Filipino organization makes its big ‘Debut’

Barkada, the Filipino student organization, held its event “The Debut” on Friday in the Cromwell Hall main lounge. The event was Barkada’s first since being approved by the Student Government Association last spring.

According to Christine Buenafe, junior finance major and treasurer of Barkada, in the Philippines, when a girl reaches the age of 18 she is formally presented to her family, friends and community. This presentation, or “debut,” was the basis of the event. It also served as Barkada’s official introduction to the College’s students.

“As a fairly new club on campus, Barkada felt it was time that we make our presence known by holding our own debut,” Buenafe said. “We used the event to provide glimpses into Filipino and Filipino-American culture using the many talents of our club members. ‘The Debut’ was the first of the many events we hope to hold for the (College’s) community.”

The organization met twice a week for a month to perfect dances and skits that not only reflected the culture of the Philippines, but also showed the Chinese and Spanish influences present in that culture.

Christopher Cheng, sophomore business management major, demonstrated the Chinese yo-yo. The name “yo-yo” may have been derived from the Filipino word “tayoyo” which means “to spin,” according to the organization.

Members of the organization danced the Jota Moncadena, a Spanish-influenced dance. Unión Latina was also present to demonstrate a dance of its own. The performances did not stop there, however.

“My favorite dance would have to be Pandanggo Sa Ilaw,” Lejanie Malong, senior nursing major and secretary of Barkada, said, referring to a performance in which three dancers wore electric candles on their heads and held one in each hand. “Ever since I was a kid, my mom would tell me stories about how she performed the candle dance when she was younger. I was excited to see my peers bring this childhood image to life.”

Between each performance, Barkada members performed skits chronicling a young Filipino woman’s exposure to and acceptance of her culture. After the performances and presentations were completed, attendees had the opportunity to sample traditional Filipino food.

“I thought overall the event was a success,” Jeffrey Mojica, senior biology major and president of Barkada, said. “Attendance exceeded expectations and I thought that we accomplished our goal of exposing (the College’s) community to the Filipino culture.”

Barkada holds weekly meetings on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. in the Pan-Asian Room in the Brower Student Center.