In addition to families and neighborhoods, Filipinos also gather in social, professional, and charitable organizations. Many of these raise funds to assist new arrivals from the Philippines while they settle in Louisiana, to support victims of disasters in the Philippines or in Louisiana, to support favorite charities unrelated to cultural groups, or to support ongoing community activities. One of the earliest important social clubs, with a clubhouse in the Faubourg Marigny area in New Orleans, was the Filipino-American Goodwill Society. According to Rhonda Richoux, new arrivals from the Philippines were quickly welcomed into the local Filipino clubs. The clubs celebrated holidays and maintained customs from the home country, and also embraced local customs. This helped immigrants to learn about new customs by participating in them with fellow Filipinos. One example is Mardi Gras; individual Filipino clubs held their own Mardi Gras balls and elected their own carnival courts. Rhonda Richoux describes the activities of the Filipino-American Goodwill Society, nicknamed "The Flip Club" by its teenaged members, to which her family belonged:
The Silayan Choir is a group of Filipino-American friends, tending now towards senior citizen status, who saw a need for Filipino liturgical music for the many religious gatherings in the community and tried to remedy the situation. We sing with guitar and sometimes keyboard; the more traditionally Filipino pieces are preferably sung with guitar accompaniment. I use a classical guitar with nylon strings and not electric or acoustic. This is a reflection of our Spanish heritage. If we had the means to acquire one, we could use a banduria to reinforce the melody line. [The Filipino banduria is a fourteen-stringed instrument similar to a mandolin.] The group is purely voluntary, largely amateur, and happily Filipino. We favor compositions of contemporary liturgical composers [such as the recently deceased Fr. Eduardo Hontiveros, S.J., who is recognized as the "Father of Filipino Liturgical Music"]. Of course, we have sung secular folk songs for non-liturgical events, as well. For some of these occasions, we have performed to "canned" accompaniment since live instrumentalists are not available.
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Male and female dancers explain that the best performances are those that seamlessly combine Spanish with Filipino dance movements and steps, and that graceful hand gestures are very important because they convey a great deal of the interaction between the woman and her suitors. Catherine Moreau danced la simpatico at the Asian Heritage Festival and at the Philippine Independence Day celebration. She learned it from Elsie Tuazon, who has taught many younger dancers and is valued in the community as someone who keeps traditions alive. Catherine acknowledges that national pride is a primary reason that dance remains important to Filipinos and that she feels the importance of the dance to the audience when she performs for a Filipino group, but she also expresses feelings of joy in movement and in community with other Filipinos and with other dancers:
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It is pretty obvious that teenagers are far off from having our hands full of cash because of lack of experience in money matters, tendency to waste it on unpractical things, and the possibility of getting taken advantage of or robbed by a much more mature adult.
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Out of the shuddering reeds and banneretted grass on either side rise the fantastic houses of the Malay fishermen, posed upon slender supports above the marsh, like cranes or bitterns watching for scaly prey. . . . All are built in true manila style, with immense hat shaped eaves and balconies, but in wood; for it had been found that palmetto and woven cane could not withstand the violence of the climate. Nevertheless, all this wood had to be shipped to the bayou from a considerable distance, for large trees do not grow in the salty swamp. The highest point of land as far as the "Devil's Elbow," three or four miles away, and even beyond it, is only six inches above low-water mark, and the men who built those houses were compelled to stand upon ladders, or other wood frame-work, while driving down the piles, lest the quagmire should swallow them up. . . . There is no woman in the settlement, nor has the treble of a female voice been heard along the bayou for many a long year. Men who have families keep them at New Orleans, or at Proctorville, or at la Chinche. . . . There is no liquor in the settlement, and these hardy fishers and alligator-hunters seem none the worse therefore. [They] live largely upon raw fish, seasoned with vinegar and oil. (Hearn 1883)
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There are valid arguments for the various racially "isolated" clubs in that they provide a support network and common identity for students who might otherwise feel culturally marooned on a campus as large as ours.