By Matt Moceiks / Staff Writer and Christian Rosario / Editor-In-Chief
Raritan Valley Community College’s Filipino Peace Club (FPC) took a creative approach to challenging poverty. Because many parents in developing countries do not have the money to provide basic needs to their children, humanitarian organizations have reached out to developed countries for aide. By exhibiting their musical talents, FPC members raised money to help underprivileged children in the Philippines at the Day of Hearts Concert on February 21.
Proceeds from the concert went to Unbound, a humanitarian organization that has a sponsorship program to provide food, education and medicine to children and the aging in 21 different countries. FPC members are emotionally involved with helping underprivileged people because the Philippines is challenged by extensive poverty. According to the National Statistics Coordination Board, in 2009 28.8% of Filipino families lived on $1.25 a day.
Nancy Mombay, the advisor for FPC and assistant coordinator of RVCC’s admissions office, first learned of Unbound at St. Bernards of Clairvaux church. After a Sunday mass, Unbound showed profiles of children and aging in need of sponsors. This inspired her to sponsor her own child, Christine Budomo. The money Budomo’s parents make is barely enough to support her and her four siblings. “It makes me feel very good to help Christine and her parents. My desire to be forward and thankful for all the blessings I’m given in life motivated me to sponsor her,” says Mombay.
Unbound requests $30 a month for the sponsorship of a child or aging person. Sponsors receive approximately three letters per month from their sponsored members and are offered a travel opportunity to visit them. FPC officers are still deciding whether they will donate proceeds from the concert to the whole organization or to a special fund for Christine. They raised $140 with 60 people attending.
The concert featured a mix of Filipino music and popular American music sang by members and alumni of FPC. The singers were allowed to pick their own song. The concert started with club president Dani singing the Filipino song “Bumuhos Man Ang Ulan”, which translates to “Even If It Rains” in English. She then went on to perform with John Lato the classic duet “L.O.V.E.” by Nat King Cole. Lato then continued the concert with his two solo performances of Bruno Mars’s “Covering When I Was Your Man” and Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning”.
Lato was followed by Mary Petras who sang her own original song “Be Free”. Petras said the loss of her dog inspired her to write the song. She also performed a duet with James Tomale covering Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You”. James then went on with Paul Jireh Del Mundo to cover “Bottom Dollar” by D-Pryde. The crowd was enthusiastic and danced along with the performance. Del Mundo is interested in pursuing music as a career and already has a few music videos on Youtube.
Spencer Bautista, a theater major, changed the mood with his emotional performance of the song “With You” by Stephen Schwartz. He said he chose the song because he wanted to expand the genres featured at the concert. Leo Adoptante went next and was accompanied by Alex Manahan on the piano. They delivered a powerful performance of John Legend’s “All of Me”. Both are Alumni of RVCC and FPC. Leo is currently attending Kean University and Alex is attending Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. Manahan said she wanted to attend Sophia University because it was a great learning opportunity and she wanted to experience something different.
Next was Kara Nelson, starting her performance with a highly entertaining cover of Kanye West’s song “Heartless” and then her favorite song “Don’t Know Why” by Nora Jones. She ended her performance with the Temptations’ “My Girl”. The concert performances ended with the FPC choir covering Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours”. The concert came to a close with an audience participated line dance, a tradition at all of their events.
The Filipino Peace Club hosts one event every month of the fall and spring semesters. Proceeds from their events go toward local, national and international charities. FPC is in its fifth year and has had a large increase in membership within the last year. The goal of the club is to empower and gain awareness of Filipino culture through music and food.
Their next event, Score for Hope, is scheduled for March 21. Proceeds will also go to Unbound. A Night in The Philippines, is scheduled for April 11, which is during Asian Pacific Heritage Month. Proceeds will go to Project Overflow, a non-profit organization supporting clean water projects in developing countries.