WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Philippine Embassy and District VI of the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue, Inc. (FIND District VI) co-hosted the 2017 Merienda series with the theme “Sino Ka? Sino Ako? Discovering your Identity” on 26 March 2017 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
“We hope this year’s theme gives you an opportunity to self-reflect, understanding that you cannot know where you are going until you know where you’ve been,” FIND District VI Co-Culture Chairs Angela Devanadera and Noel Alberto told the participants.
Minister Patrick A. Chuasoto, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the Embassy, delivered the keynote speech, acknowledging the struggle for identity of many young Filipino-Americans and encouraging them to embrace their mixed heritage.
“The perennial challenge for any immigrant or offspring of immigrants is how to remain connected to their country of heritage and integrating this connection into their identity as Americans,” Minister Chuasoto said.
MINSTER PATRICK A. Chuasoto, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the Philippine Embassy (first row, 4th from right) poses for a group photo with the students and members of the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue (FIND) District VI at the 2017 District VI Merienda held at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County on 26 March 2017. (PhilEmbassy Photo)
“Filipinos have a definite advantage in this regard. We always find each other. We also find ways to be together wherever we are, may it be in our schools, workplace, neighborhoods, even in cyberspace. This sense of community is one of the many beautiful things that Filipinos own and can be proud of,” he noted.
“Being of mixed heritage is a big advantage. It gives you perspective and in a way, it makes you experience the best of both worlds,” Minister Chuasoto concluded.
Leading the workshops of the 2017 Merienda were FilAm community leaders Ms. Linda Yangas, Mr. Sonny Busa, Mr. Marlan Maralit, and Mr. Rexy Josh Dorado.
Since the first Merienda in 2012, the series has served as one of the Embassy’s avenues for youth engagement and established an environment for dialogue about current topics and issues relevant to the Filipino/Asian-American Community.
“We hold Merienda as a yearly tradition because it is important that we remember, celebrate, and cherish those that had come before us, our history, and our culture,” said Pamela Taractecan and John Victoria, FIND District VI Co-Chairs.
FIND, Inc. is a coalition of Filipino students that aims to offer channel for dialogue and action, promote and preserve Filipino culture, further awareness of issues pertinent to the Filipino community, and act as a catalyst to pool the efforts of Filipino organizations. (PM)