PACE promotes Filipino performing artists with 'Talentado'

From an original spoken word piece dedicated to an ading (Tagalog for younger sibling), to a performance by an Internet sensation with over one million views on a single video, the Filipino American community showcased their talent in “Talentado,” April 12, at SF State’s Jack Adams Hall.

About 100 guests came to Talentado, the talent show led annually by the Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor (PACE), to watch featured local singers, rappers, poets, beat boxers, musicians, and modern and cultural Filipino dance troops. This year’s headliners included popular YouTube singers Jeff Bernat and Melissa Polinar.

Polinar, who has over 50,000 subscribers on YouTube, recognizes the importance of having shows like Talentado to feature and encourage Filipino performers to pursue their dreams in the arts.

“We need more representation, artistry does exist in this culture,” Polinar said. “We are a creative people and I think people should represent us not just in the Filipino world but out in the mainstream community. People should keep pushing for that.”

SF State local performer, 23-year-old Kristopher Cruz, a music education major, has been performing in Talentado since his freshman year. This year he performed in three numbers, including singing with PACE’s choir group, Pil-Harmonix, dancing to hip-hop choreography with PCN Modern and partaking in a traditional Filipino dance with Barangay Dance Company.

Cruz uses Talentado as a way to share his passion for the arts.

“This show gives me a chance to express myself, I love performing,” Cruz said. “For me Talentado is about bringing the community together for a big show, showcasing Filipino talent and the people involved with the community.”

Every Talentado, PACE selects a group or organization to donate money to. Part of the proceeds raised by Talentado this year will go to Manilatown Heritage Foundation. It was chosen particularly to go along with this year’s upcoming 41st SF State Pilipino Cultural Night (PCN): “Legacy of the Fallen.”

Manilatown Heritage Foundation was created because of the International Hotel (I-Hotel). I-Hotel, located in the former Manilatown neighborhood on Kearny and Jackson Street, was known for its large number of Filipino American residents in the ’20s.

According to the Manilatown Heritage Foundation, at the time, legislation forbade Filipinos from owning their own properties. By the ’70s, the I-Hotel was practically the last remaining landmark of the original Manilatown. Now the Manilatown Heritage Foundation works to preserve the history of Manilatown by maintaining I-Hotel, now known as the International Hotel Manilatown Center. It offers tours, exhibits and gives people the opportunity to learn San Francisco’s Filipino roots.

“I’m glad God brought me here to contribute to this,” Bernat said. “It’s for a good cause, sometimes you just have to have an open heart and support good causes.”

Talentado coordinator, Nate Pati, 21, kinesiology major, described the influence and importance of PACE.

“Manilatown is a great foundation; we need to keep it alive. Without it we lose our history” Pati said. “One of the main quotes we use is ‘No history, no self. Know history, know yourself.’ And that’s what we’re trying to do here, preserve our history and our culture by helping Manilatown.”