It's been a little over a month since we canceled the Midwest Filipino American Summit (MFAS) and with that the University of Wisconsin- Madison's Philippine Culture Night (PCN) was canceled too. This was a decision that the MFAS committee knew was the best for the greater good but that didn't make it hurt any less.
As Cultural Chair for the Filipino American Student Organization (FASO), PCN was my big event. When UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee decided to team up to host MFAS I was both ecstatic and terrified. I knew that our PCN would need to be bigger and better than ever this year as it was doubling as the Variety Show for MFAS. FASO and FSU were up for the challenge, MAFA was up for the challenge, and I was too (I at least was trying to be).
The tremendous support I got from my E-Board, the MFAS team, the Wisconsin school community, and the MAFAsphere in general was what set our PCN up to be the best one FASO has ever. We picked the theme “Rooted in Joy” to go along with the MFAS theme of “Sampaguita - Bloom Against Adversity” and to remind us all of how much we have to celebrate. I am heartbroken that we don’t get to celebrate in person but I remain “Rooted in Joy.” How could I not be when planning this event opened my eyes even more to how special our community is?
In celebration of the amazing planning that was done and in mourning of what could have been, I would like to extend some thank yous to our remarkable acts (and tell you about how great they are).
To all of the acts from the MAFAsphere that so graciously were going to perform, thank you. Your dedication to our community and bringing joy to it inspires me, and reminds me to never stop trying to make people smile.
To the groups from Madison that agreed to showcase their talents for us, thank you. You all amaze me and make me proud to be a badger (special shoutout to Carson Luberda for his uplifting spirit).
To the emcees and speaker, thank you. I know you would’ve made me laugh and learn, thank you for being you.
To Collective Hustle, thank you. You made my dreams come true by securing Ruby Ibarra as our headliner and for that I am eternally grateful.
To Ruby Ibarra, thank you. You have no idea how much it means that you agreed to be a part of our special night. You inspire me, and so many other young Filipinx people, to be the best people we can be.
To the members of FASO dancers, thank you. You all make me smile every time I see you, every practice video I saw made me so excited, thank you for always spreading joy. To Mat Rodriguez, thank you for being my partner in crime in all of this and for agreeing to not only choreograph but to share music with us all.
To everyone else that has helped me along the way, thank you.
While this pandemic stopped us from being able to share joy in person, it also reminds me of why we set out to have PCN. It is times like these when we must be “Rooted in Joy” even more. When the world around us feels like it is collapsing we must hold onto whatever makes us smile. It is important, now more than ever, to enjoy life’s everyday magic. I will continue to be “Rooted in Joy”, even during a pandemic, because I know I am a part of a community that has so much to be joyful about. We can always find light in darkness, thank you to the MAFAsphere for always reminding me of that.