By Michael Yu and Kaitlyn Oliveros, May 3, 2022
Cal Poly Pomona’s Barkada club hosted its 32nd Pilipinx-American Cultural Night at the Bonita Center for the Arts on April 23, with the performance of the play “Magkita Tayo Muli,” that celebrated Filipino culture and showcased the importance of family.
Co-directed by Barkada Cultural Chair Ethereal Violet Reyes and Robechelle Mina, the Barkada entertainment company coordinator, the play followed the character Rose Evangelista, played by biology student Audrea Dayapera, who accidentally embarks on a journey to the Philippines to reconnect with her culture and estranged family.
“Playing Rose, I got to channel a side of me that I don’t usually have,” said Dayapera. “Rose is a CEO, owner of a company and a fashionista girl who is very hard-working and determined. In order to get to that, I had to channel that within me, and, overall, I think I have more confidence after playing Rose.”
“Magkita Tayo Muli” was split into two acts, combining the scenes with traditional Filipino dance performances. The dances performed included the Maria Clara: Mantones de Seda, a traditional courtship dance, and the Mindanao Burong Talo, a traditional folk dance.
“We tried to place the dances where the mood fits with the scene. There is one scene where the aunt and the main lead argue, so right after we put one that is very fighting heavy,” said Mina. “I chose dances that would represent the culture very well for the year.”
Throughout the play, Dayapera’s character, Rose, struggles to re-accustom herself to a culture that she cut herself off from after her mother’s death. However, after an accidental trip to her family’s home in Manila, Philippines, she is able to rekindle her love for both her family and culture.
The title of the play translates to let’s meet again, and the actors shared how this play allowed them to “meet again.”
“As a Filipino-American, I am a first generation and I am not really as in touch with my culture as my parents are, so being able to perform on stage, perform those dances and express that story was really nice to do,” said Rei Jairus David, the actor for Joseph and a chemistry student.
On account of the COVID-19 pandemic, previous PACN events were canceled or adjusted, with the 2021 event being turned into a drive-in theater where attendees could watch from the safety of their cars.
With this year’s show being the first in-person PACN in three years, the actors felt a variety of emotions performing once again. Rommel Alcantara, the actor who played the character Mr. Pogi and a communication student, shared what it felt like being back on stage.
“Just being up on that stage in front of so many people, I can only describe it as ecstatic,” said Alcantara. “There was a lot of energy from a lot of people tonight. Personally, I had a lot of fun. It made me feel reconnected to a culture I thought I had lost.”
However, preparing for the PACN was not an easy task. From having to accommodate for the pandemic and putting in long practice hours, the process was a complicated one.
“It was a lot of work, it took a lot of time, but in the end, it was worth it,” said Mina. “Seeing everyone come together and put out what they did on that stage, made me super proud and I would do it all again.”
The PACN was a night full of traditional and modern dances, song and heartfelt acting, while the live performance of “Magkita Tayo Muli” encouraged attendees to appreciate the small things in life and the people close to them.
“It’s about finding your roots again, really connecting with your family and embracing your culture,” shared Dayapera. “Sometimes we get so lost in day-to-day life working toward our future career goals that we forget to celebrate that certain part of us and to connect with our family again.”
Feature image courtesy of Rommel Alcantara.
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