REVIEW: FASA’s Philippine Culture Night

The featured image above is a performance on a musical instrument called a kulintang, and the weaving of the mallets represents the motion of weaving a basket.

Saturday night, the Michigan Union was bustling with activity for FASA’s long-awaited PCN. Everybody was elegantly dressed in long gowns and suits. The audience consisted of not only students, but friends, families, alumni, special keynote speakers, and even Filipino American student associations from Universities in Grand Rapids, Oakland County, and Dearborn.

FASA prepared multiple acts, such as various live singing performances (including a featured performance from FASOU, a student band from Oakland University), traditional instrumental music accompanied by dance, a poem reading, and many more.


A cover of “All I Ask” by Adele

This was the most memorable live music performance for me. The students covering the song showcased so much musical talent in their harmonies and synchrony with one another, and they’re not even an established music group. I don’t even see the same chemistry or skill in groups that focus on live singing.


The traditional music ensemble


The fan dance performed alongside the ensemble

What interested me the most about this dance is the lack of facial expressions on the dancers. Normally, facial expressions are a key focus in dance, because it’s the most blatant way to express emotional depth. In this case, the poker faces created a very elegant atmosphere.


Dance incorporating modern music with a cultural twist

This was another performance that really stood out to me. It was so much fun seeing how modern and cultural art can collaborate with each other. As they performed the traditional dance steps, students showcased goofy and joyful facial expressions in contrast to the fan dance performed just previously.


FASA’s band


A hip-hop dance to American and Philippine pop music to end the night


Unfortunately, there were serious sound issues at PCN. The mics often rang and that really took away from the experience. In addition, the technical difficulties dragged the event to become an hour longer due to frequent awkward pauses between and even in the middle of performances. Overall, it was an amazing, lively, and lovely event to attend. However, I’m not sure if I would come back to PCN next year because of how long it was. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t consider going again, though, and I highly encourage anybody interested to attend the event next year!

PREVIEW: FASA’s Philippine Culture Night

We’re still in the beginning of the semester but various organizations are already throwing events. You’ve probably heard of the one coming up this Saturday: FASA’s Philippine Culture Night. Their pre-sale tickets went live last semester and sold out within 30 minutes! After various struggles and being put on a long waitlist, I finally managed to get my hands on a ticket to the overflow room. Unfortunately my seat isn’t the best, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get any good pictures.

Here’s the description written on their instagram account: “This year’s PCN is themed Hiraya: Bridging the Generational Gap. With this theme, we want to honor our parents and those who came before us by highlighting our intergenerational differences in dreams, journeys, and aspirations. With this, we hope to spur forward-thinking conversation through dance,  performances, speeches, and more.” – @fasa_umich

Before coming to the University of Michigan, I didn’t know many Filipino people or anything about Filipino culture. It’s amazing to see how large and passionate FASA is as a community: FASA has been practicing at the Mason Hall posting wall for months now, and their dance team is extremely large. I believe modern and cultural dances will be performed on Saturday night, and it’s what I look forward to seeing the most at their event. This will be my second time exposing myself to Filipino culture (the first time being a traditional music ensemble performance), and I look forward to learning more!

I’m still unsure if tickets are viable at this point, but good luck to those trying!

PCN will be from 5:30-9:30 PM (doors open at 5 PM) in the Michigan Union, Rogel Ballroom (second floor).

REVIEW: Celebrasia

I arrived promptly at 5:15, and through the windows of Mason Hall, I could see the place was already swarmed. The performances wouldn’t start until 6:30, but eager supporters ravaged the food booths, arriving early to secure good seats and snag Asian snacks like scallion pancakes, spam musubi, samosas, onigiri, tea eggs, and dumplings, just to name a few. 

