Sharing the Filipino Spirit with the Bayanihan Student Organization
They say, go to any country and a Filipino is most probably there. The Filipino is warm, flexible, adventurous and at times often seeking wider learning and better opportunities all over the world.
It is so edifying to see that no matter how far a Filipino may be from home, their welcoming, cheerful and joyous spirit is always exemplified.
The Bayanihan Student Organization (BSO) is a cultural organization that promotes, educates and celebrates Filipino culture not only among all its members, but also extending it to the wider and greater Milwaukee community. Truly, you can find and share the same Pinoy and Filipino spirit
here and across so many other University campuses all around the world. BSO began as a small organization in Marquette University in 1988 and is now known on campus for its welcoming spirit and the family atmosphere given to all its members and the wider community.
Fast forward two decades and BSO is now Marquette University’s biggest student organization and holds the biggest fundraiser with a fashion show, dance and music event, all taking place just before Thanksgiving.
The BSO group has grown to be more than a hundred members from different nationalities and backgrounds including Sushil Patel, from Indian ethnicity, who has been the Vice President this year and Emily Balentine who is Chinese American and has been in the organization since her freshman year. Through the leadership of BSO’s amazing core team they practice the bayanihan spirit of communal unity, work and cooperation to achieve a particular goal.
This year’s fashion, dance and music show was entitled The 21st Bayanihan Student Organization’s Annual Fashion Show: Masquerade.
This is the biggest and most entertaining show of the year and it includes all kinds of dance – modern, disco, Latin, ballroom and cultural. 120 students and volunteers putting on a fashion show with awesome dances, songs, music and even modelling. Aside from the concert, so many efforts were also made backstage to create a lovely atmosphere for everyone to live out the Masquerade.
Practice makes perfect. So much hours of practice and team work was needed to make Masquerade happen. Since September the students would have weekly meetings to prepare for the show.
Different brands from Milwaukee sponsored and supported the event; The fashion show included styles and sets from different sports, casual wear, formal wear and an international set where members were able to wear their national costumes from Mexico, America, China and India etc. any country you name it. The show also included aspiring Filipino singers and guest dancers from Chicago.
Creative ways of fundraising, while the show was ongoing, included a live auction of different products and prizes that were donated or given for auction for the benefit of 2KK Foundation
It was such a fun, memorable and well produced show including fun games and an interactive audience that simply would not stop cheering and screaming for their friends and performers.
Every year BSO chooses a charity to support, to give back and share the love. In 2016, BSO was able to raise money for the Yellow Boat of Hope an organization in the Philippines that makes it easier for students to go to school in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
In 2017, through the Masquerade fashion, dance show and concert, significant funds were raised for the 2KK Tulong Sa Kapwa Kapatid Foundation in the Philippines — a youth foundation initiated and started by high school kids in 2003. So overwhelmed by volunteers and core of 2KK they shared,
“we need to keep believing in hope. Hope is having a student org 8000 miles away calling us up saying they care and are going to support us and be part of the work we do”. There is always hope, our utmost gratitude to BSO.
Special thanks to Bayanihan Student Organization’s core team for masquerade Leng Yang, Isa Ramos and Emily Balentine and their officers who had all out support: Kiko Ramos, Heather Belingon, Sushil Patel, Mustafa Anwar, Luis Figueroa, Hanna Coene, Max Maloney, Vince Goh, Michelle Lopez, Raynne Belingon, Quin Pelayo and Alyssa Doruelo
Bayanihan Student Organization, through all that it does for its members and the wider Milwaukee community, is an example to us all and continues to remind and teach us that no matter where we may be in the world we can continue to share the spirit of what it means to be a true Filipino.
Our welcoming, cheerful and optimistic spirit is very much appreciated by so many, across all continents, and makes their lives more meaningful through the love, consideration and care that the Filipino gives.
So no matter where we are, around the world, may we never forget who we are and always be a blessing to others wherever we go. Just like these energetic, caring and very generous BSO organization members and leaders