Get Involved!

On this page, you’ll find a list of the numerous ways you can get involved in Barkada. We have various committees and groups that you can join that range from singing to dancing to E-Sports to photography. Read more about each group under each tab!

Pilipino Graduation General Committee

Gain leadership experience by shadowing P-Grad executive board and help volunteer and plan Pilipino graduation!

For more information, please contact Kyle Balmonte, P-Grad President, at president@pgradcpp.com

Sportsfest Club

Sportsfest club focuses on building leadership skills, promoting mental health, and practices healthy habits. The main event the club puts together is Pilipinofest. Pilipinofest will be a festival event in March featuring food, sports, games, and cultural dances. Volunteers can earn leadership experience and win prizes such as gift-cards, even a chance to win a Disneyland ticket.

For more information, please contact Barkada’s Athletics Chair, Glen Marc Hasta, at sports@cppbarkada.org

Historian Committee

Assist in preserving the history of Barkada–come out to events and take the photos and videos that will be uploaded all of Barkada’s social media. No photography experience or camera required. Committee members do not need to attend all events.

For more information, please contact Kyle Libramonte, Barkada’s Historian, at historian@cppbarkada.org

Join the Historian Committee Facebook group here!

Among Balita Committee
Come learn and tell stories of Barkada through journalism. For more information contact Patricia Anne Babia, Barkada’s Public Relation, at pr@cppbarkada.org

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Alumni Spotlight: Maurice Rhee

Hello Barkada! My name is Justin Angeles, Cal Poly Pomona Barkada’s President, and today I have Maurice Rhee, Class-E year’s (2012-2013) Sports Chair and Dream-E year’s (2013-2014) Vice President. He’s the man who is big on Sportsfest. I hope y’all can give this article a read and learn about Barkada history!

Maurice Rhee was a double major in International Business and Marketing (IBM) and Technology and Operations Management (TOM) who graduated in 2014. He currently works as a visual merchandiser for JC Penny where he changes visual properties at the store like mannequins. He helps wherever else he is needed. In his freetime, Maurice plays video games like Call of Duty and NBA 2K with his friends.

Maurice joined Barkada during Mabut-E year (2009-2010). When he saw Barkada at freshman orientation, they approached him and talked to him. Barkada approached him again when he was moving into the dorms during Bronco Fusion. Maurice decided to check out the organization and thought it was fun. One of the first people Maurice met was RJ Tongol, Mabut-E year’s Sports Chair, because he was interested in Barkada’s intramural football team. Maurice needed to be a member in order to play. Football was the reason Maurice joined. However, the people in Barkada made Maurice stay because he enjoyed how welcoming they were.

At first, Maurice ran for board at the end of Nast-E year (2010-2011). Ever since Maurice was a freshman, he was heavily involved in the athletics aspect of Barkada. For example, he was a flag football coordinator for sportsfest. People saw him as a future Sports Chair. At first he wasn’t sure if he could or even wanted to do it, but after talking to people in Barkada, he wanted to do it more than anything. He wanted to run to give back to Barkada and give members the experience he had. During Barkada nominations, Bryan Agahan and him were both nominated for Sports Chair. He didn’t want to run against one of his best friends in Barkada who also wanted to be Sports Chair just as much as him. He decided to run for Treasurer instead because he thought being on board and working with Bryan was more important to him than being Sports Chair. He learned that the Treasurer is just as much in charge of Sportsfest as the Sports Chair after talking to Nast-E-year’s Sports Chair and Treasurer, Patrick Ocampo and Shea Salinas, and even saw them as co-Sports Chairs because of their dynamic. However, he lost the position that year to Andrew Yeo. This didn’t stop Maurice from running because the next year, Maurice became Class-E year’s Sports Chair.

One of Maurice’s favorite moments Class-E year was their bowling social. He had fun at a bowling social from his freshman year and decided to plan one and the turnout far exceeded his expectations. Another favorite moment was Friendship Games, when they had a wedding theme and a cake as their big prop. For the President interaction, the other school’s President would cut the cake and Class-E year’s Secretary, Sean Fabros, would come out from the cake wearing a bahag and dance on the President, while all the members would chant “STRIPPER!” He also enjoyed filming Barkada videos. One that stands out to him was a parody of the Korean Jesus segment from the movie 21 Jump Street. Fun fact, Maurice isn’t Filipino. He’s full Korean. Others that stand out are their bowling social video and parodies of a Michael Jordan and Larry Bird McDonalds commercial, Uncle Drew, and Justin Bieber’s “Beauty and a Beat” music video. All of these videos can be found on the Barkada YouTube channel! Despite some of the hardships that Class-E-Board went through, he was still very proud of what they were able to accomplish.

