New York Fil-Am community basks in huge Independence Day parade
From left to right, New York Judge Lorna Schofield, New York Power Authority President and Ceo Engineer Gil Quinones; Grand Marshal Dr. Rod Castillo; Grand Marshal Dr. Elma Castillo; PIDCI President Dr. Prospero Lim; Consul General Theresa Dizon-De Vega; Ambassador Teodoro L. Locsin Jr.; Mrs. Louie Barcelon Locsin; Councilman Jonathan Wong; Councilman Salvador Deauna at the Parade Ribbon-Cutting. CONTRIBUTED
NEW YORK — A parade on Madison Avenue kicked off the 119th Philippine Independence celebration last June 4, followed by series of receptions, exhibitions and cultural events for a month-long celebration.
The annual parade is organized by the Philippine Independence Day Council Inc. (PIDCI) in coordination with the Philippine Consulate General of New York and Philippine Mission to the United Nations.
This year’s parade was highlighted by presentation of Proclamations by the New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and by New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio honoring the Philippine Independence Day, a recognition of Filipinos increasing prominence in the community.
Over 100 Filipino American associations in the US Northeast Region participated, as well as special guest performers including Martin Nievera, Lani Misalucha, Jessica Sanchez, Mikey Bustos, Christine Allado and Shane Ericks.
For the first time, several international beauty title holders simultaneously participated. Appearing on stage were Ms. Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, Ms. International 2016 Kylie Verzosa, and Ms. World 2013 Megan Young. Ms. Philippines World 2014 Valerie Weigmann also graced the occasion. It was the first time all three beauty title holders appeared in the same event. They took time to take selfies with the adoring crowd.
Ms. Republic of the Philippines 2017 Fermira Dianne Ramos paraded with her court of men in uniform, while local title holder Ms. Philippines America Excelsa De Jesus had her own float with several teen beauty title holders. She will officially compete in this year’s Ms. Republic of the Philippines that will be held at Sofitel in Manila in October. According to Pageant Chair Dr. Romulo Aromin, the contest is open to all single, natural-born females, age between 18-25 years, high school graduate, has not given birth, at least 5’4” in height, of good moral character and have at least one grandparent in the direct maternal or paternal line possessing a Filipino citizenship.
The biggest Filipino parade so far launched in New York City ended with a Philippine Street Fair and Cultural Show beside Madison Square Park. Various Filipino American groups, restaurants, and stores took part in the Street Fair which featured Philippine cuisine, products, and also free medical screening services for the community by the workers’ union 1199 SEIU. Other major participants in the fair included the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets Team which set up a basketball area for all the basketball-loving Filipinos and Filipino-Americans to enjoy.
Two official receptions were hosted. On June 7, 2017, Ambassador Teddy Boy Locsin and Mrs Louie Locsin hosted a Philippine Independence celebration at the Kalayaan Hall of Philippine Center, attended by dignitaries from the United Nations Missions. On June 12, the actual Independence Day celebrated in the Philippines, was hosted by Consul General Tess Dizon De Vega for the Fil-Am community.
Part of the celebrations are cultural exhibits. The national exhibition of treasures kept by the Philippine Consulate was shown to the public on June 8, including works by Manansala and Ang Kiukok. During the festivities, a miniature couture collection by John Ablaza was also shown, as part of his fundraising effort in collaboration with Bea Zobel de Ayala for the benefit of Mangyans of Puerto Galera.
Following these shows, a Philippine-American Friendship exhibit of Art, Music and Poetry was hosted by NY real estate company Modern Spaces at Chelsea, to showcase works of Rey Cardenas, CTanj, Greta Lood, Angelo Maristela, and Art Zamora. Consul Arman Talbo, Ms. Philippines America Excelsa de Jesus and Mrs. Eleanor De Leon, wife of former Ambassador Mario De Leon Jr, led the opening. The show runs until July 15, 2017 at 220 West 16th, New York City.
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