Filipino American culture to be shared at UC Merced

yamaro@mercedsunstar.comNovember 26, 2012 

— A group of students at the University of California at Merced will be sharing a taste of their Filipino culture during an event early next month.

Barrio Fiesta is set for Dec. 1. The outdoor event will take place from 1 to 8 p.m. outside UC Mer- ced's Kolligian Library.

"Barrio Fiesta is usually a festival where we celebrate and kind of give awareness to the Filipino culture as well as implement youth involvement," said Angelo Villaflor, a UC Merced junior and one of the organizers.

This is the sixth annual event and is being organized by Pilipino American Alliance Club at UC Merced, Villaflor said.

Although commonly referred to and written as Filipino, the group went with an older spelling.

During the day, several vendors from campus and the community will be sharing information about what they do or provide. Student dance performances also are scheduled.

A concert will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. as part of the event, he said. A traditional Filipino dish will be on sale for $5 during the festivities.

Tickets for the event are $10 for adults and $5 for veterans and children younger than 18.

"Filipinos are kind of all over the place," said Villaflor, who is from San Leandro. "It's kind of our goal to let people know that this is kind of what Filipinos have to offer from the Philippines. To let people see what it is like to be Filipino."

Ryan Franco, a UC Merced junior and organizer of the event, said coming from San Pedro in Southern California, he was exposed to various cultures. He wants to bring more exposure to the Filipino American culture to the area.

"A lot of Filipinos get exposure through their songs and dances, but we also want to make sure that everyone has the right perspective of what Filipino American culture really is," Franco said.

Filipinos have had a major impact in California, he said, adding that they were part of the César Chávez movement.

Franco said Filipinos want to preserve their distinct cultural differences and not simply be referred to as Asian.

Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or yamaro@mercedsun-star.com.

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