Club Culture: Kaibigang Pilipin@

Arts and CultureClub CultureTheatre

Jona Marie Almayda

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Editor’s Note: Article Author Danielle Hernandez is a scriptwriter for Pilipin@ Cultural Celebration.

On a campus that spans 1,976 acres and claims 30,285 students, Filipinx faces are not easy to come by. In fact, UC San Diego only admitted 1,589 Filipinx students in 2018. Kaibigang Pilipin@ (KP), UCSD’s cultural/political Filipinx organization, provides a space for students to make cultural connections and find community. Every spring quarter, KP holds their Pilipin@ Cultural Celebration (PCC), which is a show that features cultural songs and dances with an original script written by students. PCC is one of the rare times that Filipinx students can see their people, culture, and stories shine on a greater platform as the event explores prominent themes within the Filipinx community. Past themes have included immigration, family, mental health, and identity; however, this year’s PCC has a special focus on colorism.

This year’s PCC will present a romantic comedy/drama which will mimic the light-hearted feel of Filipinx movies and TV shows. The story will follow two college students as they navigate colorism and identity while falling in love with each other and themselves.

PCC is run by KP’s Co-Cultural Coordinators, second-years Jaimelyn Cruz and Hannah Espejo, who oversee the entire production process. Cruz and Espejo both noted that though Filipinx culture is frequently diluted to language and cuisine, it also encompasses history and identity.

“I think it’s important to highlight the things in Filipino culture that we’re not proud of. And colorism is definitely something that needs to be addressed and is present in Filipino communities, especially in our older generations,” Cruz told The Triton.

Cruz and Espejo hope to educate audience members on the implications that colorism has on cultural identity. Filipinx identity is inextricably tied to mestizx and morenx identity. Being a mestizx in the Filipinx community refers to those who are mixed with Filipinx and European blood, and typically have lighter skin and Eurocentric features. On the other hand, morenx is a title associated with being darker-skinned, regardless of whether one only has Filipinx heritage or is of mixed heritage.

Many mestizxs struggle with feeling like they cannot completely claim their Filipinx identity, while many morenxs are often overlooked in Filipinx stories for their skin color. “In the Filipino media, you only see light-skinned celebrities. You never see dark or brown-skinned Filipinos because they’re seen as ‘dirty’… not the ideal image of a person,” Cruz explained.

This year’s PCC wants to acknowledge the deeply-embedded presence of this injustice in the Filipinx community.

Photo courtesy of KP

“Through the show, we encourage people to be educated, but also not to invalidate each other for where they come from or where they stand in terms of knowing what’s happening in the Philippines,” Espejo stressed.

Photo courtesy of Jona Marie Almayda

“It is easy to set expectations for what the show should be and what everyone wants, especially [when] navigating topics of identity and what it means to be Filipino and Filipino American,” Director Patricia Fabila described. “I believe [that] trusting my team … to tell and share their own thoughts, experiences, and [stories] is what keeps it authentic.”

Auditions for singing and acting roles will take place during the end of this current fall quarter and continue into the beginning of Winter Quarter 2020. Rehearsals will then run from Winter Quarter 2020 to Spring Quarter 2020.

“Whether you’re Filipino or not, it should always be a goal to want to understand and learn more about where others come from. Once we all understand and embrace our differences, we can truly live in the multicultural society that America claims to be,” Cruz emphasized.

The title of this year’s show is Sapat ka na, which can be roughly translated to “you are enough” in English. Cruz and Espejo hope that through this performance, audience members will remember and resonate with the show’s title—they will understand that they are “enough.”

KP will hold its 29th PCC: Sapat Ka Na on April 23 and 24 in the Mandeville Auditorium. The show is free and open to all members of the community.

Danielle Hernandez is a Staff Writer for The Triton.

Correction 12/6/19: An original version of this article said “Sapat ka na, which can be roughly translated to ‘you are enough’ in Tagolog.” We apologize for this error.