by Cheryl Piccio, ABS-CBN News
HOUSTON, TX — Each year in March, the Southern Intercollegiate Filipino Alliance holds what Fil-Am students in the region say is the most anticipated event in the academic year, called the Goodphil Games.
The Goodphil Games is a three-day conference and competition that unites the Filipino Student Associations, or FSA’s, from Texas and Oklahoma.
The competitions include cultural dance, spirit dance, modern hip-hop dance, and various sports games.
When the Goodphil Games began in 1991, it was only comprised of two schools. The following years it has grown to incorporate nearly every major university in the state of Texas.
Bringing together Filipino students from all over, the Goodphil Games aim to spread goodwill between schools in Texas and Oklahoma, while student participants learn about the importance of teamwork, and celebrate Filipino culture.
“It’s great to know more about my Filipino roots,” shared Jevh Maravilla, from the University of Houston. “And it’s great to be part of a family that gets together to support the Filipino community, as well as showcase their talents.”
“Everybody comes together for this one weekend. There’s a lot of camaraderie between the schools, and a lot of love for the Filipino culture, and of course, the competition. People love the competition, and they’re fighting for first place and the trophy,” said Kevin Kenada, Goodphil president.
The Goodphil opening ceremonies consists of three dance competitions — cultural, spirit, and modern — and brings in the most number of spectators.
Each school is required to participate in the cultural dance, showcasing traditional folk dances from the Philippines.
The spirit dance allows each university to showcase their school pride, while the modern segment is the fun hip-hop dance competition.
The host school also showcases special guest performances.
Past guest performers have included Jo Koy, Rex Navarette, Gabe Bondoc, JR Aquino, Jocelyn Enriquez — and this year, it was Pinay superstar Jessica Sanchez.
Day two of Goodphil consists of the sports tournament. Each school organizes teams to compete in basketball, volleyball, soccer, flag football, and others.
After tallying up the scores from the events, awards go to the schools with the top three scores.
The coveted Goodphil trophy goes to the school with the most points.
The FSA with the best sportsmanship wins the Barkada award.
“Despite how big Texas is, and how far Oklahoma is, we all somehow manage in our schedule to come together for three days, and compete with, and get to know each other. It’s all about community,” said Jill Castillo, a Goodphil participant from Texas A&M University.
This year’s 27th annual Goodphil Games was hosted by the University of Houston.