Filipinos Welcome RP Independence Day Celebration in Queens

by Mark Yancy Gandionco

WOODSIDE, NY (June 5) — Following the commemoration of the 111th Philippine Independence Day in Manhattan, Filipinos in New York City, especially those in Queens, said they are happy a community-wide celebration of Philippine Independence Day will also be held in Queens for the first time.

“It is about time the Filipino community come together in Queens since this is where most of us (Filipinos) live,” said Peter Arvin Jabido, who lives in Woodside. “I don’t have to travel far, since I only have to walk a few blocks.”

Queens is home to the largest population of Filipino-American citizens in New York City. “There is no better place to celebrate Philippine Independence Day in New York than here in Queens,” said Julia Camagong, co-executive director of the Philippine Forum, organizer of the First Annual Bayanihan Cultural Festival.

The festival will be held on June 21 at the Hart Playground on 69th St. and 37th Avenue in Woodside, New York. The whole-day event will feature cultural and musical performances by Filipino American artists, a flea market for Philippine products, native food and delicacies, children’s arts and craft, free health screening and free legal consultation on immigration.

With the theme, “Building community, celebrating diversity, and forging solidarity”, the festival aims to celebrate the Filipino Bayanihan Spirit, celebrate Filipino heritage and introduce Filipino culture to the larger immigrant community in Queens.

Sponsored by Jollibee and Western Union, the event has — at this time —  drawn Filipino performers from all over the U.S.

Among the individual and group performers who have signed up for the festival are Deep Foundation, BIBAK NE, Kinding Sindaw, Blue Sholars, Kadena, John Flor, Paaralang Pilipino, Pinoys of Hunter (POH), Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FIRE) cultural collective, Kabalikat Domestic Support Network, 3421 Band, Young Educators for Health and Empowerment of the Youth (YEHEY), Stonybrook University PUSO, Taospuso, Andrelie Suarez, Paul Riego and many more.

“Another thing I’m excited about, besides the free services that would be given during the festival, are the cultural performers. It is refreshing to watch Filipino performers here in the US,” said Jabido.

For its part, Deep Foundation, a new hip hop sensation in the New York/New Jersey area, said they are happy to be performing in front of their kababayans on Independence Day.

“This event is for both the Filipino and the Queens’ community. As proud Filipinos and Queens residents, we are honored to represent both in this festival.” the group said in a statement.

Rey Agudana, a nurse and a father of two, said he would definitely bring his children to the festival.

“June 21st is Father’s Day. This will be a great occasion to bring my children to the event on that day. They are still too young to give me gifts or make me breakfast in bed. For now, taking them to the Filipino festival where they will know their roots is my way of building their character and future. And I know, when they are all grown up, they would thank me for that. Now that makes a great and meaningful Father’s Day celebration.” Agudana said.

The Philippine Forum, is a local organization which aims to foster a greater understanding of the Filipino Americans’ roots, rights and responsibilities, and the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center.

The term “Bayanihan” refers to a Filipino custom of community integration with a focus on recognizing one’s identity and cooperating towards a common goal. Bayanihan refers not only to the individual Filipino’s integration with his community but also the whole Filipino community’s integration with the greater multicultural backdrop of New York City.

For more information, contact the organizers at (718) 565-8862 look for Julia or Cling, You could also email them at Bayanihan.festival@gmail.com or visit the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center at 40-21 69th Street, Woodside, New York City.

 

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