Pilipino Cultural Night student musical highlights the plight of Filipino immigrants

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — It’s that time of the year, where Fil-Am college students put on their annual theatrical presentations highlighting Filipino issues and stories in what are typically called Pilipino Cultural Nights, or PCN’s.

At San Francisco State University, Pinoy students presented their parents’ immigration struggle in a student-produced musical.

In PCNs, first and second generation Filipino-Americans come together to share, learn, and celebrate their Filipino culture — many for the first time.

Here at SFSU, students try to understand why many of their families left the Philippines for the US in the first place — through this year’s show entitled — Ingat: the Musical.”

“When we were conceptualizing what we wanted to do for the show, we wanted to go back to our roots. We wanted to talk about what were the struggles a lot of families in the Philippines are going through, and that’s this kind of rift in terms of being separated thousands of miles away in order to sacrifice for the best intentions to provide for your family,”  said Christian Ang, the co-writer/director.

“Ingat: the Musical” is a story told in two perspectives, highlighting a family struggling to preserve a culture that matters to them, while also trying to take care of each other in an unfamiliar new country.

“We really wanted to address this whole idea of immigrant identity, not only of how our parents deal with the situation, but also us as second generation Filipino-Americans,” said Karl Zion Violanda, PCN co-writer/director. “I say how we deal with American situations is a lot different than how our parents deal with it when they first arrived.”

The cast of this year’s PCN at SFSU also featured original music, composed specifically for the show.

“We have… three amazing music composers, music directors, and performance directors this year, who not only incorporated modern music such as R&B and hip-hop, but also incorporated acoustic ballads that just tells truth to the story,” said Kai Santiago, co-producer of the show.

The Filipino folk dances featured in PCN were taught by a collaboration of choreographers, representing the major Filipino folk dance companies in the Bay Area.

“Here at SF State we really push for knowing the history, knowing the stories, knowing the reasons why we do Filipino folk dance,” said Alex de Leon, SFSU PCN co-producer. “We’re not just doing these folk dances to put on a show, but we’re actually learning. We’re actually educating — not only ourselves, but the people who come and watch our shows.”

“Ingat: the Musical” is the 45th PCN put on by San Francisco State’s Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor (PACE), which also recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.


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