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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA Filipino-American Student Association invites Tucson community to celebrate culture


Photo courtesy of Nicolas Wong

Performers participate in a warrior dance at the 16th annual Fiesta in April 2012. The UA Filipino-American Student Association will host its next fiesta on Saturday at Tucson High Magnet School.

The UA Filipino-American Student Association will host its 17th annual Fiesta this weekend at Tucson High Magnet School.

The Fiesta is titled “Salo Salo,” a Filipino word that means a celebration or gathering with food, and aims to create awareness of Filipino culture throughout the Tucson community, said Jeff Viray, director of FASA Fiesta and a senior studying media arts with an emphasis on producing.

The festivities will begin with a social hour at 6 p.m. where guests can sample a variety of traditional Filipino foods. There will also be informational boards explaining how to prepare each dish, its origins, why it is popular and how it is prepared, Viray said. Delicacies such as pancit, lumpia and sa malamig will be available for both the Filipino community, who may be familiar with the food, and members of the community who are experiencing it for the first time.

Viray hosted the 2012 Fiesta, but said that as the director, he has a more hands-on role in the organizing process this year.

“Last year we had a lot of fun but thought there was a lot of room for improvement,” Viray said, “so I wanted to change the vibe and direction of things.”

In order to accomplish these goals, the event now includes a skit about an American-born Filipino who visits his parents’ homeland for the first time. During his visit, a conversation with his grandfather takes him through the culture and traditions of the Philippines.

“My main role has been to come up with fresh ideas for how to present the Filipino culture to the
Tucson community,” Viray said. “I wanted to add a skit to try to give a sense of what it would be like for a Filipino-American who was born in America to go back to the homeland and experience the culture shock … That’s what we really want to give a sense of in our show.”

Musical and dance performances will also be featured to help tell the story. Darrel Ann, a nutrition junior, and Joey Monteczuma, a physiology sophomore, will utilize their musical talents in the realm of hip hop, as will Perris Howard, a physiology sophomore. The Dia Clones, a dance crew based in Tucson, and FASA Fiesta’s Choir will also take the stage.

Ricky Tutaan, a freshman studying music at Pima Community College, has performed at FASA Fiesta three times before, his first time being when he was just a sophomore in high school. He said he was encouraged by his older brother and sister, both college alumni who also participated in FASA. He will be providing musical entertainment during the social hour.

“What it means to be Filipino is to be part of a family,” Tutaan said. “You are always raised to be someone of respect and to acknowledge any person’s background.”

Cheryl Gamachi, the historian on the executive board for FASA Fiesta and a former Daily Wildcat columnist, said it is important to stay connected to one’s heritage. The event, along with Asian-
Pacific American Heritage month, will help the community do so.

“Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month brings a lot of pride,” said Gamachi, a journalism sophomore. “It is a month to be aware of your own culture, and other Asian cultures as well. Just because we live in the U.S., it doesn’t mean that we should dismiss that side and only focus on being American. It might be cliché, but we do have the best of both worlds.”

If you go:

FASA Fiesta

When: Saturday
Where: Tucson High Magnet School, 400 N 2nd Ave.

Tickets cost $20 or $25 at the door. Get a $5 discount at the door by bringing five or more books to support a library being constructed in the Philippines.

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