At FilFest USA 2018, a community gathering for all — and a big dance

Kristina Sigler, 16, of Hampton dances moments before an attempt during FilFest USA 2018 at Rudee Loop in Virginia Beach to set a world record for the biggest tinikling dance. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

OCEANFRONT — FilFest USA 2018, the fourth year of an annual festival celebrating Filipino culture in Hampton Roads, came to Rudee Loop this year, bringing thousands of people out for a gathering of family, food and fun.

This year, the festival debuted a new magazine, Halo Halo Na! and featured an attempt to break a world record for the largest tinikling dance. The folk dance features careful coordination between dancers and people clapping and tapping bamboo poles at their feet.

“It’s a Filipino-American festival for everyone,” said Melody Agbisit, editor of the new magazine. About 40,000 Filipinos live in the Hampton Roads region.

“We’re part of the community,” she said.

In all, there were about 360 dancing together at Rudee Loop to try to set the record.

Tinikling was not the only dance during the festival, which featured a number of dance and musical acts – as well as a display of freestyle dancing by Eman Logan, 16, between acts.

“It’s very fun,” he said of the festival. “All the people – they just make it exciting.”

Ronald Ulep holds 4-month-old Avery Joy Ulep during FilFest USA 2018 at Rudee Loop on Saturday, Oct. 6. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]
Josh Gomez, 14, of Newport News coordinates the movements of bamboo sticks with a dancer during a demonstration of tinikling. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]
Ron Villanueva, a former state delegate and member of the Virginia Beach City Council, speaks about a new venture during the annual gathering — Regalo Brewing Co., a partnership of the Medina and Villanueva families. “This is Virginia’s first Filipino craft brew,” he said of the debut ale by Regalo, Uncle’s Brew, brewed in collaboration with Back Bay Brewing Co. of Virginia Beach. Learn more at [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]
Aber Gavino, who helped demonstrate the tinikling dance to people who hoped to help break a world record during the festival, also danced with his daughter Chloe Gavino, 8, while a DJ played music before the attempt to set the record on Saturday evening. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News

Visit for information about the festival. Email for information about the inaugural issue of Halo Halo Na!, which costs $10 for a print copy and $8 for a digital edition. 

© 2018 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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