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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Pilipino Cultural Association hosts Mx. District Five pageant

Paolo Bayotas III, the pageant winner, escorted by fellow Stockton University student Emily Luc.

The stage was set as 12 contestants from 12 different universities show off their style, talents and Pilipino culture. 

On Feb. 18, the St. Joe’s Pilipino Cultural Association (PCA) teamed up with the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue (FIND, Inc.) to host Mx. District Five, a pageant celebrating Filipino culture.

FIND, Inc. is “a student-led non profit organization dedicated to promoting unity and cooperation among Filipino and Filipino-American students,” according to their website. They work with Filipino student associations at colleges and universities across the entire East Coast.

FIND, Inc.’s District V spans 12 schools across Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Delaware. Each Filipino student organization in District V sent a

representative to the Mx. District Five pageant, which was open to contestants of any gender identity. The event was held in the Athletic/Recreation Center (ARC) multipurpose room on the University City campus. 

According to Reigne Villanueva ’24, president of PCA, the reason this collaboration with the district is so unique and special is because it allows for students of similar backgrounds and cultures to share their identities, not only with each other, but also with a larger community. 

“The point of this district and FIND, Inc. in general is to bring Pilipino students together in order to just share our culture with each other and celebrate our culture,” Villanueva said. “This project specifically is one to celebrate and recognize Pilipino culture and talent. Obviously, we welcome it out to anyone whether you’re Pilipino or not.” 

The pageant started with contestants dressing up and being escorted across the stage. The second round was showcasing a talent of their choosing, which was later followed by a cultural performance where contestants prepared a piece that represented what Filipino culture meant to them. During this showcase, some contestants wrote poetry, painted, cooked an authentic meal and shared personal family stories. In the final round, the top five contestants answered questions. 

Myles Pacla ’24, a general body member of PCA, was the St. Joe’s representative at the pageant. Pacla said she was not only looking forward to showcasing her own talents, but also seeing everyone’s hard work put together for one special night. 

“What I’m most looking forward to is putting all of my hard work and dedication that I’ve been putting into this one event out there,” Pacla said. “I’m super, super excited to see all the other contestants and also to see how well PCA put this event together.”

According to Jared Panicker ’24, PCA graphics chair, this pageant encourages people to learn more about the Filipino culture in an unique and fun way. 

“I think it’s just really cool for people to come out and just see the Pilipino aspect of the language, the culture, the food that’s going to be served,” Panicker said. “It’s all centered around the Pilipino people and what they do and what they bring, and just the really creative and fun sides of it.” 

After a month of training, Pacla finally had the opportunity to perform for the crowd during the talent portion as she sang “Never Enough” by Loren Allred. She also showcased her tinikling abilities, which is a traditional Philippine folk dance, during the culture portion of the show.

“I’ve been training for about two weeks straight just trying to get our cultural performance done and then going back to Jersey to practice with my uncle, who’s a really nice vocal coach,” Pacla said. 

Pacla’s hard work paid off: she placed as the first runner up to Mx. District Five, with the crown ultimately going to Paolo Bayotas III, the external vice president for the Pilipino American Students Association of Stockton University.

The event not only brought attention to Filipino culture, it also made a tangible impact as the organization raised money for the Purposeful Unconditional Service to Others ( P.U.S.O.) Foundation. 

“Part of our proceeds are going to the P.U.S.O. Foundation, and specifically their Silid Aralan project, and it helps and benefits children in the Philippines for their education,” Villanueva said. 

Myles Pacla ’24 performing “Never Enough” by Loren Allred at the Mx. District Five pageant. PHOTOS: KELLY SHANNON ’24/THE HAWK

The pageant allowed students across three different states to come together, showcase their talents and share their knowledge of their culture with others. 

“This event is a huge highlight of Pilipino culture and not just what SJU has to offer as the host. We’re going to see students from Drexel, University of Pennsylvania, Temple, Rowan, Rutgers, University of Delaware, Penn State, and it’s the whole district coming together,” Panicker said. “It’s really nice to see different sides of what people can bring and what Pilipino culture is or how they can highlight Pilipino culture for themselves.” 

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Hannah Madeya
Hannah Madeya, Features Editor
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