On July 2, 2015, Xavier School San Juan participated in the Face to Faith program via an intra- video conference with Ateneo de Davao University High School, Holy Cross College of Calinan and Stonyhurst Southville International School. Basically, the Face to Faith program of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation aims to guide students, with different beliefs and cultural traditions, to embrace an open-minded attitude towards others that will eventually lead to a tolerant, stable society.
Filipino Identity. This is the topic that circulated throughout the video conference. The first part of our discussion focused on the attributes of a Filipino: what makes a Filipino a Filipino. One of the notable answers is that Filipinos are like its popular dish called Adobo; there are different varieties of Adobo. This statement emphasizes that the Philippines is a diverse nation with different traditions and beliefs. Moreover, we also tackled about the issue of different religions in the country, whether it is a hindrance or not to the country. Almost all the participants agreed that religion should not be a barrier. This is because most, if not all religions, point to only one thing and that is to being good people. Furthermore, it is not about religion, but our common faith that binds us as Filipinos.
The second part of our discussion tackled the influences and factors in the formation of the characteristics of a Filipino. Some students mentioned that family plays a role in becoming a Filipino while others say that it is their school that helped mold those characteristics. Additionally, we tackled the issue of Chinese-Filipinos, whether or not they can be considered as Filipinos, since they are of Chinese descent. One of the striking responses by a student mentioned that even if he is pure Chinese, he is still pure Filipino at heart.
The last part of our discussion focused on how we live out or celebrate in being Filipinos or our “Filipino-ness.” Most students said that they participate in Filipino programs like fiestas and salu-salos in their own respective schools, communities, and homes. Some students also attend clubs in their schools that are related to Filipino so that they may further understand the Filipino culture through different activities in the clubs like playing Filipino games and having a first-hand experience with Filipino families outside of school.
As we ended this meaningful experience, we had a short reflection and processing of this experience. Generally, this Face to Faith program was very open and casual even if we encountered some network and technical problems. Most students opened up and shared their beliefs and opinions. From this video conference, we learned that the Philippines is a very diverse nation due to its different religions and races. That is why there is a need for more video conferences in the future in order to further understand the culture of our fellow Filipinos. These differences should not serve as an obstacle to becoming a united country. In the end, no matter what differences we have, whether in religion or in race or in traditions, we must stand united as proud Filipinos of our country!