Barkada FDU members pose with a parade performer.

With great cultural pride, Filipino students march in New York City parade

By Julie Kayzerman

June 13, 2018 — In a crowd of colorful dresses, traditional dancing and hundreds of waving Filipino flags, members of the Barkada Club at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Metropolitan Campus proudly marched through the streets of New York City as part of the 120th Philippine Independence Day Parade on Sunday, June 3.

“Marching in the parade was important to me because I’ve always wanted to spread awareness and appreciation for my culture on a much bigger scale,” says senior nursing major Jobelle Gulian and vice president of Barkada.

The group marched down Madison Avenue in Manhattan alongside the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue (FIND), where they joined fellow college students from the region in an effort to honor Filipino culture.

Barkada FDU members march alongside the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue (FIND).

“It was wonderful to get to connect with other Filipino students from other universities at the parade,” Gulian says. “Seeing fellow Filipino college students representing their schools’, organizations and the Filippo/Filipino-American culture as a whole gave me a sense of pride as a Filipino-American.”

The parade was a celebration of the Philippines declaring independence from Spain on June 12, 1898, and is celebrated annually in New York City on the first Sunday of June.

Performers at the 120th Philippine Independence Day Parade.

Filipino culture is special to Gulian because of the emphasis on family and helping others, part of the traditional community spirit. Fittingly, the word “barkada” means “a group of friends” in Filipino, which relates to the club’s mission in developing a tight-knit community that spreads cultural awareness.

“As a Filipino-American, I am proud of my ethnicity and want to continue to spread awareness and appreciation of the Philippines and the Filipino culture,” Gulian says. “I’m glad that Barkada at FDU has given me an opportunity for that.”

Being part of Barkada has also allowed Gulian to professionally network with people she has met through her involvement with the club.

“Being in Barkada has helped me make so many connections for college and after graduation as well,” she adds. “There are many nursing majors who are also a part of Barkada so it helps to have that extra support system. It’s great to be able to go to them for advice and to see which hospitals or places to work would be best for me.”

Barkada at FDU is a student-led organization formed in 2006 that has worked to stimulate the academic, cultural and social interests of Filipino-Americans and spread the Philippine culture throughout the campus community. The club is open to all students interested in learning about the Filipino culture and hosts events throughout the semester to create a sense of friendship and support

“I think it is important to help students on campus become more aware of and become more open-minded to the cultures of the world and to think on a more global perspective,” Gulian says. “I'm so happy to be a part of Barkada because it has helped create a family for me within FDU.”

Miss Philippines-American float.