The Quinnipiac Asian Student Alliance hosted an event celebrating Filipino culture through dessert – The Quinnipiac Chronicle


Members of the Asian Student Alliance prepare halo-halo, a Filipino dessert made from jellied fruit, evaporated milk and other ingredients. (Katie Langley)

Jellied fruit, red and white beans, crushed ice, evaporated milk and a bright purple sweet potato ice cream called ube come together to create a sweet and delicious treat.

The Filipino halo-halo dessert was the star of the show at the Asian Student Alliance (ASA) Halo-Haloween event on October 27.

“It was a great experience,” said Genesis Iscoa, a junior political science student who attended the event. “I learned a little bit about the halo-halo, about the culture behind it.”

The halo-halo, or “mix-mix” in the Austronesian language of Tagalog, occurs in different ways depending on the region of the Philippines. It can even include flan and coconut strips.

The Japanese introduced these shaved ice treats to the Philippines during World War II. Japan has its own version of the dessert called “Kakigōri”. However you mix it up, halo-halo is a decadent testament to Filipino history.

October is National Filipino American Story Month, a time to celebrate the culture and contributions of the Filipino-American community. Filipinos are the third largest group of Asians in the United States, totaling more than four million people. While the students were enjoying their halo-halo, the ASA presented a presentation on the honorary month.

The Philippines is a Southeast Asian island nation located in the Western Pacific Ocean. A former Spanish colony, the United States annexed the Philippines after the Spanish-American War. The nation won independence America in 1946. Filipinos have a long history in America, having lived in the country since 1587, when they came to California with the Spanish colonizers.

As the ASA’s events coordinator, Jinxia Lin, a second year biology student, organized the evening.

“This is our first Filipino event, so it’s really important to us, because obviously the Asian Student Alliance aims to spread awareness of different Asian cultures,” said Lin. The coordinators said that Southeast Asia’s problems are often quiet in conversations about Asian consciousness. The club hopes to change that and teach people that the term “Asian” doesn’t just apply to East Asia. It encompasses many people and countries on the continent.

“We are trying to increase our diversity and inclusion by hosting our first event in South East Asia,” said Ashley Hong, ASA Vice President and Junior Occupational Therapy Major.

The coordinators also spoke about an important part of any culture: local foods and cuisines. They described Filipino cuisine as ‘East meets West’, drawing on many influences such as Spanish and those of different ethnicities.

groups from the Philippines.
When it comes to the dessert itself, the halo-halo is different

any American sundae. Personally, I loved the taste and hope to have the opportunity to enjoy it again.

Iscoa, who is an international student from Honduras, said her culture has similar culinary components.

“(Halo-halo) has evaporated milk, ube which is a yam fruit, which we also eat in my crop,” Iscoa said. “So it’s kind of an alternative to what we usually get here.”

Iscoa said she really enjoyed the dessert and that it was “nice to learn about the importance of different cultures”.

Cultural awareness was at the heart of Wednesday’s event. ASA shared photos of famous Filipinos such as Olivia Rodrigo, Darren Criss, Bruno Mars and Bretman Rock.

“We hope (the students) have had the experience of trying halo-halo for the first time and being more informed about the history and general experiences of Asian Americans,” Hong said.

As well as being educational, the event was also a lot of fun – with raffles and great prizes for three lucky winners. “I hope (the students) learned a bit more about Filipino culture and I hope they enjoyed the food,” Lin said.

Lin said she was thrilled that ASA is hosting more in-person events now that student organizations are back to normal.

“I hope they have a sense of normalcy being home for almost two years,” Lin said.

The club is hosting a ramen night and poetry reading scheduled this semester as well as a Lunar New Year celebration in the spring. Hong said she hoped these events would bring a “bond” and “awareness” to various Asian cultures.

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