Carrying the torch of Filipino cultural identity through the diaspora

The vanguard that strengthens the preservation of Filipino-American heritage

At a time when globalization has succeeded in homogenizing the nations of the world, one finds the value of the preservation of its heritage intrinsic to the integrity of the national identity given the osmotic tendencies of the diasporas to acclimatize to the culture in which they bathe at the present time.

Such is the case with the Filipino American community born and residing on American soil, their ties to the mother country weakening over time due to their closeness to the mother country and their strongly westernized upbringing, making more contact with the mother country is difficult. their Filipino roots, not to mention their mother tongue.

It also doesn’t help that in a country where Asian hatred is rampant, it can be quite Herculean to claim pride as a Filipino. This raises a question that needs to be answered: how can the diaspora stay grounded in their cultural identity as Filipino people while navigating a foreign land they also call home?

Enter the Hiraya Foundation for the Preservation of Filipino American Heritage Inc., a non-profit organization committed to the preservation of cultural heritage, tradition, history, language and craftsmanship, led by its President and President, Dr. Romulo Aromin, Jr.; President-elect Dely Po Go, DNP, RN, LNHA; Treasurer Leonora Galleros-Tinio, CPA, MBA; secretary Lawrence Ira Safran; and Press Relations Manager Jovito de Luna Rabelas, bring their expertise to the table, working together to ensure that the torch of Filipino culture is passed on to future generations.

Guided by his vision to unite kababayan in the United States and the Philippines, and encouraging their participation in efforts to protect, preserve, and promote Filipino heritage in all its facets, the foundation’s mandate is to lead efforts to promote and preserve Filipino heritage in both territories as well as the important contributions that Filipinos have made to American society.

Aromin emphasized the impact of cultural identity on the enrichment of American society. “Our contributions to American society have only been made possible by our debt to our cultural identity.”

“It is what defines us and remembering it, fuels even more the burden of ensuring the preservation of our heritage as a people,” he added.

For the moment, the foundation, under the direction of Aromin, is preparing the ground to respond to the call for the preservation of heritage via the next Gawad Alab of Lahian awards program celebrating and honoring our kababayan and select foreign groups and partners in the United States. Their service and efforts in their respective fields advance the best interests of the Filipino community both on American soil and on Philippine shores.

It also holds Sininglahia gala event aimed at facilitating the conservation of communities dedicated to the preservation of endangered Filipino heritage and crafts.

In order to keep our heritage alive and deeply rooted in the consciousness of our kababayan, other monthly events are also planned, some of which include: a series of lectures on the exploits of the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, as he interacted with contemporaries such as Juan Luna, Marcelo H. del Pilar and Graciano Lopez-Jaena; virtual concerts that showcase and celebrate Filipino dance, sung and performed music; and a film showcase featuring a classic directed by legendary filmmaker Ishmael Bernal, among others.

Let us light the torch of our cultural heritage and let its flame shine towards the future.

To learn more about the Hiraya Foundation, log on to or visit them on Facebook and Instagram.

About Hector Hedgepeth

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