by KC Doman
Catholic University’s Filipino Organization of Catholic University Students hosted their annual Philippine Culture Night on Saturday, April 1, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Edward J. Pryzbyla Center.
Before the group’s main event of the night, an original play called Hindi Nagiisa: A Journey Home, the Filipino Organization of Catholic
University Students handed the spotlight over to several other clubs on campus. The evening commenced with an extensive pre-show which featured numerous performances from groups including Take Note A Cappella, CUA rock band twosome “watersdeep,” Red Line A Cappella, and CUA rap duo “Melanated and Educated.”
An authentic Filipino dinner was provided to all the audience members. Featured dishes included Lumpia, which are Filipino egg rolls, Pancit Bihon, rice noodles with pork, chicken, shrimp and vegetables, and Lechon Kawali, which is boiled and deep fried pork belly with lechon sauce.
Two unique dessert options were also offered. The main performance was preceded by remarks from a representative from the Embassy of the Philippines.
“Tonight’s show is not just about performance. It’s about who you are, your ideas, your talent, your commitment, your openness – the best in you.” said Patrick A. Chuasoto, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. of the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines.
Following the remarks from various individuals and the performances from other groups, the play commenced. Hindi Nagiisa: A Journey Home was written by Catherine Chan and Christiana Mendoza, among others, and was directed largely by Abbey Werner. The plot followed a Filipino immigrant mother and her daughter, and focused on the struggles of their relationship as well as on the daughter’s difficulty identifying with both Philippine and American cultures.
“This year, our show focuses on the importance of family and understanding where we come from, in order to be thankful for all that we have been blessed with.” said Catherine Chan, junior mechanical engineering major and one of the Cultural Directors of F.O.C.U.S.
Audience members considered the play both entertaining and pertinent.
“Since the main character was half Filipino, just as I am half Nigerian, I found that her struggles were relatable. The play, along with the entire night emphasized how people should be proud of their culture and learn more about it.” said freshman Hispanic studies major Mercy Adoga.
“The best part about being in a cultural student organization is having that sense of community with other CUA students.” said junior nursing major Victor Sotelo, President of F.O.C.U.S. “Of course, the organization emphasizes Filipino culture (and many of our members are Filipino) but along with the culture comes a sense of family. I think this is a very unique aspect of being in any cultural organization.”
Spirits of enthusiasm and vitality remained continuous in the members of F.O.C.U.S. throughout the night. Students in the organization spent months planning the evening and were thrilled to see their dedication finally pay off.
“My favorite part about tonight was seeing everything come together. For the audience, what they see for a handful of hours in one evening is the culmination of months of planning, practicing, coordinating, and rehearsing.” said Sotelo. “Personally, I was most excited to have so many people in attendance! It was very rewarding to have not only CUA students in attendance, but also alumni, parents, and the Philippine Embassy.”
Filipino Organization of Catholic University Students is an active organization on campus, and has words of encouragement for those who may be interested but aren’t particularly familiar with the club. PCN is the group’s biggest event of the year, but the club does not take breaks in between hosting their major events. President Sotelo says: “we meet every other week and you don’t have to be Filipino to join!”