After destroying the best tofu pudding of my life, and a quick fishbowl study sesh (grind never stops), we headed to auditorium A to catch the performances. Only to find an overflow of people out into the hall. There was absolutely no way to get a seat, let alone see past the crowd of heads cramming the walkway. Despite many technical difficulties, and my late arrival to the show, the student groups were a hit. From the doorway of the auditorium, through the screen of a phone filming between two heads (shout out to the dude who was recording), we gasped, bug-eyed at Revolution Yo-yo’s flying tricks and coordinated routine to “Stereotype” by STAYC. When they threw and caught their yo-yos and jumped to the beat of the song, the audience emitted oohs, ahs, and wahs

By the time the intermission hit, we were able to finally find seats and sit down. Pretending we were a part of Seoul Juice, who were all suited up in forest, olive, and dark green (one member even dyed their hair green), we wove through the crowd with ease. With the fairy lights and floral compositions framing the stage, the band resembled Christmas trees, a little grove of them. They absolutely murdered their new setlist, blazing through “Pink + White” by Frank Ocean, “Jealous” by Gummy and Ailee, and “Hype Boy” by NewJeans with character and ease. Suzy’s high notes alone were enough to bring about collective chills. Nods and grimaces of admiration (expressions like that of K-drama characters after downing a smooth shot of soju) between members solidified a sense of not only skill, but group support and dynamic. Their unique color showed when they grooved with one another during instrumental riffs. Like when Darren swooned against the back of the stage when one of the new members sang solo. Or when the mics started beatboxing (more tech issues!) and a few members stalled while the situation was being sorted out. The distraction, in the form of playing around with pleasant, jazzy sounds, made the dim auditorium feel like a street-side restaurant in Italy. Along with roars towards individual members of the band, cheers from the audience (“Slay Juice”) hyped the whole group up.

Seoul Juice performing Pink + White.

As a (mediocre) dancer and dance enthusiast, I especially enjoyed the dance groups’ performances. DB3, in matching schoolboy outfits, had the audience barking, singing along, and screaming fanchants. rXn demonstrated a versatile variety of dances that blended the traditional with trendy. 

rXn during two different dances.

FunKtion’s final pose.

“Hype Boy” came on again during Female Gayo’s performance medley. The K-pop dance group flaunted the strengths they’re known so well for: sharp stage presence, clean coordination, and charming charisma. The choreography caught every eye; mine were glued, dry from forgetting to blink. And I wasn’t the only one. The person sitting in front of me was filming a literal fancam for one of the members.

So when the speakers stopped, mid-song, it was all the more disappointing, for both the audience and the performers. Some members kept dancing, while the other half froze in their positions, mid-step; both moves oozing professionalism. The music was fixed, the song replayed, they got back into formation again. But the technical difficulties were still being difficult; as soon as the song started back up, it grinded to a halt again, at the same time as before. Luckily, third time was a charm, and they were able to finish out the performance both smoothly, and with a bang. 

Female Gayo while waiting for the music to get fixed.

I wasn’t able to see nor write about every group, but I look forward to next year’s Celebrasia, and I’m sure many can say the same!

I left with several shazamed songs in my pocket, a satisfied stomach, and cheeks that hurt from cheesing.

Preview: Don José Marti Open Mic

This Sunday, November 13th, from 7pm – 10pm at the Rackham Graduate School, The Beta Upsilon chapter of Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity, Inc. are hosting their second annual Don José Marti Open Mic! 

This Open Mic is inspired by one of Beta’s pillars, Don José Marti, who was a Cuban nationalist, poet, journalist, and publisher who is considered a hero in the Latin American liberation movement. This event will represent a large variety of art forms: They welcome writers, musicians, vocalists, actors, dancers, and visual artists to present their artwork or perform in front of a live audience. I specifically liked that they mentioned that performers of all skill levels are welcomed in the Performance Application form. I’ve been to a few open mic events, and have been wanting to expose myself to more. There will also be food catering by a Latin American Cuban Cuisine. If you like poetry, spoken word, short stories, music, dances, visual arts, acting, and photography, this is the event for you! Seems like it will be an exciting night of appreciating and celebrating the arts! 

Make sure to fill out the RSVP Guest Form!

REVIEW: Celebrasia

*The image above is rXn, CSA’s dance group*

Celebrasia is definitely one of the events on campus with the best attendance turnout. The posting wall was flooded with people, truly resembling a night market, and people had already begun waiting in line thirty minutes before the performance. Unfortunately for those who didn’t come early, there weren’t enough seats (even for the performers); the aisles and back of the auditorium were flooded with people too, and they all stood for the entirety of the two-and-a-half-hour show. It was impressive how eager everybody was to watch the student organizations.

