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FASO sponsors 10th annual Fiestang festivel

Katie Mounts | Monday, March 1, 2004

Saturday night marked the 10th annual Fiestang – a Filipino cultural celebration of dinner and dancing that has advanced a long way since its inception.John Lira, co-president of the Filipino American Student Organization (FASO), has attended Fiestang since its first show in 1995, and said that interest and attendance have “improved drastically” since then. He remembers when dancers had to be brought in to help with the student performance, and that only about 40 people attended – a number that has multiplied since. Co-president Charlene Vinalon estimated more than 450 students, faculty and community members attended this year’s event. “Each year, it just gets bigger and bigger,” she said. Lira credited the recent publicity regarding diversity at Notre Dame with helping increase interest.”There’s a lot of work put into it with months of preparation,” he said. “I was so surprised and so proud of everyone that was involved. … It was more wonderful than anything I could have imagined.”The event began with a catered meal of traditional Filipino cuisine, which was followed by a presentation of cultural dances by members of FASO. The First Class Steppers and Ballet Folklorico also made appearances.”Overall, we were very happy with the show,” FASO co-president Eileen Magno said. “It turned out better than we had expected.” She attributed some of this year’s success to the change in format to a themed skit. The show’s theme, Time Machine, enabled different dances from different time periods to be shown, she said. Vinalon said that students who had previously been unfamiliar with Filipino culture told her they liked what they saw. “I feel that a lot of people were pleasantly surprised by how much fun they had,” she said. “[The festival] gave a little bit of insight into the culture.”While more improvement means more effort, the co-presidents agreed that it was worthwhile.”[This year has] been a lot of work and a lot more stress,” Magno said. “It’s been a really good experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”FASO’s next event, “Lumpia Night,” will take place on March 25 as a part of Spring Visitation Week.