I Am A Filipino And This is How We Cook


                                            Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad                                                   2019 James Beard Foundation Book Award Finalist

MAY 5, 2019, Bedford, MA

Nicole Ponseca, book author, entrepreneur/restaurant owner visited Iskwelahang Pilipino on a regular Sunday session. She judged the annual ‘Lutuan cook-off” along with another food author, Regina Tolentino Newport, as they inspired our future chefs with encouraging words. Nicole later sat down with the community and talked about her pride growing up as a Filipino-American in San Diego and now living in the East making Filipino food mainstream in the culinary world with her new book, I Am A Filipino and This is How we Cook, a 2019 James Beard Foundation Book Award finalist.



2018 Graduates

May, 20, 2018,  John Glenn Middle School, Bedford, MA

Iskwelahang Pilipino closed its 42nd year of operation with another heartwarming ceremony showcasing the Rondalla recital, dance performances from the annual NEFFA festival, Class presentations (“I am a Pilipino-American” by the Ilang-Ilang group, “Chikading” by Binhi class, “Nipa Hut” song by Sampa/Bonifacio group). The Senior presentations (“Ang Pagong at Matsing” paper cut story by Ceci Villasenor; “the Seniors” slide presentation by Donny Deking; and a “My Way” rendition by Parker Fisher) followed with an eclectic mix revealing their nostalgic presence at IP.

After the presentations, we honored six graduates: Lizzie Clarkson, Donny Deking, Parker FIsher, Jaenald Javier, Hollie Lane-Smith, Ceci Villasenor. They each roasted each other with touching introductions.

At the end of the ceremony, IP witnessed the “passing the baton” leadership.The community thanked Bebs Sipin for her service as Executive Director. She handed the proverbial “baton”, a symbolic clip board, to Myra Liwanag (an alum, mother, and wife of Paul Castro, another IP alum).

Of course behind every great woman is her man. We also thanked Jondi Sipin for his devotion to IP as the Lutuan volunteer teacher, the chef-BBQ master at Lowell and many other technical contributions to IP.

Salamat to all the volunteer teachers and staff who’s passion made IP another great year.

Congratulations and Mabuhay to all!


2017 Graduates

May 14, 2017, Bedford Massachusetts, It was Mother’s Day, the Spring Nor’easter rains came down in buckets, but the annual closing ceremonies and IP Graduation show still  happened! An exciting IP Sunday at the John Glenn Middle School in Bedford, MA

We sent our best wishes to kuyas and ates: George Bailey, Carsyn Fisher, Janrey Javier, and Katrina Sipin as they leave IP’s home halls and into the bigger academic campuses  of Boston College (George), Fordham University (Carsyn), Umass Boston (Janrey) and Syracuse University (Katrina).

All the best to our seniors!

We will miss you.

Looking forward to seeing you in the summer (Lowell) and  winter (Pasko na naman) breaks.

Come home to us.



A show-and-tell project of Iskwelahang Pilipino. “Kahon” means “box”.

The Kahon is filled with Filipiniana icons for the children to bring into their classroom or school fairs to promote the Filipino culture. Like a library book, the family borrows the Kahon for their special event and returns the box once their presentation is done.

A sample of one of the the icons is the Bahay kubo, nipa hut.

WOW Mindanao!


2016-2017 School Theme.

Iskwelahang Pilipino’s school year curriculum for 2016-17 started with a theme called WOW MINDANAO! The school concentrated on the Pilipino culture from the people in Mindanao. At the annual NEFFA (New England Folk Festival) festival in April 2017, each class group will perform a dance from different regions down south. The Ilang-Ilang class will perform a dance about Pomelos called, SUA-KU-SUA, from Jolo; the Sampaguita class will perform the KAPA-MALONG-MALONG , a traditional Maranao dance; the Bonificio group will dance PANGALAY, a Tausug dance from the Sulu Archipelago, and the Rizal group will dance the KATSUDORATAN, the royal manner of walking from Lake Lanao.

