The main community space at Kultura Pilipina is the Kuya Willem’s Hall. It is named after Willem Geertman, a Dutch solidarity worker who lived in the Philippines for more than three decades. “Kuya” is a Tagalog word for “big brother” and is used to express respect and fondness. Willem was well-loved and accepted by people in the communities that he had served and worked with.
Willem supported the struggles of poor peasants, workers and indigenous people. He was a vocal defender of the poor and a courageous environmental advocate. In July, 3, 2012, he was murdered. Many believe that he was killed for taking the side of peasants and indigenous people against corporate mining, logging and other projects that adversely affect the lives and livelihood of the poor.