Maurice’s favorite event is Sportsfest. It was the reason why he ran for Sports Chair. He was excited to get the chance to run his own, Sportsfest XXIV: Redemption, but it wasn’t easy. Sportsfest was initially cancelled because Barkada thought they wouldn’t have enough funds to run the event. The board had a meeting with past Sports Chairs and Presidents, as well as their sports coordinators, to discuss their current financial standing and how they could still go on with the event. After much discussion and thought, they decided to go on with the event.

Some of his favorite moments in Sportsfest were being able to witness a perfect bowling game Steez-E year from a Barkada alumni team, doing a March Madness style bracket for basketball playoffs with some other members, and even getting to meet and talk with the other teams. It wasn’t all great, however. For Sportsfest XXIII it rained, it rained one of the days and he had to be outside the whole day without an umbrella. Another moment that stood out was the end of his Sportsfest. The year before he and a few other members dumped coolers of water on Bryan Agahan and Andrew Yeo at the end of theirs and thought the same would happen to him. As he was doing a final walkthrough of the gym, he looked out through the glass doors to see if there were any hidden coolers, but didn’t see any and thought they weren’t going to do it. After giving his final words, he turned it over to Andrew, who was still Treasurer. He walked over to hug Maurice, but instead held him and pushed him back as the members ran over to pour bottles of water on him.

Maurice didn’t stop at Sports Chair. He became Vice President the next year. He wanted to give back again. He was involved in Barkada for quite a long time and he wanted to bridge that gap between the two different eras of Barkada. He felt like he could do that best with the position of Vice President. As Vice President he worked with his A-Board, Sarangh-A-Board. Even though they had their own fundraisers, went food runs during PACN practices, and planned their own event, Family Feud, Maurice’s goal was to make A-Board a learning opportunity for the members who haven’t been on E-Board. He noticed that the applications asked which positions interested the members the most, but nothing was done to learn more about them. He decided to do a program where the A-Board members would shadow and learn from the E-Board. It didn’t go the way he had hoped and wished he could have done more with A-board that year but is thankful for the opportunity that it did give him. A-Board would later become what is known today as Internship board (I-board).

One of his favorite moments during Dream-E year was when their board performed at Barkada’s Got Talent (BGT). Their board had two performances for BGT. Their first performance was a video to the song “Happy” by Pharrel Williams. For their second performance, all the guys performed a dance half naked to the song “Ma Boy” by SISTAR. They did body rolls on stage. What happened was that Aldrin Dorado, Dream-E year’s Sports Chair, showed him the music video to the song when he went over to his suite. Aldrin kept playing the video throughout the day and suggested the idea. After sharing it with the rest of the guys, they agreed to do it. They didn’t practice all together until the night before and they pulled off an amazing performance. Some of his other favorite moments were playing True American, having an E-Board day at Six Flags, when he and Dream-E President, Iggy Gutierrez, matched for their E-Board photoshoot, and like Class-E year he enjoyed filming videos for Barkada. Dream-E board did a parody to Key & Peele’s famous video “Substitute Teacher” for their board introduction video. He’s very thankful for Dream-E-Board for making his final year of college as fun and enjoyable as it was.

Maurice ended up joining Barkada’a Kuya Ate Ading mentorship program where he got picked up by his kuya Daniel Tsen. His grand is Vinz Lim and his adings are Jerald, Marielle, and April. He enjoyed spending time with Vinz and Daniel at Ski Trips and is thankful for all the talks when he was a freshman. One of his favorite moments with Jerald was when they played basketball for Barkada at the 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament. He blocked someone in the tournament because Jerald pushed him midair. For Marielle, one of his favorite moments was when he visited her when she graduated from nursing school in Vegas before the pandemic. For April, one of his favorite moments was at John’s Incredible Pizza for Kuya Ate Ading Night. He went to visit her when she graduated as well.

If there was one thing Maurice learned while in Barkada, it’s to not be afraid to ask for help. When Sportsfest was almost cancelled, he was grateful that Barkada alumni came to help out with the event. He learned that it’s important to learn things by himself but at the same time reach out for help when he needs it. He learned to reach out to his predecessors, his board, and alumni. Maurice succeeded in college because he didn’t do it just by himself, he had the help from all his friends.

Maurice says that all members should do PACN. This is the event where the bonds between his Barkada friends were solidified forever. The whole process defines PACN. From acting auditions, PACN orientation, and run throughs at night, PACN was the event where Barkada turned from a group of friends to family for Maurice. He saw this first hand when he and the rest of the Mabut-E freshmen became close after their first PACN. They would hang out at practices and walk back to the dorms together. They would still hangout after PACN and get dinner and study at the library. The withdrawals the members feel after finishing PACN is real. Maurice said that when people walk past the CLA building they get the PACN nostalgia because that’s where all the practices are held. One of his proudest PACN moments was during Class-E year for the PACN “Lost Seconds,” when he was in charge of stage crew. After the show, Emeline Allenegui, Class-E year’s Culture Chair, told him that the lady in charge at the theater at Citrus College said that of all the years she has worked with Barkada, he had the best stage crew.

