P.A.R.E Holds Annual “Barrio Fiesta” for Campus Community

There was a fiesta at St. John’s University this past weekend, a Barrio Fiesta to be exact. P.A.R.E’s 14th annual “Barrio Fiesta” kicked off this past Saturday, April 12, with great enthusiasm and anticipation.

The Fiesta was truly the culmination of months of hard work from St. John’s University’s P.A.R.E organization.

P.A.R.E stands for “Philippine-Americans Reaching Everyone” a name that signifies the organization’s goal. P.A.R.E. is part of a larger organization: Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue, Inc.

The term “barrio” is a word for a small village in the Philippines. Every “barrio” throws together its own fiesta, which inspired P.A.R.E to have its own. This year’s “Barrio Fiesta” was an enormous success with nearly 602 people in attendance.

The night kicked off with the P.A.R.E Rockband.

The band performed covers ranging from Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning”, to The Racountours’ “Steady as She Goes,”. The band’s energy set the tone for the night and successfully engaged their audience.

MCs Kevin Gregorios and Jen Nicole Acampado kept the audience excited and entertained throughout the show. Mahalya Schewadrom, P.A.R.E secretary noted that The P.A.R.E Rockband was the standout performance of the night.

“The performance that stood out the most was the Rockband. It was formed just a couple months ago, and they threw a great performance together. Their chemistry and energy was simply amazing and they surprised all of us by their performance” said Shwadrom.

Following the performance, comedian John Gonzalez took the stage and had the crowd in hysterics as he entertained them with his routine focused on Filipino life and tradition. Jackie Mariano, Miss Philippines 2008, changed the tone a bit and gave a heartfelt rendition of a monologue from “Purple Breasts.”

After the monologue, The Cryptic Soul steppers took the stage and wowed the audience with their mix of stepping and hip hop to the theme of “Sesame Street.” The Soul steppers captured the attention of Ashley Falzone, a sophomore at St. John’s.

“Their moves were so insync and well executed. They were definitely the performance that stood out for me. I thought the Sesame Street idea was cute too, how every member was supposed to portray a different character,” said Falzone.

Following the dance performance, a video was shown in which there were parodies of shows such as Family Matters and Cribs featuring members of P.A.R.E. The closeness that the members share was evident in the video and served to show how close-knit all the members have become.

“Barrio Fiesta” is really the time for P.A.R.E. to prove how we all first begin as friends but eventually turned into family through all the time that we spend with each other,” said Schwadrom.

The night ended with a wholly unique interpretation of Love & Basketball, with “Hoops, Hopes and Hopia.” This skit led to P.A.R.E’s dominance over other Barrios at the “Battle of the Barrios” that took place at Rutgers. It portrayed different aspects of Filipino and Filipino-American culture as well as many issues that second generation Filipino-Americans go through.

Don’t worry if you missed out on this unique event, because P.A.R.E will be holding others, Shwardarom says. “The biggest event after this fiesta is Simbang Gabi. It’s similar to barrio fiesta but a little smaller in size and it is held in light of the Christmas season.

We are also famous on campus for our halo halo karaoke nights in which we serve a free Filipino dessert. It’s a chance for people to meet the members of P.A.R.E., possibly join, and just bond.”