Episode 115 – The Social Distance Series: Pilipino Cultural Nights

Pilipino Cultural Night, aka PCN, aka PACN, aka Barrio Fiesta, aka Filipino Night, etc.  is an annual production performed by countless Filipino American student organizations on college campuses (and some high schools) throughout the country.  It is a night of acting, singing, and dancing that draws thousands of Filipino Americans any given year.  It has become an institution in Filipino America.

Unfortunately, so many PCNs have been canceled due to the current COVID-19 Crisis, disappointing countless Filipino American students who planned on participating this year.  This prompted the TFAL crew to look back to our experiences of participating (or not participating) in PCN.  In this episode, the TFAL crew discusses what is PCN, its popular even after 40+ years of existence, the genre’s critiques and controversies, and of course, its unbearable length.

Listen and find out who didn’t participate in PCN, who served as PCN coordinator, who was too dark to perform a Maria Clara dance, and which school had an 8-hour PCN!  This episode was recorded live on FB, with the master scholar, Theo Gonzalves, joining in on the chat.

To learn more about PCN, its origins, and its critiques, you can read the following scholarly works:

Theo Gonzalves’s The Day the Dancers Stayed

Dylan Rodriguez’s introductory chapter in Suspended Apocalypse

Xavier Hernandez’s article, “Behind the Curtain”

Listen through the embedded player below, download directly here or subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts here. For Folks who are on Spotify, you can take a listen to us here.

What is your PCN experience?  Got an opinion on PCN?  Let us know by calling us at (805) 394-TFAL or emailing us at thisfilipinoamericanlife@gmail.com.


1 comment on “Episode 115 – The Social Distance Series: Pilipino Cultural Nights

  1. mike r. says:

    oh hi guys!
    this is a great episode. you guys started out this episode with “Hilaw Pa” suggestions & I just thought: speaking of half-baked ideas, what about a whole TV/Netflix series just about PCNs!—like “Glee” or “High School Musical”, but Filipino! (or -x!)

    there’d be so much material to draw on, it could showcase PCNs at different schools, in different years, different dances & plays & programs, even the struggles & politics behind organising them (since they’re that big).

    plus, highly-diverse Netflix shows are in demand now, & I’d think there’s enough Filipinos esp. in California to cast for a show like that. I’m sure it’d get us recognised by the world! (even & esp. by y’all’s kababayans in the old country, we’re suckers for Pinoy Pride like that, we’ll definitely signal-boost it lol)

    this is a great podcast, ingat & keep it up guys!

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