PIDCI Hosts Philippine Independence Day Commemoration In NY; Features An All-Star Cast in The Festivities

by Kobakila News

NEW YORK – With three days to go before the big day, the Philippine Independence Day Council Inc. (PIDCI) is all set to stage its annual Philippine Independence Day Parade from 38th Street to 23rd Street along Madison Avenue and an all-day street fair and cultural festival alongside Madison Park on Sunday, June 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

PIDCI, a non-profit organization best known for hosting the largest Philippine Independence Day Parade outside the Philippines,is also celebrating its silver anniversary this year. Its current officers, board members together with many community volunteers from various organizations are primed to make this year’s event the best it has ever been. Attendance would likely peak at 100,000 people, made up mostly of Filipinos and Filipino Americans who come from the New York tri-state area, Pennsylvania, California, Canada, and the Philippines.

Highlighting the event are big-name Filipino and Filipino American celebrities who have confirmed to participate in the most awaited community-driven celebration of the year. In attendance will be the Black Eyed Peas Co-Founder apl.de.ap; multiplatinum award-wnning recording artist David Pomeranz; boxing and mixed martial arts fighter Ana Julaton; First Filipina Miss World Megan Young, who recently partnered with PIDCI to raise funds for the victims of super typhoon Haiyan in central Philippines; Original Philippine Music (OPM) icons Kuh Ledesma, Cecile Azarcon, Edlyn Peregrina, Lirio Vital, Ogie Alcasid, and First Filipina Carnaval Queen in Brazil Bessie Badilla.

They will be joined by PIDCI 2014 Grand Marshals Drs. Emilio and Felicisima Quines—both longtime medical mission volunteers; and nearly 200 Filipino American-related nonprofit and for profit organizations, which include AARP’s section that assists Asian American and Pacific Islander families; and My Shelter Foundation, which promotes solar bottle bulbs called “Liter of Light”; will participate in the day-long celebration, whose attendance would likely peak at 100,000 people, made up mostly of Filipinos and Filipino Americans who come from the New York Tri-State area, Pennsylvania, California, Canada, and the Philippines.

Also confirmed to join the festivities are Retired Major General Tony Taguba, who will march with the contingent of AARP (for more information, email sraga@aarp.org); Mazda Road to Indy Driver Michele Bumgarner; Hollywood and Broadway actress Anna Maria Perez de Tagle; and performing artists-singers Miguel Vera and Charmaine Clamor. PIDCI’s Goodwill Ambassadors 2014 Mrs. Kalayaan (Mrs. Independence) Josephine Vilar Rafael, an accomplished medical technologist and pianist from Long Island, New York, and 2014 Diwa ng Kalayaan (Spirit of Independence) Mikaela Alexa Rada, 16-year-old high school student from Bayonne, New Jersey, and their “court of beauty queens,” will also ride one of the many festive floats featured in the parade, alongside world-renowned Filipino cultural festival live acts such as Bacolod City’s Masskara Festival, Cebu City’s Sinulog Festival, and Kalibo, Aklan’s Ati-Atihan Festival.

The Grand Marshals’ float, on the other hand, will pay tribute to Filipino American doctors, nurses, dentists, medical technologists, and humanitarian volunteers, featuring the “Gifted Hands/Surgeons” riding the float: Dr. Molave Adaniel, Drs. Ramon and Nancy Alcala, Dr. Alex Bobila, Drs. Antonio and Aurora Gonzales, Dr. and Mrs. Nicolas and Lisa Lansigan, Drs. Emmanuel and Zenda Lat, Dr. Nestor Sagullo, Dr. Loreto Tanael, and Dr. and Mrs. Napoleon and Evelia Valdez.  Marching and holding the banners are Dr. Elna Prado, Dr. Eppie Adaniel, Dr. Celia Sagullo, Dr. Deborah Bobila, Dr. Dennis Bernardo, and Dr. Rizalina Lavarro.

Leading the parade, along with the Grand Marshals, are PIDCI President Fe Martinez; Philippine Consulate General New York, led by Consul General Mario L. De Leon Jr., who also acts as an honorary adviser to PIDCI; Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Luis Cuisia; Permanent Representative to the United Nations Libran Cabactulan; U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Lorna Schofield; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo.Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro and New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) President Ram Raju, MD will also attend.

