Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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NU Kaibigan’s Filipinx Fiesta celebrates Filipino American History Month

Jacob Wendler/Daily Senior Staffer
The event featured traditional Filipino foods and vocal, music and dance performances from Kaibigan members.

Kaibigan hosted approximately 100 students at its annual Filipinx Fiesta Saturday evening to celebrate Filipino American History Month.

Lines flowed outside the door of Parkes Hall as attendees waited to grab plates of traditional Filipino foods before watching vocal, music and dance performances from Kaibigan members. The event concluded with a Kahoot trivia game on Filipino culture and a prize raffle.

Kaibigan Internal President and McCormick junior Gustavo Ballesteros introduced multiple musical acts, ranging from vocal duets in Tagalog to breakup anthems by artists of Filipino descent including Olivia Rodrigo and Bruno Mars.

Members then danced the traditional Pandanggo, balancing lit candles while waltzing. The last performance of the night was the Tinikling, with dancers rhythmically hopping between bamboo poles.

While lifting heavy speakers and coiling cables after the event, Ballesteros mentioned the diverse backgrounds of Filipino-Americans, from those born in the Philippines to those raised in America.

He said his experience planning events for Kaibigan has included meeting many Filipino-American students who are eager to experience and learn new things.

“Being able to help the new freshmen and sophomores find their community on campus gets me going, and helps me plan all these stressful events,” Ballesteros said.

Besides enjoying food and performances, several attendees said they saw the event as a way to connect to their Filipino-American upbringings and identities.

“Kaibigan is a place to find a community,” McCormick freshman Rocelyn Young said.

For Young, who grew up in the Philippines, Filipino-American History Month is a time to reconnect with and remember her family and culture.

Young sought out Kaibigan because Evanston is culturally different from the community she was raised in, she said. She “had to turn to what (she) missed back in the Philippines,” she added.

Weinberg senior Alyanna Arlegui performed Rey Valera’s “Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko,” a love song with Tagalog lyrics, and Olivia Rodrigo’s “the grudge,” alongside Weinberg senior and Kaibigan External President Aidan Ocampo.

Arlegui said her vocal performance was inspired by her childhood.

“I grew up singing karaoke with my family, so I felt like this was the perfect event to sing for the first time in front of people,” she said.

Born in the Philippines, Arlegui said she was looking for a way to connect to her roots. Kaibigan filled that role and allowed her to meet other Filipino students, she said.

For Weinberg sophomore Brian Dinh, unity and connection between communities of color on campus is important. While he’s primarily involved in the Vietnamese Student Association, he said he attended the event to support Kaibigan.

In the San Francisco Bay Area — where Dinh grew up — cultural events and gatherings are fairly common, but he was surprised to find a celebration like the Filipinx Fiesta at Northwestern.

“I decided to go because some of my friends are going, and to help show solidarity for other Southeast Asian organizations on campus,” Dinh said. “Plus, I like the food, and it’s always fun to see traditional dances.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @DinaMiranda_

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