Maurice’s favorite food spots back then were Taco Bell, Carl’s Jr., and Panda Express by the marketplace next to the Asian Pacific Islander Student Center. In addition, he enjoyed eating a Los Olivos Common and L&L Hawaiian Barbeque for the musubi deals. He enjoyed going to Korean Barbeque during PACN season because there was a ten dollar all you can eat that he went to several times. One time he remembers when he, Iggy Gutierrez, Maurice Fabros, Jherray Babida did a challenge to see who would tap out first at Korean Barbeque. Whoever lost would have to get ice cream for everyone. The last people were him and Jherray. Aina Abad, the ASI/MCC representative at that time was there as well and said there challenge was stupid and even offered to buy the ice cream if we stop. Suddenly, Jherray screams, “IT’S NOT ABOUT THE F****** ICE CREAM.” This line became an ongoing joke within their friend group afterwards. Other places he would go to were Yard House and Buffalo Wild Wings. He also enjoyed the PACN tradition of going to Chicken and Ribs before and The Hat after.

In the future, Maurice wants to see more alumni outreach and possibly an alumni picnic and banquet. He just wants to see more people reach out because alumni want to help Barkada.

Maurice misses seeing his friends everyday in Barkada. After he graduated, all his friends were dispersed instead of local. He has friends living in Norcal and San Diego now. It’s quite difficult to see everyone. Even though he still sees them, it’s different for him now as opposed to when he was in college.

If Maurice could say one thing for the members now, Maurice said, “Your Barkada experience is ultimately what you make of it. So be friendly and welcoming for everyone so that everyone’s time in Barkada can be the best it can be. Also don’t be afraid to venture outside of Barkada, whether that be through joining other clubs or doing internships to get ahead in your major. Because of the bonds and friendships you make, Barkada will always be there to welcome you back.”

Maurice would like to give a shoutout to the Class-E board, Dream-E board, Sarangha-A board, his Sportsfest coordinators, the old school Barkada, Barkada Football team, BOBs (aka stage crew) his adings, kuya, and his grand, the Comic-Con/movie group, but not Emeline (until she stops trying to fight him)
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Alumni Spotlight: Luis “Iggy” Gutierrez

Hello Barkada! My name is Justin Angeles, Cal Poly Pomona Barkada’s President, and today I have Luis “Iggy” Gutierrez. He was the Barkada Entertainment Company Coordinator (BECC) Class-E year (2012-2013) and was President Dream-E year (2013-2014). Iggy exuberates charisma and leadership. Honestly, he made me laugh quite a number of times in our interview. I hope you enjoy this article.

Iggy was a mathematics major with an emphasis in applied mathematics who graduated in Fall 2015. He is currently employed at a non-profit organization as a high school equivalency coordinator/math specialist. He helps teach/counsel adults that seek to obtain their high school diplomas. In his free time, Iggy plays basketball, video games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and board games like Settlers of Catan. Iggy has accomplished many things. For example, Iggy has even eaten fifty wings at Hooters before. However, his accomplishments go beyond just eating wings. Iggy impacted Barkada through his magnetic personality and leadership style.

Iggy has always been involved in Filipino American organizations ever since he was in high school. He was involved in Troy High School’s Filipino American organization known as Pilipinos Sharing Smiles Together (PSST) for four years. He also knew about Barkada prior to joining because his best friend’s sister was on Mabut-E-Board (2009-2010). The familiarity and the camaraderie of the organization lead him to his first Barkada event, Barkada’s first general meeting at the stables. After attending his first general meeting, he slowly gravitated towards the Asian Pacific Islander Student Center (APISC) and took Barkada by storm.

In his first year of college, he was a Pilipino American Culture Night (PACN) dance coordinator for a dance called Paunjalay alongside his now-fiancee, Juli Pineda, who he has been with since high school. Iggy ended up running for board after his first year and was elected to the position of BECC during Class-E year. He ran for BECC because he had prior experience with Filipino cultural dances. Growing up, Iggy actually hated how his parents would force him to perform these dances for their church events. But when he went to high school, he learned he could connect with new friends through dance. He learned to love the form of expression and wanted to share that with the members. As BECC, Iggy also sought to improve PACN and the entertainment companies to better amplify the members’ voices and give the members more opportunities to participate. Initially, the majority of Pilipino American Culture Night (PACN) for Barkada was the acting portion. Iggy decided to introduce the suite system to Barkada’s PACNs, thereby showcasing more dances and elevating the importance of the culture

