For the Philippines Club presidency and students, they said their dance at BYU–Hawaii’s Culture Night is all about hope. Amid the pandemic, they expressed they sent a message of gratitude and optimism to all those who work hard to keep the world safe.
The significance of the performance
The Philippines Club President Gerome Romero, a sophomore from the Philippines studying biochemistry, shared their performance consisted of two parts: a contemporary dance and a hip hop dance. The first dance contained a very important message and “is our tribute to those who were affected by the pandemic, but most especially to the essential workers around the world.”
Their hip hop dance was a taste of modern culture, Romero said. “We want to showcase the talent of our people and their characters through our dances.”
The club members’ T-shirts were imprinted with the word “matatag,” meaning resilient, Romero explained. The club showed resilience, he said, by having both virtual and physical practices while maintaining physical distance to ensure everyone’s safety.
Duane Cespedes Pigao and Brandon Kyle Sorilla, both BYUH students from the Philippines, were the choreographers who taught club members the dances for free, Romero explained. “Our performances sent a message of hope and encouragement.”
He said for the club, sharing their culture with others gives them the hope that they will be understood and accepted as Filipinos. Filipino blood is strong and no matter where they are, Romero expressed, they are strong and can overcome challenges together.
Importance of Culture Night
Vice President Joshua Sanchez, a junior from the Philippines studying IT, said, “It is a blessing to be in a diverse school with so many cultures.
“Culture Night is an opportunity for us to show people our talent and culture,” he said. The Philippines Club decided to participate because the members wanted to show support and respect toward BYUH, Sanchez added.
Romero remarked Culture Night “will be a night to remember” and is important to him and to the club members.
“Culture Night is a night we can showcase and share our culture and heritage, not only with BYUH but also with the world,” shared Romero.
He stated even with the COVID-19 restrictions, having the event is a blessing to the students.
Amid the pandemic, the Philippines were struck with floods causing people to lose their homes and properties, Romero explained. He said members of the club were worried about their families back home, but Culture Night was a welcome distraction.
Vice President Mary Anne Lupisan, a senior studying business management, said, “With the ongoing pandemic and changes, we are eager to still participate in Culture Night.”
Club members get a sense of excitement and joy from Culture Night, she shared. “We are grateful to even have Culture Night.”
More photos can be found Ke Alaka'is Facebook page.