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Event showcases Filipino culture

The ninth annual Sampaguita, a dinner-dance at the Bayanihan Arts Center, is Saturday night.

By JOSH ZIMMER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 20, 2002

KEYSTONE -- The evening will begin with cocktails followed by dancing, dinner and a midnight dessert.

For the ninth consecutive year, the annual Philippine Sampaguita is bringing a touch of old-country panache to the local Filipino community. Named after the nation's national flower, the event will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Bayanihan Arts Center off Nine Eagles Drive.

The event strives for elegance, which means decorum is important, said center director Jose Omila, who will emcee the evening's activities. Men and woman have to dress in formal wear or don traditional embroidered national outfits -- ternos for women and barong tagalogs for men.

"We're proud of the ball," Omila said.

About 500 people are expected to attend the fundraiser, which provides about $40,000 for the center's maintenance and youth programs, Omila said. It is the second biggest fundraiser behind the annual PhilFest.

After cocktails, guests will see performances from the Philippine Choral Group of Tampa. The Philippine Performing Arts Dance Co. of Tampa Bay will perform the rigodon, a dance brought to the Philippines by Europeans hundreds of years ago, he said.

Female organizers will perform their own dances, followed by a dinner of filet mignon and lobster tail and more dancing. Desserts, coffee and tea will be served just before midnight.

Tickets are $75 per person. For directions, call 925-1232.

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