Join a couple of PALs this Saturday as they tell their story about what kept them together during their time at Binghamton University.
BU’s Philippine-American League (PAL) is hosting its 29th annual Barrio Fiesta this Saturday, March 24. Established in 1989, PAL is an organization that does more than just highlight Philippine culture.
“Our overall goal is to, of course, spread awareness of Filipino culture,” said Jehron Pura-Bryant, PAL’s cultural chair and a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience. “The running thing that we always want to achieve every year when we throw any events is, ‘How do we make this inclusive to everybody?’”
Many students who participate in PAL are not of Filipino descent.
Last year’s theme was Disney’s “Finding Dory,” in which the show took the audience through a story about a young woman trying to find her culture. This year’s theme is based on the American sitcom “Friends,” but also has some references to “High School Musical.” The story for this year’s show is about a group of students in their last year as Bearcats and how despite everything life presents them with, they stick together because of PAL.
PAL tells these stories through the show using skits, dances and singing. Traditional Philippine dances like the Sayaw sa Bangko and the Maglalatik will be performed during the show alongside modern dances like step and hip-hop. PAL Cappella will also be taking the stage, singing both the American and Philippine national anthems before the start of the show. During the show they will sing covers of popular songs.
In addition to the student performances, PAL will also have special musical guest Anna Czarina Yso. Yso is a YouTuber who has gained a following by covering popular songs; her most-viewed cover is “Be Alright” by Justin Bieber, which has over 331,000 views.
Every year during the spring semester, Barrio Fiesta is an experience that’s memorable for everyone involved. This sentiment holds true for James Musngi, publicity chair intern for PAL and a sophomore double-majoring in theatre and English.
“Barrio Fiesta is this wild amalgamation of stress, excitement, discovery, exhaustion, failure, growth, tears, and bonding with people you come to love,” Musngi wrote in an email. “It is the journey of getting to know so many wonderful people and developing and devoting our performance talents together for this huge showcase that you get to have this crazy undefined experience that goes beyond what my words could even say.”
The audition process for the show was open to all students.
“We host two GIMs for Barrio every fall semester and there are dances where we require you to try out for,” Pura-Bryant said. “So for example we have PAL Cappella which is a singing group, you have to try out for that — [for] our more modern pieces we ask you to try out. For the cultural pieces we [leave] that for whoever is interested and since a lot of people usually want to sign up for the non-tryout pieces, it’s on a priority basis.”
Chloe Reandelar, a sophomore majoring in human development, is a dancer and will be performing PAL Moda (modern dance) as well as acting as the main character in the skit, “Princess Pangit,” for this year’s show.
“This show definitely isn’t something extremely regimented in terms of preparation, it’s all about enjoying and learning about Filipino culture as you go,” Reandelar wrote in an email. “I’ve personally never met anyone who’s regretted being a part of Barrio and I can’t wait for more students to join us in the future!”
Presented in the Anderson Center’s Osterhout Theater, “Barrio Fiesta: The One With The Final Lap” will take place Saturday, March 24. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m. Presale tickets cost $6 and tickets at the door cost $8.