Iggy has many fun moments from PACNs throughout his life. He remembers one moment in his sophomore year of high school when he was performing a Kordilyera dance that involved a bahag, a loincloth used by the indigenous tribes of the Philippines. After he finished his dance, one of his good friends who was a lead for the next dance couldn’t find his bahag and asked if he could use Iggy’s, right then and there. Iggy told me, “If you want to know if someone trusts you, ask them to wear your bahag.” Some of Iggy’s favorite PACN moments in college was during PACN XXIV “The Best of Us.” Before the show, Iggy gave his successor Cody Guerrero and Juli Pineda a “dose of encouragement” before they got on stage. He was proud of all the work they put in the show. One of his other favorite moments was hugging Bryan after the dance they coordinated, Singkil, finished their performance. Witnessing the culmination of all the hard work that they and the members had put in was everything to Iggy. The round of applause after Singkil was encouraging. He could not be more proud for his dancers, successor, and Juli. When Iggy was a BECC, one of his favorite PACN moments came at the expense of his PACN partner, Class-E Culture Chair Emeline Allenegui. For a scene in Class-E year’s PACN XXIII “Lost Seconds,” Iggy and other alumni went to the person in charge of audio and said, “Emeline wants this song instead.” The song that was played was the classic, “Macarena”. Needless to say, Emeline was surprised and couldn’t help but laugh as the members on stage, Iggy included, danced the Macarena during PACN.

His favorite moments on Class-E-Board were when he would have board meetings after freshman orientation dates in the summer. Every Wednesday that summer, he and his board would have more fun than usual. Class-E board wasn’t the only board Iggy was on. He led Dream-E-Board as President the next year.

Iggy ran for President because he wanted to continue to amplify the general members’ voices. He wanted to do his part and have everyone who joined Barkada have some form of affiliation in it. He wanted members to receive the best experience they could. Iggy did a phenomenal job as President. In fact, his favorite moment from Dream-E-Board was his last moments with them at the End of the Year Banquet’s candlelight ceremony. He was proud of all his board members and he could tell that they were proud of each other. They didn’t need validation from anyone else because he knew they were already proud of the work they put in. It was special for him. It was a last moment that just spoke, “You did it.”

Iggy signed up for the Kuya Ate Ading mentorship program in Barkada and his kuya was Eddie Santos. Iggy knew Eddie from a while back because he was best friends with his sister and they have known each other since elementary school. The two of them would always bond over dancing, singing music with exaggerated emo voices, and joking at comparing each other’s bellies. Iggy picked up two adings of his own, Kate and Vijed. A lot of his favorite moments with Kate were whenever Kate would laugh uncontrollably and fall on the floor. For example, during a Ski Trip, Iggy and Andrew Yeo played a “rock playlist,” but it was just a bunch of songs that had the word “rock” in it. When she finally understood the dumb joke, Kate laughed uncontrollably and fell to the floor. With Vijed, Iggy loved playing basketball with him and enjoyed all the food challenges he had with his adings. All the dumb moments were all his favorite moments with his Barkada family.

Iggy is the paragon of the Barkada phrase “cool is stupid, stupid is cool.” Sometimes during PACN he would just lift up his shirts to break tension, or for no reason at all. Whenever there is an awkward situation, Iggy would always try to eat his fist. Iggy is the epitome of “trolling,” but he always wanted to remain true to himself and others.

As much as Iggy does poke fun at things, he has a big heart. He loves all his friends, especially Juli Pineda, Class-E-Board’s External Affairs and Dream-E-Board’s Culture Chair. Iggy and Juli met in high school. They became best friends in their sophomore year and met through the Filipino club at Troy. They were on all the same boards together in Barkada and were even coordinators when they were both freshmen. Working together has never been an issue for them. They are quite a dynamic duo. After college, Iggy proposed to July on August 23 last year in Hawaii at a firework show at the beach. She said yes and they have been engaged ever since.

Barkada was quite different back then. PACN practices during Steez-E year (2011-2012) were not always at the CLA building. They had to find different places to practice. In the past, Barkada could stay at the Asian Pacific Islander Student Center at times like 10 PM to 11 PM. Sportsfest was quite big back then. Barkada usually had their first general meetings at the stables on campus. However, Dream-E year, they had it on the stage at the Bronco Common in front of the BRIC.

Iggy says that all members should go to Barkada’s first general meetings. It’s an event where members can get their introduction to the organization and meet new and returning members. It’s an event where members are welcomed into the world of Barkada. Another event that Iggy recommends people to go to is Hype Nights for Friendship Games. It’s a week that helps members get out of their comfort zone. It’s an event where “cool is stupid, stupid is cool.” It prepares members for wild ride that is Friendship Games, and ultimately Barkada. Lastly, Iggy recommends people to join PACN for the same reason. It’s an event where members make long lastings bonds.

