Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Filipino Student Association hosts its first ever Bayanihan Ball

FSA offers a taste of Filipino spirit and culture
Kalina Kornacki/ Daily Collegian (2023)

On the evening of April 28, the Filipino Student’s Association (FSA) held its first-ever Bayanihan Ball, featuring various student organizations and independent artists.

“[The] Bayanihan ball is a celebration of community and cooperation. The biggest part of Bayanihan is that whether you are Filipino or not, whether you’ve been to all our events or a couple, we come together to celebrate our people. We give a taste [of Filipino culture] to UMass in our first big event with Filipino performances and food,” said FSA President Audrey Gabriel, a microbiology and public health sciences major.

The ball opened with welcoming remarks from the FSA’s senior executive board members. The executive board and several guests were seen wearing traditional Filipino clothing, a barong for men and a filipiña for women.

Appetizers were served in the form of the pandesal, inspired by “pan de suelo,” a local Spanish-Filipino version of the French baguette.

Several Filipino entrees were served to the guests of the ball. Pancit bihon is a thin rice noodle dish fried with soy sauce, fish sauce, citrus and a variety of chopped meats and vegetables, a fusion of Spanish and Chinese cuisine. Lumpia, a dish commonly found in Indonesia and the Philippines, is a variation of the Chinese spring roll. It is primarily composed of chopped meats and vegetables.

The dining experience closed with Filipino desserts. Biko is a sweet rice cake made from coconut milk, brown sugar, ginger and glutinous rice. Ube ice cream, a guest favorite, was created when American soldiers introduced ice cream to the country during their occupation. Using the local purple yam, Filipinos combined local ingredients with ice cream to create a new sweet ice cream flavor.

Once guests finished dining, several performers from Boston University’s FSA, UMass FSA’s executive board and K-Pop Dance Club (KDC) performed traditional and Filipino pop dances.

“Tinikling,” performed by both BU FSA and UMass FSA, is a traditional Filipino folk dance that originated during the Spanish colonial era. Two performers hold bamboo poles on the ground, coordinating hits and taps with one or more dancers performing between the poles. It is traditionally danced to rondolla; an ensemble performance of string instruments originating from Spain.

After the traditional performance, both BU and UMass’ FSA incorporated a modern spin to the folk dance. The performers were blindfolded whilst performing the “Tinikling” to Lil Uzi Vert’s “Just Wanna Rock.” KDC performed a Filipino pop piece titled “Go Up” by SB19.

The performances were followed by giveaways with a unique twist. The “bring me game,” a Filipino party classic, asked guests to bring the hosts certain items like lip gloss, neckties and more. Winners of the game were offered a Sweets and More coupon for a free milkshake, grilled dish and more. The giveaways culminated with a grand prize of a 26-inch 144hz computer monitor.

Filipino American Artist ESMER (Justin Esmer) guest starred, performing original songs alongside Cam Hail (guitar), Mekhi Banks (bass), and Joe Bruno (drums). They played hits like “Hickory Eyes,” “Death Bed” and “Good Girl.” Esmer said he grew up, “surrounded by music and drew inspiration from Rex Orange Country, Frank Ocean, Rich Brian, Daniel Caesar and several Original Pilipino Music performers.”

FSA executive board members, including Gabriel, also performed under the band name The Frank Diners. The Frank Diners performed “Glue Song” by beabadobee and recent Original Pilipino Music hit “Pasilyo” by Sun Kissed Lolas. The performances concluded with Gabriel thanking the guests for barkada (friendship), which prompted an audience ensemble of the final minute of Pasilyo.

“As a new registered student organisation with our first ever event, we showcase Bayanihan through the cooperation of the various student organisations and their representation of our culture,” executive board member Jaden Sisounthone, a junior public health sciences major, said.

Executive board member Arianna Stevens, a freshman management major, is “very excited for where [they] will take the FSA and will continue to expand the organisation.”

Apart from the display of Filipino foods, dances, music and clothing, the highlight of the event was the cooperation. The cooperation between the UMass FSA, BU FSA, KDC and ESMER showcases the communal spirit of Bayanihan and Filipino culture as a whole. In true Filipino spirit, the FSA and all involved parties treated their guests like family.

Andre Ayuyao can be reached at [email protected]

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    Peter FileMay 1, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Wow! I am a huge fan of the UMass FSA. This event slayed so hard. I think it was the best out of all the Asian org events. The eboard is also so good looking