NEW YORK – The Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) honored the Grand Marshal of its coming Philippine Independence Day Parade Dr. Rebecca Castro Rivera with a full of fun ‘n’ frolic profusion of flowers Grand Marshal Gala Gabi ng mga Bulaklak at the Grand Ballroom of the Renaissance Newark Airport Hotel in Elizabeth, New Jersey Saturday.
The night’s program was highlighted by the Investiture ceremony where the Independence Day Parade Grand Marshal Dr. “Dolly” Rivera was bestowed her sash by last year’s Grand Marshal Dr. Prospero Lim, Consul General Mario de Leon, Jr.and PIDCI President Fe Martinez.
Immediately after the Introduction of the Grand Marshal, the Gabi ng mga Bulaklak took hold of the growing crowd of revelers with the Parade of Flowers that were set in tall vases, later to be set down as center pieces on the dinner tables.
And after the Grand Marshal was bestowed her sash she danced with her sons, and this was followed by another highlight of the evening: another Gabi ng mga Bulaklak showcase – the Waltz of the Flowers, danced by the Grand Marshal Ladies and the Grand Marshal Gentlemen. The Gabi ng mga Bulaklak theme of the evening’s program was choreographed and directed by Nick Libramonte.
The guests were led by Consul General Mario Lopez de Leon, Jr. and his wife Eleanor, and Deputy Consul General M. Theresa Dizon de Vega. The past Grand Marshals were led by last year’s Grand Marshal Dr. Prospero Lim. Other Independence Day Parade Grand Marshals in attendance were Nick and Dr. Edita Libramonte, Dr. Zenaida Santos, Msgr. Oscar Aquino, Dr. Emmanuel Pangan, Dr. Vivina Malantic, Dr. Raul Sala, and Dr. Alice N. Francisco. The past PIDCI Presidents were Joji Jalandoni, Raul Estrellado, Gani Puertollano and founding President Reuben Seguritan. Also present were past Overall Chairs of the Philippine Independence Day Committee (PIDC) Cora Reyes and Sofie Abad.
The overflow evening was organized by the Grand Marshal Gala Committee chaired by Dr. Prospero Lim and Ollie David, with Co-Chairs PIDCI Treasurer Violeta McGough, Gheng Pingol, Dr. Eleanor Parico and Wayne Blum.
Fe Martinez is the current President of PIDCI when she was re-elected in the last elections. She was PIDCI’s Grand Marshal for the Independence Day Parade of 2003. Elvira Reyes is the Vice President, Secretary is Joyce Castillo and Treasurer is Violeta McGough. And the Board of Directors, along with those four just named (the Executive Committee), are Jesse Arteche, Maryann Sansagustin, Aristides Uy, Vivian Velasco, Margie Wisotsky, Albert Diala, Dora Koltsidis, Ner Martinez and Angelita Molina. The appointed Internal Auditor is Annie Ortiz, who is also a member of the Executive Committee, and the Legal Adviser is an area community leader and leading attorney Manuel B. Quintal, PhD.
DIWA NG KALAYAAN CORONATION PAGEANT AND GALA
PIDCI continues this year’s commemoration of the 115th Anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence with the Diwa ng Kalayaan (Spirit of Independence) Selection and Coronation Pageant and Gala at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Newark Airport at 128 Frontage Road, Newark, New Jersey 07114, telephone (973) 690-5500 on Friday, May 3, 2013 from 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. the following day.
At this writing, it was announced by Diwa ng Kalayaan Committee Chairs Joyce Castillo and Maryann Sanagustin that six dalagang Filipina (single Filipino girls) have qualified to vie for the title of Diwa ng Kalayaan (Spirit of Independence). They are: Kristine Liwag, Camille Jessica Cunanan, Riana Aldana and Kristen Claire Fernandez, all from New Jersey; and the other two from New York are Allyson Prada and Judith Ashley Quilapio.
PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE DAY
Then comes the centerpiece of the annual commemoration – the Philippine Independence Day – on the usual first Sunday in June, June 2, with three major events lumped into a whole day affair on Madison Avenue, in the center of New York City: the 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Street Fair from 24th to 26th Street (a mini Filipino food festival cum merchandise expo cum corporate exhibits); the 11:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. pièce de résistance, the annual Philippine Independence Day Parade on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, starting off at 38th Street, passing an East side reviewing stand at 29th and 30th Street before turning off to 27th Street for the end of the parade.
And the closing event of the day – the afternoon Cultural Festival, featuring local performers and talents as well as international entertainment celebrities and personalities both from the Philippines and elsewhere – this goes on from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. to conclude the day’s activities.
According to sources close to PIDCI leadership, negotiations are almost at the stage of completion to have the three major Philippine television networks participate in this year’s celebrations by sending name stars to the Philippine Independence Day, particularly the Independence Day Parade and for appearances and performances at the Cultural Festival. The networks named are TV-5, ABS-CBN TFC and GMA 7, last year’s PIDCI media partner from the Philippines.
The same sources also said that a reply has been received from re-electionist Philippine Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero saying he will grace the Philippine Independence Day celebrations in New York on Sunday, June 2. In the reply, Senator Escudero indicated GMA 7 celebrity Heart Evangelista may be traveling with the senator along with colleague Senator Bong Revilla. The reply added that the pair may also attend the Philippine Independence Ball.
PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE BALL
PIDCI’s annual months-long, multi-event commemoration culminates with the grand Philippine Independence Ball at the Teaneck Marriott at Glenpointe Hotel at 100 Frank W. Burr Boulevard, Teaneck, New Jersey 07666, telephone (201) 836-0600 on Saturday, June 8, 2013 from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight.
INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE GRAND MARSHAL – Photo shows Dr. Rebecca Castro Rivera (second from left) being bestowed with the Grand Marshal’s sash for the 2013 Independence Day Parade, the pièce de résistance of the 115th commemoration of the Declaration of Philippine Independence. Shown pinning the sashon Dr. Rivera is Dr. Prospero Lim (left) and assisting him is Consul General Mario de Leon, Jr.(third from left) with PIDCI President Fe Martinez (right) looking on.