Back in his time in Barkada, Iggy would go to food spots like Yard House in Chino Hills because of the fifty percent off happy four on appetizers. Iggy and his friends would always take advantage of the afternoon happy hours. He enjoyed all the food challenges. One time he was so hungry that Iggy ordered pizza and an entire plate of “frachos” and ate it all at Yard House. Frachos is like a large bowl of carne asada fries that people can get half off during happy hour.

Iggy learned many lessons in his time in Barkada. He learned that there are many things to be happy about. There isn't much need to stress about too many things in life. Iggy learned to enjoy the things he loved to do and be around the people he cares about. He learned to just be himself. He learned to be goal oriented with his time on board. Furthermore, he learned that life doesn’t need to be so petty. There are many petty things in life that don’t matter. In the grand scheme of things, he realized that some of the things he stressed about in college didn’t matter in the end.

In the future, Iggy would just want to see improvement on the things that Barkada already has. He wants to see members be vocal about things. Finding ways to keep alumni interest would be nice to see too. He exclaims that alumni want to see members continue Barkada because many alumni are always willing to help.

Iggy has contributed so much to Barkada. As previously mentioned, he was a past BECC, who introduced Barkada to the PACN suite system, and President. During Dream-E year, their board made the Barkada banner that Barkada still uses today at events. He is proud of the whole “Lost Seconds” PACN cast. Dream-E year was the first year to have Barkada’s first general meeting on the stage instead of the stables. Dream-E-Board ended with a profit at the end of their year as well. He was a coordinator for the Mindanao suite and Modern suite. He was even a coordinator when he was a freshman with Juli. He was the person known to just put his fist in his mouth. He was a person who could bring everyone in Barkada together through his charisma alone.

With all these contributions, Iggy misses Barkada dearly. He misses being at the APISC and seeing everyone there. It was a place where he could see everyone in Barkada, not just the friends he was close to. It was a place where he could meet new people too. It’s a place where members got hang out before heading to PACN practices and a place where members could link up to get food. It’s a place that held many dumb, funny conversations that Iggy still remembers even today. He just misses seeing everyone.

If Iggy could say one thing for the members right now, Iggy said, “Don’t be afraid to rely on each other in this pandemic. Don’t be afraid to call each other to check in. College and Barkada will be one of the best moments in your life. You don’t want a pandemic to stop you from joining. Stay strong, stay focused on your school, stay focused on your mental health, and stay focused on your friends.”

Iggy would like to give a shoutout to Dream-E-Board, Class-E-Board, Juli, Yard House, PHP House, #CHINOTHRILLZ, the rocks, every single person he ever met in Barkada, and not Carl Gallardo.

Thanks for the interview Iggy! You seriously made me laugh a lot of times. I wish I could have met you sooner. You were quite easy to talk to and I enjoyed all your stories. Thank you for coming to our transitionals. Thank you for your advice and support. Not gonna lie, I missed talking to you. You were like someone who had a lot of fun in Barkada but at the same time did amazing work for the organization. Your ability to just be yourself is so admirable to me. Best wishes. You inspire me. I hope you are safe.
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Alumni Spotlight: John Cordero

Hello! My name is Justin Angeles, Cal Poly Pomona Barkada’s President, and today I have my good friend John Cordero. He was my Vice President on Luck-E board (2018-2019). Some of you may even know him as Legac-E year’s (2015-2016) External Affairs representative. I personally know him as Papa John, like the pizza place. Fun fact, for whatever reason, John’s name on the Barkada website is Papa John if you check the past executive boards and check Legac-E Board. The reason why we call him Papa John is because when we found out we John was our Vice President, Luck-E board was eating Papa John’s pizza. John was a fatherly figure for Luck-E board and I am grateful that he was on our board. I hope you can give this article a read.

John Cordero is an electrical engineer who graduated in 2019. Currently, John is a fourth degree taekwondo instructor at All Star Taekwondo in Diamond Bar. He has been doing taekwondo ever since he was eleven. He’s currently taking a year break from his major this quarantine and is learning different things everyday. He is painting, working, and studying different things like stocks.

Ever since John was in highschool, he wanted to join a Filipino American organization like Barkada. He saw one of UCR’s Pilipino American Culture Nights when he was in highschool. At that PACN, John witnessed his first unity clap. Seeing how passionate UCR was at their PACN gave John a sense of community and inspiration to join a Filipino American organization. When college started, he met up with his friend Jeron Torres. They knew each other because they were in each other’s same confirmation group. At freshman orientation, Jeron asked John if he wanted to sign up for Barkada because his childhood friend Miriya Gutierrez was in it. John was hesitant to join at first. In college, John would just stay at school to just eat and sleep at the library because he was a commuter. It wasn’t until Fanc-E year’s (2014-2015) Lumpia Night, where Renz Soriano texted John, “You’re not here.” John never had those friends who wanted him to be there like Renz. John decided to go to Lumpia Night late but he didn’t regret a thing because this was the event where he met his “day one” friends. He met Jonahdine Sison, Jeanette Cañete, and Alden Caterio. John decided he would give Barkada a try after Lumpia Night and continued meeting even more friends like Janet Dacumos. The more connections John made in Barkada, the more he fell in love with the organization. He made so many connections that he decided to make connections even outside Barkada as their External Affairs representative.

