejected out of fear and inexperience, but it’s when we get thrown to the deep end that we grow, and I comfort myself in knowing that I have the trust and talents of my Committee.
Looking back at first half of FiliFest 2022, we indeed made remarkable achievements together.
In July of 2021, we were finally able to organise a physical event through the FiliFest Challenge. It was a fitting conclusion to FiliFest 2021. Being able to see the faces of the FiliFest Community and collaborating with Filipino businesses was a reminder to us that this is why we work hard!
August was an exciting one as we got to work with TFC and produce the Crossover Conversations videos. It was also Buwan ng Wika and we celebrated it by doing multiple takeovers on Instagram to introduce the languages and dialects of our islands. Read the blog about ‘languages at the centre of culture’ here by Angelli (Culture Officer).
The first official event of FiliFest 2022 was Freshers with FiliFest in September. It was amazing seeing the Filipino societies for this academic year and connecting with the international FilSocs! We also released our first merch on the Shop.
November was eventful! Not only did we hold the OPM Competition in partnership with TFC and KUMU for the second year in a row, but also got to introduce Filipino culture at the Comic Con Pop Asia stage!
We ended December on a much quieter note by wishing you a happy holiday season.
However, we know that this was not the case for all our countrymen back home as typhoon Odette wreaked havoc and displaced multiple families and communities. The typhoon may have passed, but the damage it dealt remains palpable. We urge you, our FiliFest Community, to do your own research and share in cash or in kind to help those who are affected.
All of this happened in six months!
I am eternally grateful to the FiliFest Committee for being relentlessly creative and passionate despite your many commitments. So much of the actual work happens behind-the-scenes as evidenced by the threads upon threads of messages and emails, Zoom meetings or Facetime calls, and our close-to-full-capacity shared workspace. There were many other projects, creations and collaborations that were not shared on here. From posts on Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok and Reels, and YouTube videos to the behind-the-scenes work done by our Business Strategy team to further the interests of FiliFest.
Finally, thank you to our FiliFest Community. To old acquaintances who have been with us and to the new friends we made, we promise to only improve and remain true to the core of FiliFest. Your support such as featuring in our content, purchasing from the Shop, engaging with us on social media, and attending our events mean we can continue to strive for greater heights.
We have so much planned for you this year, beginning with the revival of the summer festival! We hope to see you all there!
With love and well wishes for a meaningful new year,