The Filipino Student Association held its first Palabok and Lumpia event Oct. 26 on Cruz Plaza to raise money for the club to fund future events on campus and for the potential to travel to state-wide FSA events.
Mercer’s FSA chapter became an official club in April of 2022 and is currently in its first year of events. The club held the Palabok and Lumpia stand to promote Filipino cultural food and to raise money for the club to host more activities in the future.
At the stand, students lined up at a table near the Stetson School of Business on Cruz Plaza to receive their plates of palabok and lumpia. FSA President Moriah Chariz Cabadin '25 described the items being served and the different ways to prepare them.
“We [served] ‘palabok,’ which is a Filipino noodle dish with shrimp sauce, pork, chicharrón and one egg with green onion garnished on top,” Cabadin said. “We also had two types of egg rolls, which we call ‘lumpia,’ so we have pork and vegetable egg rolls.”
Cabadin emphasized that much of the food served during the palabok and lumpia event holds significance in various ways in Filipino culture.
“In the Philipines, long noodles signify a long life,” Cabadin said. “This is not just for palabok, but for other noodle dishes we have for Christmas or New Year. Lumpia is very much a staple dish, so if you ever go to a Filipino gathering or Filipino party, there will be trays of lumpia.”
The money the food stand raised will also help the club to cover the cost of travel, tickets and any other additional fees for state-wide events from the University of Georgia, Kennesaw State University and Georgia Tech’s FSA. These events showcase Filipino culture through songs and dances.
Though FSA is a Filipino organization, they welcome anyone from other cultures to join the club and participate in events. Dhrumil Patel '26 welcomed how accepting the club has been since he found out about it at Bear Fair earlier in the semester.
“Moriah’s super friendly, and you can have a conversation with her any time,” Patel said. “Vincent is also super outgoing and easy to talk to. Ervin, Mokshitha and Valeria are like freshmen mentors that give good advice on what classes to take and things to do on campus or out in Macon. They’re like having older cousins or siblings that help you have the best experience you can.”
Mokshitha Katkoori '25 is in charge of running the Instagram account for the club, as well as creating the posters the club uses to advertise its events. For example, during Filipino American History Month, Katkoori posted fun facts and trivia to engage the club’s followers.
Though she is not Filipino, she thinks the club is fun and interesting. Katkoori and Patel both mentioned that FSA has a friendly, family atmosphere to help its members feel involved and discover something new.
“From a non-Filipino perspective, it’s been really fun learning more about the culture,” Katkoori said. “I feel like you don’t really learn much about it or it doesn’t have a culture that’s widely talked about. But it feels like it’s a very rich culture and I’m excited to learn more about it while I’m in the club.”
The overall goal for the Palabok and Lumpia event reflects FSA’s own goals: to introduce Mercer students to various aspects of Filpino culture. The club hopes to unify students of Filipino heritage and other cultural backgrounds to learn more about traditions, food, language and values related to the Philippines.
“I’m really grateful for all of the support that our organization has been getting from the members, people on campus and other FSA chapters like Georgia Tech and UGA,” Cabadin said. “I’m just glad we have such a good support system and [our events] have been getting a really great turnout so far.”