by Fleur Magbanua-Mansur, ABS-CBN News
PHOENIX, AZ — Over two hundred delegates from the Philippines, and about 4,000 and from all over the world are participating in the 15th Hip Hop International Competition from August 7 to 12 in the Grand Canyon State.
Thirteen groups will compete against 49 countries, and possibly with one another in four categories — junior, varsity, mega crew, and adult.
Defending champions the Upeepz Mega Crew arrived a week ahead to get acclimated ,and establish a routine prior to the competition.
Although this is the third time for the group to come to the US, Coach Chips Beltran said they had to raise almost a million pesos for this trip.
“It really helped us a lot in terms of financial sa mga flights dun sa passport and visa, etc and accommodations,” said Alexis Arbatistin.
But not everyone was lucky. 29 members of Kindred dance crew from Mindanao were stuck at the Greyhound bus terminal in Los Angeles, CA, due to scheduling mix up. They ended up spending the night in the terminal, where they slept on benches with little pocket money on hand.
The Arizona Filipino community and the Philippine Consulate in LA were quick to help.
“We are thankful that there’s this Arizona Filipino community who has been very, very supportive. Overwhelming po talaga ang support nila. Nakakaiyak po,” said Anna Villegas. “From the time they knew that we arrived in LA, we encountered problems there going to Arizona. We are very thankful for the Philippine Consulate headed by Consul General Adelio Cruz, through Mr. Cesar Angeles, who really helped us throughout the ordeal.”
When the council of Filipino Organizations in Arizona heard about the plight of these kababayans, they took turns in providing meals, transportation, and other needs to make their stay in Arizona a positive one.
With only $200 to 300 pocket money to spend for a week in Arizona, one Fil-Am even opened her house to accommodate 29 strangers.
“I feel that I have responsibility to help this young kids, it’s big opportunity for them,” said Cy Johnson, Mrs. Luzviminda 2017. “It’s their first time here in the United States. My husband and my family want to make sure that they have a better place and nice environment to stay.”
“Sa ngayon po happy masyado kasi despite sa mga nangyari sa amin these past few days, pagdating naman po naming dito yung ordeals, all worth it naman po yung mga ordeals . Pagdating po namin dito all of it are worth it naman po,” said coach Hubert Agulto of Kindred mega crew.
“Sa lahat po ng Filipinos sa Arizona, thank you po sa support.”
Preliminaries and semi-finals are on going. The grand finals are set for this saturday.