Our recent talent showcase “Maboohay” has been featured on the front page of the Spartan Daily School Newspaper! Here’s the article written by Natalie Cabral:
The event, hosted by Akbayan, a Filipino-American student organization
, was an effort to raise money and awareness for it’s chosen non-profit, Project PEARLS.
Project PEARLS, which stands for peace, education, aspiration, respect, love and smile, according to founder Melissa Villa, is an organization dedicated to feeding families and providing scholarships for the children of Ulingan, a slum located in the Philippines.
“We adopted this slum community that sits on a garbage dump site in the Philippines,” Villa said.
In the slum, according to Villa, children as young as three work in charcoal factories.
She said after seeing
shocking photos by photojournalist Sidney Snoeck on Facebook in 2010 of children working in the slum , she was inspired to contact Snoeck and ask how to send school supplies.
Villa said the photographer informed her that the children didn’t attend school at all.
Eventually, with the help of personal and corporate donations and support, Villa said Project PEARLS was able to open up a school for the impoverished students.
Today, Villa said the organization consists of around 30 volunteers who arrive from Manila every Saturday to serve food to the community.
According to Ann Dela Cruz, Akbayan cultural chair and business management major, the show aims
to not only benefit the nonprofit, but local talent as well.
“I really want these local artists to get their names out there,” Dela Cruz said. “I’ll know it’s a success if these artists get more support after the show.”
Santa Clara group JAM’N performed several covers to a lively crowd and transformed the evening into a brief jam session.
JAM’N members Nico Cabrera, Mary Ann Santa Ana and Maricres Santa Ana performed together for the first time in two years, according to Cabrera.
“It was definitely a good reunion because we’ve been doing our own thing for a while,” Cabrera said, “So just for us to get together and do what we love doing was definitely a good time.”
Vocalist Mary Ann Santa Ana said the Project PEARLS cause hit close to home, and she was happy to be able to contribute.
“Just knowing how life is like in the Philippines, it feels kind of good and humbling,” she said.
Other acts, such as dance group Hungry Bumz, impressed the crowd with snappy dance moves and the
improvisation group Taste Better Wit had audience members nearly crying from laughter.
The band Soulful Obsession mixed unique lyrical content with contemporary jazz before the Mabuhay Folkloric Society displayed the traditional Filipino-Muslim courtship dance, Singkil/Pagdiwata, the dance of the fairy.
Spoken word artist Deana Faye shook up the audience with honest poems on the downfalls of texting and political problems among our society.
“Why is the rich still getting rich and the poor still getting poor?” Faye said.
Finishing off the night was headliner Jeff Bernat, whose recent album “The Gentleman Approach,” reached number five on iTunes.
A celebration and cause for awareness of Project PEARLS, “Ma ‘BOO’ hay” expected to attract about 200 to 300 guests, according to Dela Cruz.
“There’s no sanitation in the heart of Manila,and there is limited access to clean water,” Villa said. “I’m humbled and honored as their beneficiary, and it’s more about raising awareness than anything else.”