Students enjoy Philippines Culture Night
The long-standing tradition of Maharlika adds new aspects to increase cultural awareness. | Thecla Li / THE CHIMES
Royal blue, scarlet red and golden yellow lit up the stage as an expectant audience waited for the show to begin.
Philippines Culture Night kicked off with the a capella group The Filharmonic, singing the Filipino national anthem. Over the course of the night, Maharlika members led the audience in worship, danced to traditional Filipino dances and called up audience members for games. Earlier in the evening, Maharlika treated Biola to Filipino cuisine—chicken adobo, beef steak and halo halo.
The main theme of the program came from Psalm 16:6, which reads, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.” PCN shows the importance of Filipino culture while also celebrating it.
“We have such beautiful diversity on campus in these clubs and their little pockets just to see how God's blessed culture, and we want to invite Biola to see this, get involved, be aware and enter conversations that they might not usually have,” said John Delapena, president of Maharlika and sophomore political science major.
Maharlika not only showcased their Filipino heritage, but also the history of the club. Maharlika started in 1991 and remains one of the oldest clubs on campus. They commemorated this with a series of videos featuring Filipino staff members on campus, alumni of the club and a current member. These videos shared Filipino history, culture and the beginning of Maharlika. In hopes of starting a Maharlika Alumni Association, there was also an alumni table at the event.
Traditional Filipino dances have been a staple of Maharlika. This year club members showcased five different dances. The first dance was Pandanggo sa Ilaw, a dance with candles meant to look like fireflies. The second dance was Bangko, a dance that involves jumping on benches. The third dance was Singkil, which requires graceful movements with fans. The fourth was Bahag, which is traditionally danced after war or to celebrate a harvest. The final dance was the crowd favorite, Tinikling, which is a dance with bamboo sticks.
Many members participated in more than one dance, including Maharlika public relations manager and sophomore cinema media and arts major Jeli Villeza who participated in three dances on Friday night.
“We started learning the dances since the beginning of this semester for club, and then we started rehearsing for a bit about a month and a half for Tinikling and Pandanggo,” Villeza said. “So once a week every week, we practiced in Thompson lobby all the time. Then, for Singkil, Singkil was actually like a last minute thing. We practiced two weeks before it.”
The Filharmonic closed out the night with a lively performance covering artists like Nick Jonas, Bruno Mars and Earth, Wind & Fire. As an encore, the group dedicated the song, “Sugar” by Maroon 5 to the Filipino dessert Turon, which made the audience laugh. The group provided an enjoyable end to the evening, which was made possible through a few alumni’s close relations with the group.
Maharlika as a cultural club seeks to include everyone and wants to share their culture with the campus.
“It’s so important to understand the body of Christ is not just one look,” said Rhea Aves, Maharlika club member and senior political science major. “It's not just one specific person, not one type of Christian.”