On Saturday night, Kababayan held their 25th annual Pilipino Cultural Night at the Bren Events Center. Over 2,000 UCI students, friends and family came to see the show and celebrate their heritage.
Al Preclaro, a second-year social science major, came with his girlfriend to reflect back on his cultural history.
‘In America, we tend to lose track of our culture, our history, and our roots and it’s amazing that Kababayan would put on such a program that would allow us to take a step back from all the technology and advancement and actually look at our roots and see where we came from,’ Preclaro said.
This year’s show, entitled ‘Awit ng Puso’ or ‘Song of the Heart’ took a year to prepare and a cast and crew of over 250 people.
The pre-show started off with an energetic performance by Kababayan’s alumni hip-hop dance team, Kaba Modern Legacy, who did not fail to give a performance with amazing choreography that even incorporated some swing into their usual hip-hop style.
The show finally started with the PCN choir singing ‘America the Beautiful.’ Afterwards, everyone rose in observance as the choir sang the national anthem of the Philippines, ‘Lupang Hinirang.’
With a storyline about a young college student who is trying to figure out his purpose in life, he discovers that he must go back and learn about his cultural history to first find out who he truly is.
With flashbacks, the skit incorporated song and dance from the Pilipino culture. They had everything from an ethnic dance, which told the story of a rural day in the Philippines, to dances from festivals, parties and even from the tradition of a girl’s debut as she comes of age.
Sean Alcantara, a second-year electrical engineering major, was one of the dancers in the Rural Suite and a member of the PCN choir who was extremely excited to be performing in front of the audience.
‘PCN and other culture nights are important to keep the traditions of our ancestry alive as well as make friendships within each suite and dance. These performances show the unity and strength within each culture and allow people from different cultures and origins to experience what each culture has to offer,’ Alcantara said.
Interspersed between the performances were commercials, which were spoofs of movies such as ‘Kill Bill’ and ‘Harry Potter’ to show the Pilipino culture in a more comical manner.
Of course, the show educated people as well. Fidela Bouathong, a first-year art history major, did not know anything about the Gabriela Network before the show.
‘During the commercial, when they showed the sex-trafficking and the mail-order brides, it was really shocking and I was set aghast by it,’ Bouathong said.
The skit concluded with the young college student finally realizing his dream and his purpose in life. He listened to the ‘song in his heart’ with the help of his family and friends.
‘I really liked the skit because I think it truly shows the importance of one’s family in the Pilipino culture, a reaffirmation of family importance and realizing that what matters are the people around you who care for you truly, and how beautiful the culture is,’ said Michelle Obusan, a second-year psychology and social behavior major who attended PCN with her roommates.
The show ended with a performance of ‘That’s What Friends are For’ sung by the PCN choir.
Michelle Pruna, a second-year criminology, law and society major, agrees that Kababayan succeeded in an educational night that celebrated the Filipino culture.
‘I actually feel proud to be a Pilipino here because you never see your culture and it just brings you back home,’ Pruna said.
Willard Lacro, fourth-year biological science major, PCN co-coordinator and president-elect of Kababayan, commented on what it was like to help organize the event.
‘You always want to think of ways to be innovative