Barkada Barangay bursts with cultural flair

By Jared Wolf
Correspondent

From a cappella and war dances to Filipino-American YouTube sensations and martial arts, there was a wide array of performances that made Barkada Barangay a special night. Over 200 students gathered at the Brower Student Center on Saturday Nov. 22, for the culture show designed to showcase Filipino culture and traditions.

The College’s Barakda club hopes to share Filipino culture and heritage through events like Barangay where students can participate in activities. (Photo courtesy of Sheena Lu)
The College’s Barakda club hopes to share Filipino culture and heritage through events like Barangay where students can participate in activities. (Photo courtesy of Sheena Lu)

In its seventh year as an organization, TCNJ’s Barkada hosted a 2014 Barangay filled with fun, food and festivity. Barangay began at the College in 2007 as a scripted show and has since morphed into the elaborately decorated, talent-filled celebration that it is today. In Tagalog, the Filipino language, Barkada Barangay means “a small village of friends.” Throughout the evening, the name of the event spoke for itself. There was a clear sense of intimacy between the performers in each of the acts.

Anjelikah Tengelics, a junior and public relations member of the Barkada executive board, did all of the advertisements and even choreographed one of the Tinikling routines. She was beyond excited for this year’s event.

“It’s a lot of fun … and alumni come back years after they graduate to meet new members,” Tengelics said. “People’s families come out, friends from other schools come out, and it’s just a really great way to showcase Filipino-American culture.”

The night commenced with Arianne Ramos, a sophomore and Barkada treasurer, with her moving rendition of the Filipino national anthem. The anthem was followed by performances by the College’s a cappella group, the Treblemakers, and a demonstration of different styles of Filipino martial arts such as Kali, Eskrima and Arnis by the Princeton Academy of Martial Arts. YouTube sensations and singer/songwriters Eileen Young and Arejay Ella showed off their vocal ranges, individually performing several popular Filipino songs.

Throughout the night, students are treated to various performances such as a duet by Eileen Young on vocals and Dave Nacianceno on guitar. (Photo courtesy of Ana Veloso)
Throughout the night, students are treated to various performances such as a duet by Eileen Young on vocals and Dave Nacianceno on guitar. (Photo courtesy of Ana Veloso)

The College’s Circus Club made a lasting impression during the night with various acts of juggling, hula hooping, dancing and acrobatics. Several authentic Filipino dishes were served at intermission, such as Lechon Kawali, a crisp and tasty pork recipe. Then, after dinner was served, the male members of Barkada performed Maglalatik, a traditional Filipino dance and constant favorite at 4every Barangay event.

“The males in the club dance shirtless while hitting coconuts on their bodies. It’s a fun dance that always makes people smile,” senior international studies major and Barkada president Lauren Lalicon said.

Maglalatik, which originated in Binan, Laguna, is a war dance that depicts a fight between the Moros and the Christians over leftover coconut milk that has been boiled.

The night concluded with a demonstration of Tinikling and a performance by pop singer Katja. In performing Tinikling, dancers mimic the moves of Tikling birds as they walk between grass stems, run over tree branches and dodge bamboo traps set by rice farmers. Tinikling is hailed as the Philippine national dance. At the end of the evening, Katja was backed by the sweet vocals of her younger sister and a band of multi-talented friends.

By the end of the evening, Barkada was visibly proud of how the night turned out.

“Barangay, to me, is a way to bring more awareness to the Filipino community at TCNJ,” Lalicon said. “The event is a celebration of our culture — a mix of old and new, as seen through our delicious cuisine and our modern twist on traditional Filipino dances.”