We hope you all are doing well and staying safe and healthy. We would like to formally announce a name change to our annual cultural showcase from ‘Barrio Fiesta’ to ‘Philippine Cultural Night.’
Our decision with referring to the event as ‘Philippine Cultural Night’ or ‘PCN’ rather than ‘Barrio Fiesta’ stems from a string of discussions that Cultural Committee has had with various people in the USF and Philippine/ Philippine-American community in regards to how we can approach PCN in the most respectful and responsible way.
It began with learning from Kuya Eric Solano—instructor of USF’s Philippine Dance and Culture class, artistic director of Parangal, and a long-time partner of Kasamahan—on how using the suite names such as ‘Lumad,’ ‘Cordillera,’ and ‘Moro’ to refer to Indigenous-inspired dances generalizes Philippine Indigenous groups as a monolith, rather than recognizing the differences and uniqueness of each Indigenous community in the Philippines. He encouraged us to start referring to the dances as the actual groups they are inspired by rather than the suite names. With the changes of no longer using the suite names, we questioned the use of Maria Clara and Barrio.
Eventually, we questioned the overall show name of Barrio Fiesta. We decided to do some further research on proper terminology and whether or not we should continue to refer to the show as ‘Barrio Fiesta.’ With the knowledge we gained, we have updated all of the terms we use such as a change from ‘choreographer’ to ‘dance lead’ or ‘PCN lead.’ Choreographer implies ownership over or the creation of an original piece. With folk dances that is not the case. Rather, leads borrow elements and movements from existing dances for the performance.
After careful consideration and several discussions, Cultural Committee decided to formally refer to the show as ‘Philippine Cultural Night’. This decision was influenced by a discussion within the Executive Board about how Kasamahan is much more than just a place for social gatherings. It is a space for advocacy and activism for the people in the Philippines and of the diaspora. Additionally, we believe that ‘Barrio Fiesta’ (which translates to “neighborhood party”) does not fully encompass Philippine culture and what PCN itself is about.
As important as it is to celebrate our culture, we must recognize that Philippine culture is more than just its food, music, and parties. We must also recognize that in order to shape a brighter future for our community, we must acknowledge the hardships and tragedies of our history. PCN is an opportunity to go beyond the surface of what we know of the Philippines and its people. It is an opportunity to learn, unlearn, and relearn the values of our culture. It is an opportunity to be more inclusive and uplift the voices of our community who have been intentionally ignored.
The name ‘Barrio Fiesta’ remains a part of Kasamahan history. However, moving forward, we believe acknowledging these hardships and tragedies and being inclusive means being more intentional with the language we use. ‘Barrio Fiesta’ uniquely set apart USF Kasamahan from other PCNs, but we also want to remember that Kasamahan can stand apart based on what the show entails rather than solely what we name the show.
If you have any more questions or concerns, we are happy to discuss them with you. Feel free to email Cultural Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your time and understanding.
Cultural Committee 2021-2022