The Portland State Kaibigan Filipino American Student Association held its 11th annual cultural night in the Smith Memorial Student Union ballroom for a crowd of over 400 students, staff, faculty and community members. May marks Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Kaibigan kicked off the month with a well-executed, vibrant showcase of Filipino culture on April 30.
“Kaibigan’s goal as an organization is to broaden the diversity PSU is known for through political, social and cultural events,” Guillen said Patrick Guillen, Kaibigan president.
The theme for this year’s festivities was Luz Vi Minda—abbreviations of the three main islands of the Philippines: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. With this theme, the overarching concept was, as Guillen described, “[For] people to go through the three main islands with us, as if they’re going on a vacation with us for that day.” The vacation theme was evident in the TSA-inspired ticket lines with the members of Kaibigan dressed as flight attendants and TSA agents.
The idea of going on a trip was also incorporated into the performances and the structure of the program.
Performances began with a video showing a son asking his Filipino mother her experiences growing up in the Philippines. He then “goes on a trip to the Philippines,” which is when the performance began. Once “in the Philippines,” the audience went on the “more fun in the Philippines” tour where they were shown prominent landmarks in the Philippines.
Members of Kaibigan then introduced the audience to numerous traditional dances from across the Philippines, all of which were beautifully choreographed and performed in various traditional outfits. Another cultural aspect from the night was various Filipino food staples such as chicken adobo and lumpia, among many other dishes.
When asked about the amount of time it took Kaibigan to plan out such an extravagant event, Guillen explained that Kaibigan started to think of the concept of Luz Vi Minda during winter term and everything assembled throughout spring term. In total, the event has been about five months of preparation in the making.
Audience members said it was enlightening to see what Kaibigan went through in order to bring a snippet of Filipino culture to Portland.