Club Profile: FSA connects on Filipino time

Noor Ashouri

Anna Santiago is a criminal justice major and a member of FSA. Photo from Facebook.
Anna Santiago is a criminal justice major and a member of FSA. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Anna Santiago is called to the front to be auctioned off. She is wearing a black leather jacket, snowman fleece pajama pants, and high heels. She takes off her leather jacket as she walks to the front of the room and throws it to the floor, with a smile.

She takes off her snowman fleece pajama pants to reveal a little black dress. Strapless. Fitted. Cinched with a belt.

Anna is a criminal justice major so she knows how to break the law, the auction host says. And with that, the bidding on Anna begins.

Before the bidding started, Anna was walking around in her snowman pajama pants, wondering who is going to buy her. She had already let me in on her secret that she would be taking them off.

Anna is a member of the Filipino Student Association. FSA hopes to spread Filipino culture throughout UNF and the Jacksonville community. Events like the Valentines Date Auction: Asian Edition, where people can bid for a date with officers from three different Asian clubs, are a way of doing that.

The first taste of Filipino culture was the event’s 15-minute delay, a tardiness to some but on-time for Filipinos.

“To let you know, it’s going to start late…Filipino time,” someone passing by told me.

FSA president Patrick Lumang is a business finance senior. Photo by Noor Ashouri.
FSA president Patrick Lumang is a business finance senior. Photo by Noor Ashouri.

Patrick Lumang, president of FSA, said the best part of FSA is the friendliness, family feel, and fun that comes naturally from the club’s bond. These qualities came through when Jeanelle Bantigue, vice president of FSA, was auctioned off.

Jeanelle is a psychology major so she can read your mind, the auction host said.

Her boyfriend, Ian MacArthur, bid on her immediately. Others started bidding against him, as if they knew he would pay any price for a date with his girl. Finally, he won, walked towards the front and threw his bidding tickets in the air as he caught Jeanelle in his arms.

Ian became the historian for FSA after Jeanelle said she brought him over to join the FSA family.

Jeanelle said when coming into college two weeks after graduation as a scared freshman, FSA was there to take her along with no questions asked or judgments.

Jeanelle, who also works at LUSH at Town Center, said FSA really is all about sharing the Filipino culture. Jeanelle has a strong connection with her roots. She visited the Philippines every year as a kid. One of her favorite parts of the culture is the YouTube craze.

“For some reason we’re so attracted to that,” Jeanelle said. “They [Filipino people] like to be a part of something. Seeing YouTube people is almost like seeing your friends.”

FSA vice president Jeanelle Bantigue is a psychology senior. Photo by Noor Ashouri.
FSA vice president Jeanelle Bantigue is a psychology senior. Photo by Noor Ashouri.

And, the YouTube craze has found its way to FSA.

For the past five years, FSA has held a Gawad Kalinga benefit concert to raise money for people in poverty (“gawad kalinga” means “to give care”). They’ve reached out to YouTube stars like Roi and Alex of Wassabi Productions to be part of the cause. This year it was Kat Badar who came in from California and two members of Mitchell Grey from New York. The YouTube stars stayed at Jeanelle’s house.

And no, you don’t have to be Filipino to join the club.

“That’s one of the biggest questions we get,” Patrick said. “We’re open to everyone.”

Email Noor Ashouri at [email protected]