By Bev Llorente, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
August 21, 2013
LAS VEGAS– The dance group Philippine All Stars is facing a new challenge as the team strives to pay more than P2 million in debt in the Philippines after competing in the recent World Hip Hop International in Las Vegas.
Crowds swarm in to watch the Philippine All Stars perform not on stage or in a big arena but on the sidewalk of the Las Vegas strip.
The Philippine All Stars is competing not with different countries but this time with the rest of the Las Vegas street performers.
Group members show off their skills on the sidewalk in front of the Bally’s Hotel and Casino. They hope to raise funds to pay back P2.8 million in dues and to stay afloat for their expenses while in the US.
“Nagi-street performance kami dito sa Bally’s because we are trying to raise funds. This is the first time that we actually brought in 35 people for the mega crew so medyo malaki talaga yung funds na kailangan namin. Since we are here, you know, we have our talents. We might as well instead of just asking for help na wala kaming magawa. We are trying to do something about it. So eto masaya we are doing what we love and instead of asking for help namedyo we have at the same time people are helping us,” said group leader Lema Diaz.
“Sometimes you have to do things like this so that it pays for your hotel, the food that you eat, the dream that you want to do for everybody and it’s a fact that there’s 35 people at the same time and it’s a fact that we have to pay for our own fare May mga tulong naman dumating,” she added.
Diaz said the group earns about 500 dollars nightly from tourists and passersby.
Performing at the streets is no easy task for the All Stars.
“Minsan masakit po siya. Hindi po kase pantay yung lupa. Minsan pag bumabagsak po ako sa floor minsan po nag iiba yung landing pero ok lang po kase marami naman po kaming napapasayang tao. Sobrang overwhelmed po kami dito, sobrang audience impact sa amin,” she said.
“It’s all fun, passion talaga,” said another group member, Bea Lesaca.
With flips, acrobats, flares, and b-boying, the audience of all ages are stunned and impressed by the Philippine All Stars.
“I think they’re all amazing but this is one of a kind,” said Gracie Hari, a tourist.
“Look at them! They’re amazing,” added passerby Dylan Weaderman.
The Philippine All Stars are scheduled to go back home to the Philippines this week. They said that although it was a bittersweet experience they will continue to live the hip hop culture as it was a beautiful struggle.
Another group of Filipino tourist possible to become illegal immigrants.