Having The Qingyun Chinese Music Ensemble perform first was a good decision; it established Celebrasia’s emphasis on cultural diversity by presenting various Chinese instruments such as the erhu and guzheng. It was also my first time hearing traditional Chinese music performed live; the sight and sounds of their ensemble were captivating with its heart-tugging melodies and gentle rhythms.

One of the most hyped-up performances was by DB3, the all-male K-pop dance group. It’s unsurprising how excited the audience was, as DB3 went hard on promoting their concept: ‘School Daze’. Each member wore a cute school uniform, and on their Instagram, they posted pictures of their group and all members too. 

In contrast, Moli, the female Chinese cultural dance group performed right after, and it was one of my favorite performances. They incorporated their clothing and fans into the dance as if they were extensions of their body and wore multiple outfits throughout their act. It was amazing how they managed to change clothes in such a short time and still keep the audience engaged throughout.

It’s understandable why popular songs and more powerful moves earn the most cheers, but this group stood out to me because of how different they were. While I was extremely excited watching all the hip-hop dances, I was most awe-inspired by Moli’s choreography.

Revolution, however, had a fantastic performance that successfully fused both culture and hip-hop. This group was also extremely memorable because the audience would collectively scream oooh and sigh aww. Unlike other performances, if one of the members stumbled it still added to the cheerful atmosphere in that way. It was so much fun because of that, and I would giggle at how in sync we were as an audience. Revolution is an extremely large group, but no member shined less than the others as our focus was on the Chinese Yo-Yos being tossed and twirled and caught in sync with the music. Their performances always showcase how strong their teamwork is and how much the members need to trust each other because many of the moves rely on one another to be successful. In small groups, that’s already hard, so Revolution is especially extraordinary.

I haven’t touched upon all of the groups that performed, but not because they were lesser in any way. If I did, then this review would probably be 2,000 words. As much as I’d love to do that, I don’t think it’d do justice to every group’s hard work and talent. That’s why it’s up to you, fellow reader, to go check out their performances yourselves! Especially for the groups I haven’t mentioned. If you’re interested in who did perform,

I want to give a special shout-out to those who worked through the technical difficulties at Celebrasia like Female Gayo and Seoul Juice. It showed their professionalism as performers, and they still killed it despite the additional challenges.

Celebrasia is genuinely one of the most special events on campus. If you missed it this time, don’t miss it next year!

PREVIEW: Celebrasia

Come to Mason Hall tomorrow night to celebrate CSA’s Celebrasia! In the beginning half of the event there will be a huge array of food stalls (like orange chicken y’all) provided by multiple student organizations all along the posting wall; in my opinion though, the food stalls are not the best part of Celebrasia. After all, we save the best for last: the free performances! It wouldn’t hurt to grab some munchies before the show though.

From 6:30-8, dances and live music will be provided by (in order):

Qingyun Chinese Music Ensemble (Co-ed traditional Chinese instruments orchestral group)

Blue Records (Live music)

DB3 (Male Kpop dance group)

Moli (Female Chinese cultural dance group)

Konnect (Co-ed Kpop dance group)

akDPhi (Multicultural Greek Sorority)

Flowdom (Co-ed hip-hop dance group)

VeryUs (Female hip-hop and cultural fusion dance group)

Revolution (Co-ed Chinese Yoyo team)


Seoul Juice (Live music)

Kappa Phi Lambda (Multicultural Greek Sorority)

Female Gayo (Female Kpop dance group)

rXn (CSA’s hip-hop and cultural dance group)

Funktion (Male hip-hop dance group)

K-Motion (Female Kpop dance group)

Photonix (Co-ed glow-in-the-dark dance group)

I provided the descriptions above to give insight into what kind of event Celebrasia will be, but those few words doesn’t do each group justice. You’ve probably seen a good amount of these groups practicing alongside the posting wall these past couple weeks, all of them grinding for Celebrasia. Their practices are multiple days a week and hours long at a time even though their sets are usually max 10 minutes, so I’m super excited to see how their hard work pays off in their performances tomorrow night. Actually, a couple of these groups aren’t even formal dance clubs, but I’m sure they’ll be amazing too.

If you’re interested in Kpop, dance (hip-hop and cultural), live music, and experiencing a cultural event, come to Celebrasia tomorrow night November 6th from 5-9 pm at Mason Hall!