The children were also taught how to play instruments from the south: the kulintang (set of gongs), the gabbang (wooden xylophone), the agung (gong) and dabakan (drum) by Christi-Anne Castro, (IP Alum and Music Director of the IP Rondalla Ensemble) who visited and taught for a day. Christi-Anne flew in from Michigan where she is a faculty member (Associate Professor, Ethnomusicology) at the University of Michigan’s School of Music.



February 27, 2017, IP Alum, Sam Oglesby was a contestant on Jeopardy on WBZ-TV (CBS affiliate). Sam is the oldest son of Suzette Oglesby, Bahay Pinoy (Arts and Crafts) volunteer teacher and Jim (IP father and active IP Caroler). The IP community was rooting for Sam who did a brilliant job keeping pace with the other 2 contestants.

Sam told Jeopardy host, Alex Trebec, about how he would pretend to be the TV game show Mr. Trebec when he was younger. He prepared the questions and answers for his family (father, mother and brother, Scott) to play the game.

GO Sam!


Lutuan Cook-off


December 4, 2016 IP’s first Lutuan cook-off. IMG_9044

6 teams. Winners all.
One stand out competitor was thinking-out-of-the-box! White chocolate champorado with bacon bits (salty & sweet), rice crispies (texture) and “chocNuts” sprinkles (novelty). Innovative. Thoughtful. Well played.

Other yummy entries included a complete Tapsilog Breakfast, Lumpia, Ensaymada and Mamon. Congratulations to all the chefs!

Tiangge 2016

Save the date for the Annual “Tiangge”

on Saturday, November 11.19.16, at the St. Brigid’s Church, Lexington, MA

Mom-trepreneurs selling their crafts from the kitchen stove, jewelry studio and many more vendors from the New England area. Shop, eat and greet fellow Pinoys at IP’s TIangge.



2 Million & Change Grant


Iskwelahang Pilipino Chosen by Staples Associate to Receive $3500 Grant

Iskwelahang Pilipino Selected by Local Associate to Receive Staples Foundation Grant

Bedford, MA June 9, 2016 – Iskwelahang Pilipino has been awarded $3500 by Staples Foundation, the private charitable arm of Staples, Inc., through a program called 2 Million & Change that allows Staples associates around the globe to direct more than $2 million in donations each year. 

Upon receiving an email from the Staples Community and Giving Team with the good news, Iskwelahang Pilipino’s Executive Director, Maria (Bebs) Sipin says, “The grant money will help support IP’s mission of instilling cultural pride among Filipino-American students and at the same time developing a sense of community by sharing and teaching our Philippine culture to others.”

Created in 2012, the 2 Million & Change program is a philanthropic initiative which allows Staples associates around the world to direct funding to non-profit organizations focused on academic education or job skills. The program encourages local community engagement by awarding larger grants to organizations where associates are highly engaged in volunteering or fundraising – up to $25,000 per organization.

In 2015, Staples awarded more than $2.5 million in grants to 875 local organizations in support of education and job skills programs, including job readiness for homeless individuals, career exploration for high school students, academic scholarships, mentoring and more.

“For 30 years, Staples associates have been making a difference in their communities around the world,” said John Burke, chief culture officer, Staples, Inc., “We’re thrilled that the 2 Million & Change program lets our associate make an even greater impact on the organizations they are passionate about.”

The Staples associate who recommended IP is Rowena Sy-Santos. Rowena is also a mother and volunteer at Iskwelahang Pilipino.


About Staples Community and Giving

Staples contributes to educational and job-related community efforts with a primary focus on disadvantaged youth, from literacy and mentoring to career skills development, through in-kind and monetary donations and grants from Staples Foundation, the private charitable arm of Staples, Inc. Through its community and giving efforts, Staples has helped thousands of organizations in 26 countries. For more information, visit www.staples.com/community.



We’re 40 and We’re FABulous!

Bedford, MA, May 29, 2016, Bedford High School Auditorium.

IP turned 40. For the Anniversary celebration, IP mashed up contemporary American pop hits to traditional Filipino folk dances on the first half of the show. IP Rondalla also celebrated its 30th birthday with a Bicol Epic called, The Ibalon.

Photos by Charlie Castro and Patricia Yusah