Bayanihan Student Organization hosts annual cultural show

Bayanihan+Student+Organization+members+practiced+a+dance+for+their+performace+in+November+2019.+Marquette+Wire+Stock+Photo

Bayanihan Student Organization members practiced a dance for their performace in November 2019. Marquette Wire Stock Photo

For the Bayanihan Student Organization, the spring semester is a time of preparation for the annual BSO cultural show.

Kaylee Reyes, a junior in the College of Engineering and vice president of BSO, explained that BSO is the Filipino cultural organization at Marquette. They usually host two shows a year with a fashion sh0w in the fall semester and the cultural show in the spring semester. The cultural show is a free event that is put on each spring and highlights the Filipino culture. Each spring, it includes a student-written play with dances in between.

“I always thought that cultural was a great opportunity for our members to embrace Filipino culture even if they aren’t Filipino or Asian,” Reyes said. “I feel like a lot of our Filipino members growing up didn’t really have a chance to connect with their culture.”

Reyes explained that Bayanihan means “coming together to achieve a common goal” and the show is just to let people have fun and embrace Filipino culture.

The show consists of a full storyline with intermittent dances called “He’s Dating an Heiress.” Reyes said that everything for the show was pre-recorded due to the pandemic.

“It’s one full story and the dances are somewhat integrated into the play itself so they do mention what dances are going to be happening next and stuff, so it’s kind of like one full storyline with the dance breaks,” Reyes said.

Stephanie Anne Villaceran, a junior in the College of Nursing and the cultural show coordinator, helped plan the show.

“Along with our cultural show, we kind of create a storyline to help with the flow of dances, so it’s not just one dance after another … we try to write storylines that reflect Filipino American culture or Filipino American experiences well as bring awareness to our culture overall,” Villaceran said.

Villaceran, who helped write the play’s script, said she and her colleagues took inspiration from the movie “Crazy Rich Asians.” Villaceran said the plotline of the play follows a female lead who is visiting her home in the Philippines after studying abroad for a few years. She is also bringing her boyfriend and his family to introduce them to her wealthy family.

Sean Francis de Asis,  a first-year in the College of Engineering, is one of the cast members in the play. He is also dancing in the show.

“I am dancing in a dance segment called tinikling, which involves bamboo sticks and I also play a role in the acting segment of the show,” Francis de Asis said.

Francis de Asis said that all the dances and segments are choreographed and written by students in BSO.

For a few of the members, the final product of the show is something they are looking forward to.

“I think seeing the end result come together would be very relieving … it’s been really great though to see everybody’s effort and willingness to participate despite the pandemic,” Villaceran said.

For Reyes, this show, and organization has important timing, especially with the rise of Asian American and Pacific Islander hate crimes in the country. On March 16 in the Atlanta area, a gunman killed eight people at different spas, six of them being women of Asian descent. 

“I feel like this show with the timing right now is very important to us because the world has been seeing, especially in America, a rise in Asian American and Pacific Islander hate crimes in the country, which is something that has been deeply affecting us on a personal level, and I do feel like it’s nice to see that amidst this hate that we see in this world, BSO can become a safe place for our members to freely embrace the culture regardless of if they’re Filipinx,” Reyes said.

This year, the whole show is being pre-recorded and there will be a showing held in Varsity Theater April 24. It will also be available to livestream on YouTube.

This story was written by Ariana Madson. She can be reached at ariana.madson@marquette.edu.