By Dan E. Nino
It’s amazing that despite the full integration of the Filipino-American youths in mainstream America – imbibing the American culture since birth – these youths still treasure and are proud of their Filipino culture and heritage.
A case in point is the Club Kaibigan founded by newly-elected Cerritos Councilman Mark Pulido in 1984 when he was a Whitney High School student. Twenty seven years after, his legacy is still kept alive and vibrant by about 100 students or 10 percent of Fil-Am Whitney population. Whitney High School has a reputation as a “nationally recognized school of excellence.” That statement is posted on the school gate on Shoemaker Rd., Cerritos.
Every year since 1987, Whitney Fil-Am students spearheaded by 15 club cabinet members organize a Pilipino Cultural Night (PCN) as a vehicle to encourage the youth to connect to their roots and learn more about their rich Filipino heritage.
To commemorate its 24th year, the Pilipino Cultural Night which also involves other Filipino-American students from various high schools with the ABC Unified School District are also taking part in this tradition. The Pilipino Cultural Night will stage performances aptly called â€œOur Golden Heritage (Ating Gintong Lahi) on April 16, 2011 at the Charles M. Schulz Theater at Knottâ€™s Berrry Farm in Buena Park.
According to statement from organizers headed by its president Wilfred Del Mundo, the dances to be showcased and featured on this night are studied extensively by Club Kaibiganâ€™s cabinet members, who then meticulously choreograph these routines and eventually teach them to other students in the dance troupe.
â€œEvery year, we proudly present our PCN, a product of our very own studentsâ€™ hard work and commitment, while sharing our heritage with others, encouraging them to connect to their roots,â€ a press statement said.
Several dance suites like rural, mountain tribe, Muslim and Spanish era will be showcased during the Pilipino Cultural Night with cast of about 120 members.
While the Fil-Am high school youths go about their rehearsals and other fellowships, aside from having lots of fun, they are able to establish friendships and enrich their knowledge of the Filipino culture through food, song and dance.
Club members not only limit themselves within the walls of the schools but travel all over Southern California to share their culture with others through performances at events such as weddings, birthdays, baptism, etc.
One club member enthused, â€œfor myself and several friends of mine, PCN and Club Kaibigan have provided plenty of memories and experiences while growing closer to my roots along the way. We hope to keep this on-going tradition alive for future high school generations to come and to allow them to be able to find the connections and appreciation of their heritage.
For more information and ticket reservation, interested parties may contact Wilfred Del Mundo at 562-508-9662 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Ann Christian Munoz at 562-833-6751 or email@example.com; Elvie Munoz at 562-480-1780.