On a chilly, rainy Saturday evening, I had the pleasure of photographing USF Kasamahan's 41st Annual Barrio Fiesta, and after such an experience, I am nothing short of humbled.
Being an attendee at last year's Barrio fiesta and having the pleasure of enjoying it from the stands was surely a lovely experience, but being able to express myself as a part of Kasamahan in the form of my images, this time around, created a newfound feeling of euphoria. The ability to convey the emotion and passion left on the stage by my fellow peers was truly awe-inspiring, and even though I didn't take part in the months and months of practice and preparation for this event, I can confidently say that I felt like a part of the family from my first step into the dressing rooms to take some behind-the-scenes images, up until my final step out of the presentation theater when all was said and done.
It's a truly beautiful thing - the ability to experience both the struggles and triumphs that many first-generation Filipino Americans, like myself, face when growing up as children, from being exclusively dependent on our parents to making life-decisions that could potentially change our lives forever. USF Kasamahan's 41st Annual Barrio Fiesta was a wonderful display of not only elegance, but ambition, in terms of how the Filipino community is able to immerse itself in so many different shapes and forms. From that, we always manage to go back to our roots, to our ancestors who came before us, making countless sacrifices, traveling near and far, and risking all that they had, just so we could have a future. I know that I can speak for the majority when I say that we are all truly grateful and that we will take these blessings to help us further chase our dreams and inevitably turn them all into reality.
Follow your dreams, don't ever sell yourself short, and never change who you are.