Club Spotlight: WOOF

Welcome to Club Spotlight, a series where we’re looking at different clubs all across Western’s campus! Want your club to be featured next? Email us at [email protected] for more information!

This week we sat down with Gian Caliao, former Cultural Director of the Western Ontario Organization of Filipinos (WOOF).

WOOF is a student organization committed to preserving the Filipino Culture, both traditional and contemporary, using four pillars: Culture, Community, Charity and the Arts. Their mission is to encourage friendship and unity, promote Filipino culture at Western, encourage acceptance through positive, active participation in the community and serve as an open form for ideas and issues concerning Filipino culture and identity.

1. What’s your role in the club?

“As a Cultural Director, I was responsible for grounding the club and its members to the Filipino roots in collaboration with the President. I planned and organized cultural events pertaining to the Filipino Culture, researched and shared cultural, traditional and historical information with the organization's members, Western and the London community, choreographed traditional dances and exposed the members of the club to the rich culture and heritage of the Philippines. My ultimate aim was to connect the Filipino Culture with the rest of the world through Western just as how the Filipinos connect with each other despite being divided by the 7,100 islands of the Philippines.”

2. What’s one initiative your club is undertaking this year that you’re excited about?

“This year, we are celebrating our 15th anniversary of running our annual Barrio Festival at the King's College Theatre on Friday, March 15 at 7 p.m.! It is a showcase of the many Filipino dances, cultural and modern, with a twist! We have been working on this production since the beginning of the fall term, and I'm so excited to show everyone what rich heritage and culture the Philippines offers. Also, sadly, it would be my final year performing with the club—my university family, in fact—because I would be graduating at the end of this year. But what better way than to end with a blast and celebrate the 15th anniversary of WOOF's Barrio, right?”

3. Why should people join your club?

“Our club welcomes EVERYONE. This means, it does not matter what your gender, beliefs, major, colour, ethnicity, hobbies or whether you dance or not. It does not matter if you're Filipino or not. Half of us aren't. We welcome everyone, and members who join become part of the family. Once you join, you belong, even after you graduate. Families don't forget the members who move on. This club is the same.”

    Photo courtesy of WOOF.

4. What opportunities are there for people to get involved with your club?

“Joining this club gives people the opportunity to take leadership roles: from first year reps to directors and core executive members. Also, there are lots of opportunities to make friends and get to know the members of the club through social events such as Halo-Halloween, G Night, Ate-Kuya Night, and much more. Finally, members have the opportunity to express their creativity: through any art form—creating a production, dancing with the WOOF Dance Crew, performing at Barrio, creating props for Barrio, etc.”

Speed Round:

Tims or Starbucks: Starbucks!

Go-to Spoke Order: Buffalo wings and fries

Fave London Party Spot: Anyone's house lol

Study Spot: The Starbucks Lounge at UCC (WOOF unofficial hangout/study spot)

Fave London Restaurant: My house (my parents make great food and I make desserts 😉). Everyone is welcome

King Richie's, yes or no? Nah, it's ok

To find out more about WOOF, you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram or email them at [email protected].

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