NEW YORK, NY – The Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) climaxes its commemoration this year of the 115th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine Independence with a star-studded Philippine Independence Day on Sunday, June 2, 2013.
On tap for the day are the traditional trio of events: the all-day Independence Day Street Fair, the 2013 Philippine Independence Day Parade led by Grand Marshal Dr. Rebecca Castro Rivera and the Cultural Festival with appearances and performances by Philippine movie stars and celebrities Aga Muhlach, Sharon Cuneta, Derek Ramsay, Gary Valenciano, Marian Rivera, Rafael Rosell and Bong Revilla, among others.
Also at the lead of the Parade, along with other important guests are specially invited guests re-electionist Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, who will be accompanied by Heart Evangelista, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III, two-term PIDCI President Fe Martinez and Philippine Consul General in New York Ambassador Mario Lopez de Leon, Jr.
Others who will be at the lead of the Independence Day Parade spearhead, will be past parade Grand Marshals, past PIDCI Presidents, Overall Chairs of past Independence anniversary commemorations, and the current members of the PIDCI Board of Directors, and past directors.
Still others, who will be riding on a float will be this second year’s Mrs. Kalayaan, Rose Pacia Labelle, along with her court: first runner-up Mrs. Kalayaan Filipino-American titlist Ernestine Hollins, second runner-up Mrs. Kalayaan Philippines Leila Fernandez Morales, Mrs. Kalayaan Luzon Jeanette Corpus, Mrs. Kalayaan Visayas Josephine Guarana, and Mrs. Kalayaan Mindanao Susan Tobias.
Bringing up the rear of the Parade, on their own special float are this year’s Diwa ng Kalayaan beauties, led by the titleholder, 18-year-old Kristine Liwag of New Jersey, the 2013 Diwa ng Kalayaan (Spirit of Independence). She will be joined by first runner up Miss Filipino-American Riana Aldana, second runner-up Hiyas ng Pilipinas (Jewel of the Philippines) Camille Jessica Cunanan, Bituin ng Luzon (Star of Luzon) Allysson M. Prada, Bituin ng Visayas (Star of the Visayas) Judith Ashley Quilapio and Bituin ng Mindanao (Star of Mindanao) Kirsten Claire Fernandez.
New York’s annual commemoration has grown by leaps and bounds from its inception in 1990, for more than the last 18 years it is now proudly hailed by Filipinos around the world as the largest celebration of Philippine Independence outside of the Philippines. And over the last five years, the annual Philippine Independence Day has been touted by Filipinos and their friends everywhere as the largest outdoor gathering, at one time, in one place, of Filipinos in the diaspora, having drawn some 70,000 celebrants in 2008 and a surge of 100,000 people in 2011, when the world renowned Dinagyang Festival Street Dancers from Iloilo City, Iloilo, Philippines was the celebration’s special guests.
The Independence Day celebration opens with an 8:00 a.m. flag ceremony at the Philippine Center at 556 Fifth Avenue, between 45th and 46th Street in Manhattan, followed by a Mass of Independence at the Kalayaan Hall on the second floor of the center. In the meantime, hectic preparations are going on on a stretch of Madison Avenue from 23rd Street to 39th Street.
The Street Fair opens at 10:00 a.m. on Madison Avenue from 24th to 26th streets with a full-blown Filipino food festival on the East side of the Avenue, and corporate and merchants’ booths on the West side. The Independence Day Parade opens with brief ceremonies on Madison Avenue directly above 39th Street and at 12:00 Noon starts to wind down until the marchers, marching bands, floats, etc. pass a Reviewing Stand on the East Side of the Avenue between 30th and 29th Streets before turning off onto 27th Street for dispersal.
In the meantime, at about 2:00 p.m., the Cultural Festival opens on an open-air stage set up on one side of the Avenue just north of 23rd Street.
For information, to participate or for any questions regarding the Independence Day events or any other matter relating to the 115th Independence Day commemoration, please call President Fe Martinez (973) 222-0085, Vice President Elvira Reyes (551) 208-4986, Secretary Joyce Castillo (848) 467-0269, Treasurer Violeta McGough ((201) 707-8152, or any member of the Board of Directors: Jesse Arteche (908) 482-1398, Albert Diala (347) 260-8063, Dora Koltsidis (617) 637-5947, Ner Martinez (347) 837-5853, Angie Molina (718) 857-2901, Maryann Sanagustin (908) 456-7063, Aristides Uy (347) 749-2022, Vivian Velasco (917) 623-3827, Margie Wisotsky (347) 306-7707; or Gheng Pingol (917) 669-0505.
The culminating commemorative event for this year’s celebration of the 115th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine Independence is the Independence Ball scheduled at the Grand Ballroom of the Teaneck Marriott at Glenpointe Hotel at 100 Frank W. Burr Boulevard in Teaneck, New Jersey 07666-6796 on Saturday, June 8, 2013 from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight. For information on or for invitations to the Independence Ball, please call Committee Chair Margie Wisotsky at (347) 306-7707 or Angie Molina at (718) 857-2901, or PIDCI President Fe Martinez at (973) 222-0085 or any member of the PIDCI Board of Directors.
Aside from the Philippine Department of Tourism and their current “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign, the sponsors and media partners for the 115th anniversary commemoration of Philippine Independence count with the three Philippine media conglomerates, GMA-7, ABS-CBN-TFC, and TV5, and their programs and outlets Aksyon TV International, Kapatid 5, GMA Pinoy TV, GMA Life TV, TFC, and Lifetstyle Network. The media partners are Asian Journal, Filipino Reporter, The Filipino Express, philippinedailymirror.com, newyorkbalita.com, filam.net, and inquirer.net. Other sponsors are AARP, Gold Med, MedAsia, and Ramar Foods International.
PIDCI 2013: (Top Left to Right) – PIDCI President Fe Martinez, President; Philippine Consul General in New York Ambassador Mario de Leon, Jr.; 2013 Parade Grand Marshal Dr. Rebecca Castro Rivera. (Bottom Left to Right) 2013 Diwa ng Kalayaan (Spirit of Independence) Kristine Liwag and 2013 Mrs. Kalayaan Rose Pacia Labelle.