Friends, Family and Food at Filipino Fiesta


Nicole Schlaeppi

Nicole Schlaeppi • The Spectator

What Seattle University event has delicious cuisine, traditional dance and song, and costs under $20? The answer is United Filipino Club’s annual cultural showcase, Barrio Fiesta.

Nicole Schlaeppi • The Spectator
Nicole Schlaeppi • The Spectator

The Seattle University United Filipino Club prepares for their annual Barrio Festival, which will be held in Campiom Ballroom on Saturday March 7.

Attending Barrio Fiesta is sure to guarantee more than just dinner and a show. This year marks the 21st anniversary of the event, and each year the popular celebration usually sells all 420 of its tickets.

Barrio co-chairs Germe Ambion and Dana Canaria have been brainstorming for this event since last July. After the successful turnout of UFC’s 20th celebration, a huge milestone, they wanted to put together a fiesta that would still resonate just as strongly with the audience while accurately representing Filipino culture at the same time.

The theme officially declared for the showcase is “Ang taong ‘di lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay ‘di makakarating sa paroroonan” which translates to “He who does not look back to where he came from will not reach his destination.”

This year’s event features a skit titled “JR: My Father’s Legacy,” which was written and directed by Ambion, Canaria and sophomore Amanda Chavez. The skit tells the story of a Filipino-American son named JR who, after his father’s sudden death, must journey to discover his own identity. His search is guided by letters written to him by his late father.

“We wanted to portray Filipino-American life and what issues matter to us now,” Canaria said. “21 is the coming of age of a man in our culture, so we built off that concept since this is our 21st Barrio.”

Barrio run-through took place last Saturday, in which all the committee chairs, performers, volunteers and members participating in Barrio got together to run through the entire production three times. It also marked the kick-off to their full-on preparations for Barrio in the week leading up to the event.

“I am so proud of all the hard work everyone has put in,” Ambion said. “All our efforts are paying off, and it’s because everyone is so dedicated.”

Chavez, who helped the Barrio co-chairs put together the skit and cast the different roles, was extremely pleased with the turn-out.

“When it was on paper it was really cool, but my favorite part was seeing everything else come together,” Chavez said. “It’s a lot of life put to the culture that I have that I don’t get to see a lot at SU.”

Skit rehearsals, as well as traditional and modern dance practices for women, men and couples have been going on for several hours a week since the start of winter quarter. The time commitment was extensive for a lot of performers, especially those who were involved in more than just one event for Barrio.

“I participate every year,” said junior UFC member Kriszl Pineda. “I think it’s the highlight of UFC. It’s a lot of work leading up to it but it ends up being really worth it.”

All of the dances are going to be incorporated throughout the play, giving this year’s Barrio a special twist.

Nicole Schlaeppi • The Spectator
Nicole Schlaeppi • The Spectator

The Seattle University United Filipino Club prepares for their annual Barrio Festival, which will be held in Campiom Ballroom on Saturday March 7.

“Last year was different because modern dance was one entire set at the very end,” said junior choreographer and performer Annabelle Hufana. “Whereas this year it’s broken up into different modern and traditional sets.”

Besides performers, the event has a multitude of different committees in charge of set-up, volunteering and taking care of the other exciting components such as the cultural store, donations wall, and raffle.

“Freshman year I just volunteered for Barrio. Then after seeing the whole process it made me sad I didn’t do anything,” said junior dancer Alyssa Garcia. Garcia is also one of the committee chairs for Barrio decorations, working to grasp the aesthetics that Filipino culture is known for, and to decorate the event accordingly.

Instead of physical copies, this year tickets are solely sold online. UFC has been tabling in various location around campus for the past couple of weeks.

“I’m excited to go to Barrio not only because my roommate is participating in it, but because I’ve never been exposed to Filipino culture,” said sophomore Rukhsar Palla, who plans on attending. “I want to know where my best friends are from and what it’s all about.”

Barrio Fiesta is this Saturday, March 7 in the Campion Ballroom. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and the show begins at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for students, $18 for alumni and $21 for the general public.

Vikki may be reached at [email protected]