Biology senior Eufrosino Veloso strummed his guitar, filling the Texas Union Theatre on Friday night with a song in his first language, Tagalog. It was a moment Veloso had thought of since freshman year when he saw someone perform in his familiar Filipino dialect.
“It was my first time performing in my native tongue and it felt really special to me,” Veloso said.
Veloso joined others preforming during Filipino Culture Night. The night was organized by the Filipino Students Association and highlighted the group’s diversity through a culture-packed show.
“We are here to display different facets of the community, of dance, of song, even our attire; a lot of us are wearing traditional Filipino clothing,” said FSA culture chair Anna Castro, who organized the event. “The purpose is to invite the UT community to interact with the Filipino-American experience and everything it has to offer.”
The American and Filipino national anthems kicked off the event to symbolize the mix of the cultures to follow. Dancers performed Singkil, a traditional folk dance, in one act and balanced cups of water on their heads in another.
Castro, an English junior who emigrated from the Philippines, said the show provides a space for Filipino students to show off their skills and also brings those with shared interests together.
“I think it’s important to find a home and identity,” Castro said. “I emigrated here at a young age, and especially coming into a new environment when you don’t know a lot of things, I found a home in my culture. For me, that was my driving force, that was the foundation for who I became.”
The night also featured traditional Filipino food, including lumpia, a type of fried egg roll, and pancit, which are clear noodles with vegetables and meat. Patricia Lim, journalism sophomore and FSA member said food was part of what brought her to the show.
“You need to know your roots,” Lim said. “I came from the Philippines, so going to these kinds of events gives me flashbacks to my childhood. I know a lot about my culture, but I want to experience more with the Filipino community.”
The show also brought out non-Filipinos, such as physics freshman Danielle Maldonado.
“People come from so many different backgrounds and so they have different viewpoints on different things,” Maldonado said. “It’s good to understand where people are coming from.”