Formal ’18 – ’19, Claire Mallare

Sophomore in Kinesiology


Do you identify as Filipino or Filipino-American? What does that identity mean to you?

Being Filipino- American to me means being able to enjoy the best of both worlds. I can celebrate on the Fourth of July and eat big bowls of mac and cheese. But I can also eat pancit on my birthday and attend Simbang Gabi during Christmas time! My filipino identity makes me unique. My filipino identity has taught me about hospitality and kindness. I want to share my identity by lifting people up. By doing so I can express how proud I am to be Filipino- American.

I can celebrate on the Fourth of July and eat big bowls of mac and cheese. But I can also eat pancit on my birthday and attend Simbang Gabi.

Describe your Filipino family/community outside of PSA. How does PSA mimic/create similar experiences in college?

My Filipino culture keeps me grounded. Growing up, I spent a lot of time in my Lolo’s Filipino oriental store. I was surrounded by a number of faces that would greet and hug me and my sisters whenever they saw us. These friendly faces were more than friends or regular customers. They became my second family. From our Fil-am volleyball league, to our annual Christmas party, Simbang Gabi, baptisms, or birthdays- the Filipino community in my town always made time to get together and celebrate our different milestones in life. We laugh, we dance, we eat, and even occasionally cry together, becoming each other’s shoulder to lean on when need be. I am truly grateful for the Filipino Community here in Champaign-Urbana because the memories we share are irreplaceable. When I transitioned to college, I met more people who shared those same values. I remember my first days in PSA. No one ate alone, waited at the bus stop alone, or even walked across the street from PAR to FAR alone. I met people that I didn’t need to explain myself to. They made me feel valued. They became more than classmates, but lifelong friends. All these people who have come into my life have taught me what Filipino culture is.. They have taught me what it means to love unconditionally.
(Testimonial from back in October during FIL-AM history month.)

All these people who have come into my life have taught me what Filipino culture is.. They have taught me what it means to love unconditionally.

Claire and her fellow board members, Caitlyn and Alex.