“What started out as a small Independence Day Parade that passed by a few blocks near the Philippine Consulate on Fifth Avenue in the early ‘90s has grown into a huge annual celebration along Madison Avenue, where around 100,000 of our own kin walk the city’s main streets. We owe that to the Filipinos’ strong family ties and genuine concern for one another, especially in times of hardship and natural disasters such as the onslaught of typhoon Haiyan last year,” says Fe Martinez, PIDCI president. 

Scheduled activities include the following:

•    8:30 to 9:00 a.m.: FLAG CEREMONY AND INDEPENDENCE DAY MASS at the Philippine Center, 556 Fifth Avenue. Contact (212) 764-3749.

•    10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.: STREET FAIR, 26th Street down to 24th Street and Madison Avenue.

The Street Fair is a mini-Filipino food festival and expo.  Vendors will sell Filipino barbeque, halo-halo dessert, fish balls, pancit (noodles), and other native products.

Contact Chairpersons Gheng Pingol (917) 669-0505 and Jesse Arteche (908) 482-1398.

•    11:45 a.m.: PARADE OPENING CEREMONY, 38th Street and Madison Avenue

•    12:00 to 2:00 p.m.: INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE, 38th Street down to 27th Street and Madison Avenue.

The Independence Day Parade shows off some 200 contingents of marching members of Filipino American organizations interspersed with brightly colored floats, open cars, and whatnots. The Fire Department City of New York’s (FDNY) Phoenix Society members are joining the parade for the first time. CBS New York Reporter Hazel Sanchez and host-comedian Jojo Mabolo will serve as master of ceremonies.

Contact Chairperson Albert Diala (347) 260-8063 and Co-Chair Ner Martinez (347) 837-5853.

•    2:00 to 6:00 p.m.: CULTURAL FESTIVAL, 23rd Street and Madison Avenue

The annual cultural festival features local and international talents, and performing artists from the Philippines.  Singer-songwriter Ogie Alcasid, whose regular musical variety, comedy drama shows are broadcast on TV 5, Kuh Ledesma, Cecile Azarcon, Edlyn Peregrina, Lirio Vital, Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, Miguel Vera, Charmaine Clamor, Bessie Badilla, David Pomeranz, and apl.de.ap, among others, will perform live on stage. Performing artist Sigh Robes and Jojo Mabolo will serve as emcees.

Contact Chairpersons Ner Martinez (347) 837-5853 and Vivian Velasco (917) 623-3827.

Besides the parade, street fair, and cultural festival on Sunday, June 1, PIDCI will also hold its annual Philippine Independence Day Ball on Saturday, June 7, at Marriott at Glenpointe, Teaneck, New Jersey hosted by PIDCI President Fe Martinez, Vice President Albert Diala, Secretary Antero Martinez, Treasurer Violeta McGough, Internal Auditor Annie Ortiz, General Counsel Manny Quintal, Esq, and Board Members Sofia Abad, Elvira Reyes, Vivian Velasco, Jesse Arteche, Dr. Prospero Lim, Angie Molina, Maryann Sanagustin, Olivia David, Rolly Postadan, Artistides Uy, and Margie Wisotsky.

Corporate sponsors are Kapatid 5, Aksyon TV International, Solana Land, 1st &2nd Mortgage of NJ, AARP, Greenfield Properties, SMDC, Ramar Food International, Miss World Organisation, Fiesta in America, United Staffing Registry, Fritzie’s Bakeshop, Fiesta Grill, Moneygram, Doty’s Restaurant, Five Chris, New Barbecue Pit, and LMBB.

Media partners include Asian Journal, Inquirer.net, Filipino Express, Filipino Reporter, Philippine Daily Mirror, TheFilAm.net, New York Balita, Fil-Am Who’s Who, OPMB Worldwide, and Philippine Star.

About the Celebration Theme

Fitting in well is this year’s celebration theme, Triumphs of the Filipino: Pride of the Philippines.

With this theme, PIDCI believes that everyone in the world was in awe of the Filipinos’ capacity to persevere and triumph over adversity, especially when Haiyan, one of the most powerful tropical storms in history, struck central Philippines last year, but never destroyed the unflagging optimism of the Filipino spirit. On our 25th year celebrating the Philippine Independence Day—its 116th anniversary—in the center of the world, no less—we honor the shining triumphs of Filipinos across different fields and industries: from business and technology to sports; from world ambassadorship to entertainment; and from volunteerism to social activism wearing only national pride in our hearts.

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