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The Minnesota Daily

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Show at U honors Filipino traditions

Coconuts clicked and traditional Tagalog music played Saturday in the St. Paul Student Center’s theater as it glowed with the vibrant colors of the Filipino flag.

To break down the walls of misunderstanding and reaffirm its U.S. identity, the Philippine Student Association celebrated its history in its 11th-annual variety show. Participants showcased their culture and showed others what it means to be both Filipino and American.

“This year, we wanted to focus more on the culture behind the people,” association President Voltaire Roxas said.

Attendees of various ages, backgrounds and cultures came together to celebrate Filipino cultural traditions and learn of the struggles a bicultural heritage sometimes brings.

Association Vice President Shirley Ragudo said people of other heritages and some high school students were in the show.

Approximately 200 people attended the event, she said. The show was different from many cultural shows, because “it’s not just exclusively for Filipino students who can participate.”

Ragudo said the theme, “Then and Now,” represents “what the Filipino cultural traditions are but then also what a Filipino can do outside of our culture now.”

Roxas said, “We want to show that even though we’re assimilated, we’re still aware of our culture.”

This year’s show was also different from previous years, because it mixed dances of both traditional and modern culture.

Participants performed both serious and humorous skits showcasing some cultural challenges, such as respecting elders, interracial dating, double standards and education.

They showcased cultural gestures such as “mano,” which is taking an elder’s hand to your forehead as a sign of respect.

Ragudo said, “If you don’t do that to your grandparents or your aunts or your uncles, then they kind of see it as disrespect, in some families.”

During a poetry reading, audience members exchanged hugs with their loved ones.

Keynote speaker Barbara Posadas, an American studies visiting professor, spoke about the pride of Filipino culture. She said Filipinos have many more opportunities in the United States today than when her father was a Filipino college student in the United States.

Roxas said educating others about diversity is a long process.

“It can’t be done through one show. It’s a process, and this is just a start,” he said. “Every year, we try to show a different part.”

The show also highlighted the diversity of campus.

“Hopefully, people are more aware of their surroundings – that we all have differences and we can share our differences,” Roxas said. “Hopefully, people get something out of it – to be more understanding of those differences and using them as a tool to improve ourselves and improve our community.”

Roxas and his brother’s acoustic band performed later. The brothers said that they named the band Stolen Summer after their experience leaving the Philippines in 2000.

The band played songs in both English and Tagalog.

Attendee Vaughn McKinney said he was happy he came to the show.

“It gave me a really good feeling about this university, because it has a commitment to diversity,” McKinney said. “That’s one of the hallmarks of the ‘U of M,’ is its cultural diversity.”

He said the show gave him a sense of respect and made him feel he could “relate to them almost like in a family setting.”

“I see that they have the ability to make people outside of their culture feel welcome,” he said.

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