Pre-FASO: UW-Madison was home to “Tagalog sa Teresa” or “Tagalog on the Terrace” beginning in 1990.
- Founded by: Joy Palisoc Bach, Eileen Viernes Pliszka, Melanie del Mundo, Eric Viernes, Melanie del Mundo Duberstein, Roderick Duberstein, Michelle Popp, Brenda Popp Shinners, Christine Fernandez, Chris Austria, Hannah Celino, Greta Celino, Elise Celino, and others
- University Sponsor: Mrs. Monato (Tagalog professor at the time)
- Number of initial members: around 15-20
Mission: To be able to bring together other Filipino-Americans, socialize, and celebrate our Filipino heritage and the spirit of Bayanihan.
First Events: Making pancit bihon and lumpia for cultural night and performing Tinikling in traditional Filipino attire
2011: Presented the first ever “Rated-P”, the equivalent to Philippine Cultural Night, headlined by Ruby Ibarra
2013: Hosted the Midwest Filipino American Summit (MFAS): “Ano ang kwento mo? (What is your story?)”, headlined by Rex Navarette
2016: Rated-P: “Ilustrado”, headlined by the Blue scholars
- Rated-P: “The art of social media”, headlined by Cayden Mak and Suey Park
- Joined the Multicultural Student Center
2017: First Philippine Cultural Night: “Piyesta”, headlined by Magdalena Mejillano
2019: PCN: “Sino ba ako? (Who am I?)”, headlined by Dante Basco
- PCN: “Kumain tayo kasama ng pamilya (let’s eat with family)”, headlined by Gretchen Carvajal
- Began our philanthropic mission with ReGeneration International Inc.
- Over the years, FASO has raised thousands of dollars for Regen and collected lots of donations through Facebook fundraisers, food fundraisers, Balikbayan boxes, and more
2020: Covid-19 cancels MFAS/PCN 2020: “Sampaguita: Bloom through adversity”, which was scheduled to have been headlined by Ruby Ibarra
Over the years, FASO has cultivated the Bayanihan spirit through its numerous social events. Playing on the Filpinx culture’s emphasis on food, FASO hosts potlucks and food fundraisers selling halo-halo, turon, lumpia, and tsokolate. FASO also brings together its members and the Madison community with bonding activities, workshops, and collaborations with a variety of other UW-Madison student organizations. FASO prides itself on its ability to educate, connect its members to the larger Filpino community, and further its connection to the Filipino culture. To do so, the organization participates in the Filpino-Americans Coming Together (FACT) conference, the Midwest Filipino-American Summit (MFAS), the Battle of the Bamboo, and more. FASO works to provide a safe space for all by discussing our shared experiences and enriching our knowledge of the Filipino culture.
“Trying to both blend in the larger dominant society yet celebrate my ethnic and racial background. It's hard for those that are part of a majority to understand that. … What a great thing if we could gather more of us together. We got to talking and she said that she wanted to start an FilAm student organization and wanted me to be part of it. We both knew several other FilAms at UW and got the word out.“ - Eric Viernes
“I really wanted to connect with other Filipino students. FASO drew in Filipino students that I may not have ever met. It was so easy to develop a camaraderie with the other Filipino students, from our similar upbringings to our love of Filipino foods. At a university where you can feel overwhelmed by the immense size of the student population, I appreciated FASO for the sense of family and belonging it gave me.” - Eileen Viernes Pliszka