With over 10,000 views in two nights, the virtual 35th Friendship Games did not skip a beat on bringing spirit, pride, unity and friendship, known as SPUF, to schools across the country as the event raised thousands of dollars for COVID-19 relief in the Philippines.
Thirty-seven schools participated in the event coordinated put together by Cal State Fullerton’s Pilipinx American Student Association, known as PASA, which live streamed Friday and Saturday night on YouTube and Kumu, a live streaming app based in the Philippines. A In addition, a Zoom watch party was also available for everyone all to join, as people sang songs and let out support for allof all performances on both nights.
Over $19,000 was raised through donation wars leading up to the event, with all the proceeds going to the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, known as NAFCON, a nonprofit organization for COVID-19 relief in the Philippines. With $2,608, CSUF raised the most money out of all the participating schools with $2,608.
“It’s not just celebrating our history of the past, but you are all makers of history of the present and where we are going to move forward as a Filipino community,” said Ryan Leano, national coordinator of education for the National Alliance for Filipino ConcernsNAFCON, on Friday night. “All of us at the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns just want to say thank you very much for partnering with us during this year’s Friendship Games, as well fundraising as much as possible so that we can support our Kabayans both here in the U.S. and back home in the Philippines during this time of COVID-19.”
The three finalists for Final Rampage, the event that to decided the Friendship Games’ game’s champion, were the University of San Diego, Chapman University and CSUFCal State Fullerton. The final participants were based on the school’s amount of likes on each their organization’s Instagram page, showing spirit and using each school’s hashtag, as well as through the donation wars.
Since the finalists couldn’t participate in the usual obstacle course for Final Rampage, a Kahoot based on Friendship Games trivia determined who would be the winner, with the University of San Diego taking the crown.
Chapman University was crowned the Friendship GamesSPUF champion and winner of the 8-foot trophy. For the SPUF competition, schools posted a video to for the Friendship Games’ TikTok page, and the video with the most likes won. With over 1,200 likes, Chapman University went with the theme “Step Up”, where members danced at a family outing for their tito and tita to the remixed version of the viral song, “Savage Love” by Jason Derulo and Jawsh 685.
The first nightNight one began with Filipinx club members from the participating schools speaking about what it means to be Filipinx, the injustices happening in the Philippines and what the community can do now and in the future to help the Filipinx community them prosper.
After a video montage of past games and words from past coordinators, co-coordinators Kylie Tatom and Marcel Alanson spoke about how excited they were after months of planning, and even though the event was virtual, it was a chance for members of the Pilipinx community to come together.
“Our coordinator positions are more than just student leadership roles. It’s a chance to make an impactful difference for the community, and since one of our pillars is unity, we wanted to ensure all of you had the opportunity to still feel connected during these unprecedented times,” Alansalon said.
After Almicke Navarro of Arizona State University sang the U.S. national anthem and Maireen Barnachea of San Diego State sang the Philippines national anthem, Pilipinx group members from the participating schools showed off their vocals and dance moves on the first night night one.
To the harmonizing Zzoom performances from UniversityUniveristy of California, Riverside and Cal State Northridge’s Andrew Vo’s acoustic rendition of ‘90s classics, to dance routines from San Francisco State and the University of Arizona’s Jason Marquez, the community’s talents were on full display as they had people in the watch party and chats cheering as if they were back at the Intramural Fields.
The second nightNight two included more student performances, including Infinite Pasabilities’, CSUF’s Pilipinx American Student Association PASA dance crew, innovative routine shot with multiple camera angles, using the ongoing theme of unity. Paa Modern, a dance crew from UC Merced, performed a skit and dance routine based on the animated series Dragon Ball Z that had the chat rooms going super saiyan with hype.
The four headlining performers over the two nights did not disappoint. Former “The Voice” contestant Cedrice started off Friday night by singing songs that embracing womanhood and about learning how to grow on her your own, showing off her vocal range with slow and fast-high tempo songs. With a guitar in hand, Kolohe Kai performed some of his biggest hits off the shores of Hawai’i, soothing all fans as they enjoyed the while enjoying the beautiful scenery.
On Saturday night, Chapman alumnus Nieman Gatus gave the audience a taste of soul, while also covering Bryson Tiller songs with a classic R&B feel. It all came to a close when “your friendly neighborhood tito” JR Aquino ended the show, as not even technical difficulties could stop him from performing. He ended his set withby playing one of his most popular songs and crowd favorite, “By Chance.” With everyone simping, Aquino got the chat to sing and type “La La La” and ended with modified lyrics, “You look so beautiful on Friendship Games.”
Both nights wouldn’t be complete without the annual afterparty, withwhich had DJs deejays Rodel and Gieezy using visual effects and hyped sets to get the people feeling as if they were back at the City National Grove in Anaheim.
With the money raised and all the spirit that was shown during Filipino American History Month, Friendship Games proved that not even a pandemic could stop Filipinx members across the nation from uniting and celebrating what being a Pinoy is all about.