John ran for the External Affairs Legac-E year because he saw great potential in the position. When he was a freshman, John met many different externals. One of the externals he met, Jenny Doan, always knew people from different schools. John felt like she embodied friendship and friendship was the reason why he joined Barkada. It was inspiring to John that Jenny could connect with everyone and influence them. John decided he would go meet different Filipino American organizations with Jeremy Carlos, Fanc-E year’s External Affairs representative. He met people from CSUSB Lubos Pasos, CSUN FASA, and MSMU Pangkat. He thought it was so cool that other externals would go out and watch each other’s PACNs. John wanted to share that experience with Barkada just like how UCR inspired him when he was a freshman at UCR’s PACN. John ended up winning the position Legac-E year. Some of his favorite moments on Legac-E board include their board retreat where some fun and mishaps happened. John misses his external adventures and parties like at USC where he competed in a competition with Renz at a party. John appreciates that time he had with Legac-E board. After Legac-E year ended, John took a break from Barkada. However, that wasn’t the end for John.

During Luck-E year, Alyssa Suba, Luck-E year’s President, asked John Cordero if he wanted to be Vice President because that position was vacant.The opportunity arose and John knew that his heart and mind was a hundred percent for it. It was John’s last year, he decided he would go for it. John didn’t know anyone in Barkada at that time because he took a break from the organization to focus on himself and school. He decided that he would eventually be able to meet them along the way. John met Luck-E board when Alex Manzon, Luck-E year’s historian, was making the historian committee video in the summer. It reminded him of that Barkada phrase of “cool is stupud, stupid is cool.” He enjoyed going to Rocketship Park in Torrance with his “favorite board members” which were Erik Venegas, Alex Manzon, and Justin Angeles. The “favorite board members” joke was an inside joke Luck-E year where the board would tease each other for playing favorites. He was glad that board got close over that simple joke. During Luck-E year, John was in charge of the Internship board (I-board) , a board designed to give members a behind the scenes look to executive board. He enjoyed hanging out with them during I-board beach day and was impressed when he saw the I-board meetings being led by the members by themselves. It was cool to see the I-board members make the board their own and create things like trading cards for Barkada. John was grateful for I-board holding it down that year.

John was even an eskrima coordinator Luck-E year. John first did eskrima Legac-E year with Ismail Abbas. Jeanete Cañete, Gilbert Rose, and Brandon Busante were coordinating that year . John was thankful for their direction and the freedom that they give with the choreography for eskrima. During the day of PACN, John’s eskrima stick went flying behind the stage and he had to go look for it. Nonetheless, he still had fun with the dance because of the acting, power, and overall thematic experience to it. When Alex Manzon and him coordinated eskrima Luck-E year, John thought it was amazing to see the members putting their whole energy into the dance. It was cool making the choreography to the fight scenes, but it was even cooler to see the members emulate their vision and adjust the choreography to their character and liking. That freedom to express themself meant everything to John.

John experienced two different Barkada because he missed two years from Barkada. During his first year, John was just putting himself out there. There were many guys in Barkada. It was a small year for him. When he came back to Barkada as a fifth year, he felt like he was meeting so many people, but he felt comfortable this time because he was already in Barkada. It was an opportunity to get close to newer people. He felt like he knew everyone his last year even if he left Barkada as opposed to when he was a freshman.

John recommends that everyone participates in PACN because there are many different aspects to it. There is that feeling of unity. John exclaims that everyone has different projects, but it’s ultimately one whole project that comes together and that’s what makes it so empowering. Whether a member is doing something small like costumes changes, one dance, or even props, it ultimately comes together as one huge production. Even if someone doesn’t do PACN, John feels like they should cheer their friends who are in the production to boost their morale up. John said that there wouldn’t be a show without the audience. It’s an event that inspired him to join Barkada and be a part of a community.

John's favorite food spot was Buffalo Wild Wings, B-Dubs. John loved B-Dubs because he would always go with his tinikling partner, Charlie Reyes, to hang out. It was a tradition to go there every quarter back when CPP was still a quarter system. John would do these for the next four years. On his last social at B-Dubs, all his friends came and that meant everything to him.

