For six years now, the London Filipino Center-CIC (LFC-CIC) in the United Kingdom (UK) has been dedicated to promoting Filipino language, arts, culture, sports and recreation.

Founded by long-time UK resident Ricardo Patriarca in 2016, the social enterprise’s mission statement states that it “…adheres to the preservation and promotion of our rich language and culture Filipinas among Filipino expatriates in the UK”.

Its vision statement, meanwhile, states that it “…aspires to make learning about Filipino language, arts and culture effective and meaningful for all learners.”

The main objective of LFC is “to teach the Filipino language, writing system and cultural subjects to young Filipinos from Britain and other nationalities”.

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The idea of ​​opening a Filipino language school was first considered in 2012 when the results of a survey of members of the Filipino community seemed to indicate that there was support for the plan.

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However, when an organizational meeting was held to turn the idea into something concrete, only two families showed up. With the disappointing turnout, the plan was scrapped.

Two years later, in 2014, the organizers slowly promoted the idea using a more indirect approach. They established the Kensai Fitness and Dance Club which offered fitness and dance classes every Sunday.

In 2015, through the fitness club, the organizers fully revived the idea of ​​a Filipino language school. Organizational meetings were again held, and after several months the health club became the CIC Center for Filipino Language, Arts and Events.

The application to register the center as a Community Interest Center (CIC) was submitted to Companies House in May 2016. After several weeks, on June 14, 2016, the Certificate of Incorporation was issued.

But several members of the organization felt that the original name was too long and difficult to remember. Through a resolution of the Board of Directors, the name was changed to London Filipino Center CIC. The name change was approved by Companies House on July 8, 2016.

The center lists among its objectives:

  • To teach the Filipino language, Baybayin (the beautiful pre-colonial script of the Philippines, which belongs to the family of Brahmic scripts originating in India and was widely used in Luzon and other parts of the Philippines before being replaced by the alphabet during Spanish colonization) and cultural topics to British Filipino youth and other nationalities, enabling them to learn, appreciate and preserve the rich heritage of the Philippines;
  • Provide facilities such as Filipino language, baybayin, Filipino folk dances and folk traditions, sports and recreation classes;
  • Provide cultural concerts, performances and special Filipino religious celebrations; and
  • Assist local authorities in translating and participating in multicultural programs and community events.
The London Filipino Center CIC, in partnership with the Filipino Association Gloucestershire, launched a series of Filipino language courses in Gloucestershire in 2019

The London Filipino Center CIC, in partnership with the Filipino Association Gloucestershire, launched a series of Filipino language courses in Gloucestershire in 2019

Among the objectives of the center are:

  • To develop young Filipinos in the UK who can speak, read and write Filipino fluently;
  • Educate communities about Filipino culture through art, music, dance, history, sports and recreation;
  • Expand global acceptance of the Filipino language in the community and in commerce;
  • Instill in children a sense of identity and self-esteem;
  • Develop the Philippine GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) as part of community languages ​​taught in secondary school.

On September 10, 2016, the center officially opened its first Filipino language class for children with 16 students. The course was held at St. Pius Parish Center Hall, the Triangle, Norbington. But, as the number of students increased, the class had to be moved to a larger location. On October 1, 2016, the course was held at Kingston University, Thames.

The center’s course offerings are:

  • Beginner Filipino (Parts 1 and 2)
  • Elementary Filipino (Parts 1 and 2)
  • Intermediate Filipino (Parts 1 and 2)
  • Baybayin design and culture
  • Online courses for beginners in filipino

The center operates over two semesters. All Filipino courses are 12 weeks per term in two-hour sessions. The Beginner, Elementary and Intermediate Filipino courses are divided into two parts and follow the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Launch of the Filipino Language Center at United Reform Church, New Malden in 2016

Launch of the Filipino Language Center at United Reform Church, New Malden in 2016

LFC offers a five-week course in the Filipino Indigenous Writing System. The Baybayin Design and Culture class aims to promote awareness and acceptance of the Filipino writing system.

All language courses take place on Saturdays and Sundays.

On October 14, 2017, the center held its first Beginner Filipino Adult Course with 10 students at St. John’s Church, Notting Hill Gate, London. Due to increased demand, two additional classes were created for 26 children and 24 adult learners.

Classes are now held at Kingston University for children and Notting Hill for adults.

In mid-2018, the Center opened its first Filipino language class for children, with 16 students initially, in Gloucestershire in conjunction with the Gloucestershire Filipino Association.

Other services offered by the center are:

  • Online Filipino lessons (children and adults)
  • Tutorial (individual)
  • Translation
  • dance workshop
  • Baybayin Workshop

Due to the increase in demand for Filipino language courses in the UK, the

LFC, in partnership with the Filipino Association Gloucestershire, launched a series of Filipino language courses in Gloucestershire which ran until July 2019.

Around 30 pupils, aged 8 to 15, from Gloucester, Tewkesbury and Cheltenham attended the first lesson. Most of the students were second and third generation Filipinos born in the UK.

Junart Nieva, head teacher at LFC and one of the group’s directors, said, “I feel empowered by the enthusiasm shown by parents and children. Talagang gusto nilang matuto (they really want to learn).”

Having Filipino language courses in Gloucestershire was a dream come true, said Raymond Padilla, chairman of the Gloucestershire Filipino Association. The Filipino language courses held in Gloucester were the first to be held outside of London.

“Learning a language is essential to deepening one’s understanding of a particular culture,” said Ambassador Antonio M. Lagdameo. “By making our language more accessible to everyone in the UK, we invite them to learn more about our culture, our heritage and how we see the world.”

The ultimate goal of the center is to make the Filipino language a recognized subject in the UK that is taught in secondary schools across the country like other world languages.

LFC has another ambitious goal. While it is making significant strides in promoting knowledge and appreciation of the Filipino language and culture, it also hopes to serve the people of the native country. Her long-term goal is to establish the LFC Scholarship Fund for underprivileged and indigent children in the Philippines.

By conferring the Banaag Award on the London Filipino Center CIC (LFC CIC), President Rodrigo Roa Duterte recognizes its utmost dedication to the preservation and enhancement of the Filipino language and Filipino culture among Filipino communities overseas -sea to London and the rest of the UK.