After nearly 20 years of planning, the Philippine Nationality Room opened with flair on June 8.
A day of activities included a formal dedication at Heinz Chapel and Philippine-inspired entertainment and food in the Common Room at the Cathedral of Learning.
The task force, composed of seven members of the local Filipino community, led the planning and fundraising efforts to create the room, according to PittWire. This involved more than 20 years of organizing — including trips to the Philippines for design inspiration.
The new room is reflective of the typical homes of Philippine ancestors, said Tina Purpura, fundraising chair of the Philippine Nationality Room Task Force, who immigrated to the United States from Manila in 1981.
“We want visitors to feel the Filipino hospitality immediately when they enter this room, which reminds me of my grandparents’ home,” she said. “The room really does tell a story of our Filipino culture.”
Architect of record Warren Bulseco and Manila-based room designer Melinda “Popi” Laudico modeled the room after the Quema house in Vigan, Philippines. The room reflects the Bahay na Bato style, which translates to “house of stone,” to make a sturdy home that can outlast the typhoons, earthquakes and floods that regularly impact the islands.
Established in 1926 by then-Chancellor John Bowman, Pitt’s 31 Nationality Rooms are representative of many of the cultural groups that settled Allegheny County.