Philippines center of focus at Coffee Hour

By | February 07, 2013 | News (2)

John Ang presents at the weekly International Coffee Hour about Filipino culture. Each week, a different country will be featured.

It was standing room only in Room 2206 of the Henry Madden Library for John Ang’s International Coffee Hour (ICH) presentation on the Philippines on Tuesday afternoon.

The presentation, an event put together by Fresno State’s International Student Services and Programs, was the first ICH event of the semester.

When introduced by ICH coordinator Muffed AlShakhori, 26-year-old Ang bounced his way to the podium with a smile as white as his button-down shirt. In his fourth semester at Fresno State as an accounting major, he said he has only been in the United States for about five years.

As Ang spoke of his homeland and made jokes, sometimes at his own expense, he elicited laughter from the full house audience.

“We have two seasons: sunny and rainy,” he said. “When it rains, we like to sleep.”

He also used the presentation to educate the audience on the culture of the Philippines.

The Philippines is described as an archipelago of 7,107 islands identifiable in three main regions: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The main language is Tagalog, which can be broken down into 175 individual dialects.

A few other countries left their impact on the islands, Ang said, starting with Spain from 1565 to the late 1800s. The United States was also listed as an influence, mainly from 1898 to 1935, and Japan, from 1939 to 1945. China also had an impact.

An indication of the Spanish influence on the culture exists in the love of “telenovelas,” or Spanish soap operas. Ang said that they are popular and oftentimes the Filipino viewer tends to flip channels during a commercial break so that they can watch two different shows.

Ang walked his audience through the different aspects of the country and its culture, such as the popular foods, traditions, tourist attractions, activities and sports. He showed that the Filipinos have their own versions of Superman and Wonder Woman, known as Captain Barbell and Darna, respectively.

As Ang spoke of fried lumpia, breakfast foods and desserts, his audience was nearly drooling. That is, until he pointed out a picture of “balut,” and said, “I dare you to try it.”

Balut is a fertilized duck embryo that is boiled and eaten in the shell. A popular streetfood in the Philippines, as well as in countries of Southeast Asia and Vietnam, the egg is commonly served with beer.

The majority of the presentation centered around the cultural foods because “we like to eat!” Ang said.

The presentation became interactive when Ang asked for volunteers in the audience to try a popular Filipino children’s game, “tumbang preso.” His two volunteers each took a turn at tossing a flip flop sandal at an aluminum can from several feet away, in attempt to knock the can over.

Audience members were also asked to participate in another game – “lusong baka” – which closely resembles leapfrog, a children’s game in which players jump over each other from various distances.

Each week, a different country will be explored while audience members munch on snacks and sip coffee. International Coffee Hour takes place every Tuesday from 2 to 3 p.m. through April.

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