Saturday, May 19, 2012


The Bayanihan Arts and Events Center of Tampa, Florida would not have been complete without its award-winning Philippine Performing Arts Company.

Thanks to former “Bayanihan” dancer and choreographer Jose Hortsman Omila – the Performing Arts Company, Inc. (PACI) was formed in 1991.

Its main goal was to preserve the Philippine culture through folk music, songs and dances for the future generations of Filipino-Americans to enjoy. 

PACI Executive Director Joey Omila said, “So when I formed the Philippine Performing Arts, the community is seeing the best of the best of what I’ve learned from my past Bayanihan days.” 

Under the creative direction of Omila, the dance troupe brought Filipino cultural dancing to a whole new level.

Dancing for the company means spending hours of rehearsals to perfection. To complete the look, only authentic Philippine-made colorful costumes, many of which are designed by Omila himself are worn by his dancers.

For three years in a row, the company has won first place in a cultural dance festival in Valdosta, Georgia.

PACI Dancer dancer Desiree Dolores said, “Joey is the best choreographer we could ask for, he’s such a huge part of our family, we wouldn’t be competing or doing these dances without him.” 

Filipino-American PACI dancer Roger Huntsinger said, “ I was born in Angeles City in the Philippines and I moved to America so this is one of more way that I keep in touch with the Filipino Heritage.”

Born in Cotabato in the Philippines, Omila is of Filipino and German decent. He majored in advertising at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.

He then joined the Bayanihan National Philippine Dance Company in 1967 and travelled the world as a dancer and choreographer for the group.

Omila has supported a number of charities such as the Unwanted and Crippled children of Bangkok as well as the Home for the Elderlies in Bangkok, Thailand.

Today, he is a big supporter of Gawad Kalinga – fundraising and building houses for the poor.

Meantime, because of their multiple wins in cultural dance competitions, the group has been invited to perform in Canada and Europe next year.

Omila said, “When I see my kids perform and get a standing ovation wherever they go, ang ganda ng feeling, my dream is that it doesn’t stop in the future dahil alam mo naman hindi na tayo bumabata eh. I hope somebody will take over.”

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