Crystel Sylvester, gwhatchet.com
The Philippine Cultural Society celebrated its 30th birthday with grandeur at the Omni Shoreham Hotel this Saturday.
Guests were served cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on the Empire Patio of the hotel, surrounded by a garden of colorful tulips and cherry blossoms. Alumni, current students and employees from the Philippine Embassy mingled and held photoshoots with the garden as a backdrop.
Maya Cruz, an employee of the Public Diplomacy Section of the Philippine Embassy, said she was invited to the event because the PCS has strong ties with the embassy.
“They often borrow traditional cultural costumes for their dances, and we invite dancers from GW to perform at events,” Cruz said.
In between each course, different speakers including Jude Tungul, the president of PCS, Michael Tapscott, the director of the Multicultural Student Services Center, and Jonathan Melegrito, the founder and first advisor to PCS, delivered speeches.
In his speech, Tapscott commended PCS on its continued collaboration with the MSSC and encouraged attendees to “embrace the notion of social justice.”
“Ideologies seem to be running into conflict and the resolutions seem to be ‘Overheard at GW’ or Facebook posts or attacking one another anonymously,” Tapscott said.
Tapscott added that the PCS had a history of using activism for education.
“One of the things that I treasure about PCS is that its approach to social justice is educating others,” he said.
Melegrito said PCS has been successful through its 30 years of active participation on GW’s campus.
“I hope that you will all remember this celebration for the rest of your lives, and I hope to see you all 20 years from now at our 50th celebration,” Melegrito said.
The event concluded with dance performances by current PCS members and alumni. Alumni opted for a traditional dance called bendian, which celebrates the sampaguita – the national flower of the Philippines.
Tungul said the event was not just a culmination of his work as president, but rather a culmination of 30 years of PCS’s members’ hard work.
“This organization is one that our members give so much to and receive so much from, and it’s reflected in the turnout of this event,” he said.
Tungul added that he hopes PCS continues its momentum into the future.
“I hope that when I come back for more momentous anniversaries, I see that PCS has retained its heart-to-heart spirit,” he said.