If John could have one avatar element he would be fire because fire represents passion. John relates to the character Zuko. Sometimes John doesn’t feel like he’s good enough but he feels like he’s always working to improve himself. He loves how fire can bring warmth to people’s lives and show the light for other people. Fire is a versatile element in the sense that he can cook food with it and bring energy to people. Martial artists like John can even use it to make martial arts even more beautiful. There’s a dark side to fire, but there is also a light side and that’s why John would want to be the element of fire.

The biggest thing that John learned in Barkada was that it taught him not to be afraid to put himself out there. One of the things he advocates for is trust. The biggest lesson he learned was to just be himself. If John trusts himself, nothing else can hurt him. If John trusted himself, he learned that people can trust him. He appreciates all the people in Barkada who understand him and allow him to be himself.

John would like to see Barkada progress in any form. He thought that the people who started PACN probably didn’t expect PACN to be as big as it is now. John just wants to see more of those surprises. He just wants to see Barkada continue.

John has contributed many things to Barkada. John wanted to continue what Jeremy did as an external. He wanted to strengthen his relationship with MSMU and CSUN, but John also expanded Barkada to far out universities like in San Diego and Santa Barbara. When John was Vice President, he reinvented Advisory board to become a part board member group that would assist the executive board. Moreover, he wanted to make a strong I-board like how Pia made her I-board. He was even an eskrima coordinator. Alongside being the External Affairs representative for Barkada he was also the External Affairs representative for Pilipino American Studies Kollective. John even created the internal event known as Big Little Rice Bowl, an olympic event with NSU, VSA, and KASA.

John misses how easy it was to interact with people in Barkada. Friends were everywhere to be seen in college for him. John exclaims that when people graduate, they don’t get to see each other every day, the convenience is gone, He misses internalizing and externalizing with different groups and just connecting with people in general. He misses the friendship and his Barkada family.

If John could say one thing for the members right now, John said, “Be proactive. Take power in your hands and put yourself out there. Put trust in yourself. If you want to see something happen, do it. Make connections with your friends and bring people together.”

John would like to give a shoutout to Legac-E board, Luck-E board, Fanc-E babies, his House Party friends, his kuya Renz, Crazy Big Line, his day ones, and Home Suite Home.

Thank you for the interview John and for being our Vice President Luck-E year. I still can’t believe we had like eighty one on one conversations. I felt like you understood me Luck-E year and that meant everything to me. The ability to be myself around you meant a lot. Thanks for always encouraging me and helping me out on board. I liked how we didn’t agree on everything but when we did, I felt like we were a deadly combo together. It felt nice working with you because whenever you were there I felt like I could accomplish anything. Hope you are safe John. Thanks for all the fun times. Even though we had a lot of fun, I felt like I could grow as an individual whenever I was around you. Let’s light some fireworks again hehe. Best wishes.
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Alumni Spotlight: Brandon Busante

Hello! My name is Justin Angeles, Cal Poly Pomona Barkada’s President, and I have Brandon Busante today. He was Legac-E year’s (2015-2016) Public Relations and was a key component in Barkada Band. Legac-E year’s Culture Chair and Fanc-E year’s (2014-2015) Public Relations. He’s quite the rock star. Hope you can give this article a read.

Brandon is a graphic designer at a marketing and design agency in downtown Pomona. He does photoshop work, illustrations, layouts, and brochures for automobile companies. Brandon is a big fan of cars and was kind of known for his Mazda Miata his freshman year. In his free time he usually plays video games and watches anime.

Brandon joined Barkada Dream-E year (2013-2014) because of his brother’s involvement in the club. In highschool, he encountered many Barkada members as they went to his house to build benches for Pilipino American Culture Night (PACN) It felt natural for him to join. However, he didn’t join immediately. When he saw Barkada at the club fair during freshman orientation, he meant to go talk to them because of the familiarity but got too nervous and ended up signing up for a random club that was near them, the ultimate frisbee club. He eventually started talking to more people. One of the first people he got to know was Maya Garcia who encouraged him to go to Friendship Games practice at the pancakes on campus. Most of the time he would just wait for his brother and go back home with him. After joining Barkada, he found his place on campus.

Brandon joined the Kuya Ate Ading mentorship program and got picked up by his Kuya Sean Fabros who helped Brandon meet more friends in Barkada. Brandon and Sean even shared the same birthday. They hung out so much they won best KAA pairing Dream-e year. Brandon’s adings are Alden Caterio and Stephen Williams.

Brandon slowly began to find his home in Barkada. He decided to run for board Legac-E year and PR because he wanted to contribute and give back to Barkada. Miriya was pushing him to run for it., and it was a good opportunity for his major as a graphic design major. Some of his favorite moments from Legac-E year was whenever Legac-e Board would play punk rock music and everyone would just mosh to it. He enjoyed all the videos they made that year like the Ghost Hunters video . All the moments where he would hang around with the board and other members and mess around were times he will forever cherish.

