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Fiestang show to offer a taste of Filipino culture

| Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Filipino-American Student Organization (FASO) will once again be holding its annual Fiestang Cultural Show but with a unique twist this year: It will bear the theme “Kapamilya: of the same family.”

Attendees of the show, which takes place Saturday from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at South Dining Hall, will be able to enjoy “traditional and modern Filipino dances,” a University press release said.

The show will be followed by a Filipino dinner served at both North and South Dining Halls until 7 p.m., with dishes such as bistek (beef steak) and pansit bihon guisado (noodles), according to the Notre Dame Food Services (NDFS) website.

This is made possible through a “milestone” partnership between FASO and NDFS, Fiestang commissioners and seniors Chris Aquino and Isabel Camara said.

“This has always been in the works, and this year was the right year for it to happen. The new person in charge [NDFS Director Chris Abayasinghe] has a strong likening towards diversity and making people aware,” Aquino said. “There are also a lot of Filipino people on staff working in the dining halls, so combining those two it resulted in a NDFS sponsorship where it’s actually the dining hall that provides the Filipino food for the show, as opposed to just having it catered every year.”

This move is expected to improve the club’s visibility on campus. Currently, it has an active membership of about 50 students, Aquino and Camara said.

Compared to the previous venue of Stepan Center, the choice of location will “hopefully encourage some underclassmen to check it out, see that it’s a good event and expect it for the years to come,” Camara said. “It’s a giant part of the exposure.”

Aquino and Camara said they anticipate around 200 people will come to Fiestang, with families from the South Bend community representing about one-third of that number.

“Filipino culture is so vivacious, you could walk around the Philippines and see someone singing their soul out with karaoke or being very into a certain dance. … That’s what our culture is and why the show’s always been around,” Camara said. “We all come together for the sole purpose to just celebrate being Filipino.”

Apart from this, Aquino stressed the importance of the values reflected in Fiestang.

“The show is a celebration of our culture,” Aquino said. “It’s full of music, joy, and has great food. Sounds cheesy, but 110 percent honest that is what our culture boils down to — and food is important, really important. Family is the core of everything and music and fun.”

Aquino also said NDFS is planning on instituting Filipino cuisine as a regular rotation in the dining halls, similar to the current arrangement for the Korean, Vietnamese and Indian cuisine that appear roughly every fortnight.

“It starts with the show pretty much,” he said. “This is so different from what we have known Fiestang to be from previous years.”

The show has gained the support of other organizations, including Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS), according to its assistant director, Arnel Bulaoro.

“Fiestang is one of many signature events designed to celebrate culture and create community building events,” he said. “I am simply a sounding board for the organization. … It has been a pleasure to watch the exchange of ideas between Food Services Director Chris Abayasinghe and the FASO officers.”

According to FASO’s Facebook page, the show will offer free admission and the first 80 attendees without a meal plan will receive free meal tickets for the Filipino dinner.

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About Samuel Chan

Samuel Chan is a sophomore exchange student from the University of Hong Kong, double majoring in journalism and marketing. He lives in Knott Hall and has spent his life back and forth between Hong Kong and the East Coast.

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