Little known Annual Culture Shows in Fullerton that are Affordable and Worth Watching

Tinikling, Philippines’ National Dance featured at the 2023 Pilipino Cultural Night                                                                          photo by F. Bilangel


I have spent months and grueling days of after-school dance rehearsals, but it never occurred to me that I would be part of a cultural show that many thoughts were so amazing and affordable that they want to watch every cultural show that our school has to offer. On April 1st, Sunny Hills High School’s (SHHS) Filipino club, Bayanihan, held its highly anticipated popular annual Pilipino Culture Night (PCN) at the school’s performing arts center. Tickets were sold the week of the show for only ten dollars and slightly increased to twelve dollars at the door.

The program included 14 dances, eight skits, and four commercials altogether, showcasing two hours of the spectacular show highlighting Filipino culture and promoting cultural appreciation. The PCN received high praise for its professional dances, humorous skits, and interesting trivia that many in the audience found enriching. It helped that the sold-out PCN, full of family, friends, classmates, and even alumni, was so engaged; it made the show not only unique but electrifying.

Even as PCN stage director last year, just watching from the sidelines had so much impact on me that it inspired me to join the show this year. Despite my already busy calendar, I was determined to be part of this year’s PCN dance crew. The calling was so intense that I did not mind rehearsing after school and even on weekends since the beginning of the school year.

Before joining the Bayanihan Club, I never knew I could enjoy so much the cultural dances that my mom had enjoyed watching and performing as a young girl in the Philippines. Now I am very grateful that I was given the opportunity out of the hundred applicants who signed up for dances. It was both exhilarating and fulfilling as I performed to an electrified audience who remained engaged throughout the show.

The experience made me feel more connected to my Filipino roots. Many ethnic clubs can be found throughout the Fullerton Joint Union High School District. A unique feature of the clubs is that they are open to all students regardless of ethnicity, provided that applicants are interested in the specific ethnicity represented by the club. For example, this year’s PCN performers included Taiwanese and Germans who had as much fun as their Filipino friends and experienced firsthand the beauty of the Philippine culture. Besides PCN, another highly anticipated cultural show is Korean Culture Night (KCN).

The ticket cost was ten dollars, as with all the shows held at my school’s performing arts theatre, yet gave performances worth hundreds. These shows can be watched by anyone who is connected to a student who can buy the tickets on their behalf. For such a token amount of ten dollars, these shows are like hidden gems that provide great entertainment and education about other people’s cultures.

It was my first time watching KCN, and I was glad I did because it provided a fresh perspective on Korean culture beyond the K-pop music and K-dramas I binged on. So far, SHHS has only two annual cultural nights, and I hope the influence of the performances of the Bayanihan Club and the Korean Culture Club will inspire the rest of SHHS’s ethnic clubs to start their own cultural nights as well.