Brandon met his girlfriend Miriya in Barkada. Brandon first met Miriya when she decided to join eskrima for PACN when Brandon was a coordinator for his first year. Miriya ended up leaving the dance after the first few practices. However, when they both switched majors to graphic design they got close to each other with the classes they took. When Miriya was PR Fanc-E year, Brandon helped her out with Anong Balita and they kept getting closer.

Some of Brandon’s favorite moments when he was a dance coordinator for PACN was seeing what the dance came together. Brandon enjoyed seeing the dance start to “click” with people. Another one of his favorite moments was when they practiced eskrima with the Star Wars soundtrack “Duel of the Fates.”

Brandon and Miriya are part of the friend group called Original Design. One of his favorite moments with them was when they all went to Disneyland together. They spent a night at the resort and bought lightsabers.

Just like Miriya, Brandon has had family members in Barkada before. His dad was part of Barkada during the 80s and even knew some of the founders. Back then Barkada would organize dances with other organizations like Cal State Los Angeles which was where his dad met his mom.. In the past, Barkada used to just be a group of friends hanging out. Now Barkada has evolved. Barkada even has something known as Barkada Band.

Barkada band was a huge component in Brandon’s Barkada experience. Brandon was part of the Barkada Band known as Ctrl Shift N which consisted of Michael Belicano, Nathan Garcia, Ronnel Lising. One of his favorite moments with Barkada band was when they played at Barkadas Got Talent and a bunch of people got up and rocked out to their music. Barkada Band performed at many parties at his house where they would play pop punk music. They even performed at Barkada’s Got Talent to songs like “Dear Maria, Count Me In” by All Time Low and “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” by Fall Out Boy which became a Barkada tradition to play for Barkada after. Seeing all the Barkada members mosh and jump across the stage whenever they played was a sight to see. Barkada Band even performed “All Star” by Smash Mouth one day. Brandon’s last Barkada Band performance was with a band they called The Bronas Brothers at Bayan-E year’s (2017-2018) End of the Year Banquet. The Bronas Brothers consisted of Adrian Manila, Karl Molina, and Andrew Camanga. They called themselves The Bronas Brothers because they performed the song “Year 3000.” Brandon was a key component for Barkada Band. He had most of their equipment that they used. Barkada Band wouldn’t be what it was without Brandon and his fellow Barkada Band members.

When Brandon was a freshman, he would get Korean Barbeque many times with his fellow Dream-E baby friends like Miggy and Warjay. Korean barbecue was a tradition Dream-E year and many of them even went at least once a week. They would go there every chance they would get even right before they had a class. In addition, Brandon enjoyed going to Sushi Show too, an “all you can eat” sushi restaurant.

Brandon believes all members should do PACN which is an event Brandon will always remember the most about Barkada. For Brandon, this was the event where bonds were forged and the majority of time was spent in Barkada. Members are able to connect with everyone here. Members could dance, act, sing, build props, make costumes, and even be a part of the stage crew. There was something for everyone. It was this huge project set up by college students that felt like the “final boss” for Barkada and definitely one of the most rewarding events for Barkada.

One of the biggest lessons that Brandon learned in college was to “just go for it.” From the beginning, Brandon was a shy person. He realized he wasn't going to get many things done if he was always scared of people laughing at him. Moreover, he learned the power of friendship in Barkada. Many of his friends today were in Barkada. He thanks members like Iggy Gutierrez that taught him that stupid is cool, cool is stupid. This was a saying popularized in Barkada and Brandon embodied it. He learned to just have fun in life.

In the future, Brandon would just hope to see Barkada keep going. As long as people are finding friends and the organization is still there, that’s more than enough for him.
Brandon misses hanging out with all his friends in Barkada. He misses going to the Asian Pacific Islander Student Center to hang out with Barkada. He misses Gooberfest, an event which was originally started as a LAN party to play the video game MapleStory which soon evolved to be an event where Barkada would just hang out and play many video games. He misses having barbecues at his house and misses the parties they had. He misses having that connection with everyone.

If Brandon could say one thing for the members right now, he said, “Find ways to connect with each other as much as you can. It’s a tough time right now, but the friendships you make are the best part of Barkada.”

Brandon would like to give a shoutout to Miriya. He said, “She’s kinda cool, I guess.” A shout out to Barkada Band and Ctrl+Shift+N, Legac-E Board, Original Design, all the leaders like Iggy, Julie, and Cody who helped him grow in Barkada, and a shoutout to everyone who took the time to talk to him and become friends with him. He wants to thank Barkada for all the friendships. He misses everyone.

Thanks for the interview Brandon. Thank you for everything you have done for Barkada. You have done much for Barkada Band. It would be cool to see you perform again like at EOTY. Hope you are safe! Best wishes.
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