Group wins first place at home
The University of Houston Filipino Student Association hosted and won the annual GoodPhil festivity at the Stafford Centre.
GoodPhil is a weekend event which began in 1991 where FSA groups from universities across the state, including the University of Texas, Texas A&M and the University of Texas at San Antonio among others, convene to celebrate their culture through dance and sports.
“It’s something that every participating FSA in Texas looks forward to every year,” President of UHFSA Christian Santos said.
“On a competitive note, every school prepares and puts in work to represent their school in every competition. In the end, it’s just about getting everyone together as one.”
The competition draws in students who watched the events as kids.
“Some of us have followed GoodPhil since we were in high school at a young age and had older brothers, sisters or friends who were involved with GoodPhil, and we just were there along for the ride in some way,” business sophomore and dancer Richard Ocampo said.
The preparation for the event spans over months with grueling schedules the students juggled along with school, work and family obligations. Students participating in sports met various times each week to prepare for the football, basketball, volleyball, soccer and dodgeball competitions.
“We practiced everywhere on-campus,” kinesiology major Wesley Vu said. “Aside from team practice, we had individual practices at the UH Recreation Center with our coach two times a week, each lasting about one to three hours long.”
Santos said team chemistry was an important factor among the athletes and that new members of the group worked very well with the other dancers.
“Every single athlete and dancer put their heart and soul into the preparation of GoodPhil to the point where these ‘rookies’ played and performed like seasoned veterans,” Santos said.
One of the highlights of the event is the dance competition on opening night, where three dances are presented: cultural, spirit and modern.
The dancers practiced in the University Center Underground since late January three days per week, until March when they practiced every day.
There are about 35 dancers for the modern dance, and practices for the group lasted from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Closer to the premiere, the dancers had practices that lasted until midnight or after.
“Nothing gets me more motivated than to rep UH and compete for Houston. As much as we practice and as talented as we are, the energy when we get on that stage is unreal. Our friends and families screaming and chanting ‘UH’ so loud that we can’t even hear the music,” management information systems junior Sadiq Amir said.
“The last song from our modern dance was an emotional one for all of us. It wasn’t about performing or trying to win at that point; it was about emotion and heart. Some of us couldn’t hold back tears while performing that final song.”
UHFSA placed first in dance as well as a majority of the sports competitions, including football, and won the GoodPhil first place overall prize.
“I always made it a point for everyone to leave with something memorable from GoodPhil, dance or sports related,” Ocampo said. “And I feel like we did just that.”