This work is no doubt a result of the passion Eric Solano has for advocating and working with indigenous groups and giving them support in anyway that we can. My cultural identity as a Chinese-American mixed with my interests in Filipino and Hawaiian cultures has provided me experiences that have turned into passions, but have most importantly developed friendships, founded mentors, and created a new pamilya.
These trips also made it possible for our company to be acquainted with different cultures and groups from around the world. The best part is that we made friends who share the same passions and built relationships for future festival invitations, which will give Parangal more channels to educate a bigger audience and continue to preserve our Philippine culture.
Parangal gave me opportunities to perform in multiple events all over Bay Area. They have given me the safe space to express myself as a genderqueer Filipinx-American- not just as a man, but as a womxn of color- and this only strengthened my identity as a Filipinx-American.
Reflecting on Parangal’s community, generosity of knowledge, and organizational models, it is no surprise that my experiences with this company have and will continue to sustain my work developing young dancers and musicians in Stockton. Parangal plugs me into an energy source that has sparked a cultural renaissance in a new generation of Filipino-Americans in the Central Valley.
This trip was definitely a learning experience for me, as I’m sure it was for everyone. It opened my eyes as to why we do what we do at PDC and what it means and represents to me personally. As we are about to embark on our 10-year Anniversary show “Padayon” I urge you to reflect on what it means to you to be Filipino/Filipino-American, to appreciate the culture we are trying so hard to preserve and promote. I guarantee you we’ve only scratched the surface and what’s to come will be truly amazing.