A large contingent of UNITeam reaches the PIDCI parade judges’ reviewing post | Photo by Noli Polizki
NEW YORK – With pride in their hearts, humility in their spirit, and enthusiasm, a contingent of more than 500 BBM-SARA supporters, known as the UNITeam East Coast, marched down Madison Avenue in Manhattan. They wore white shirts printed with the Bagong Pilipinas theme. They waved Philippine flaglets during the Philippine Independence Day parade on June 5, organized annually by the Philippine Independence Day Parade Council Inc.(PIDCI).
They sang the Bagong Lipunan for the duration of the parade to convey the message of unity and solidarity. They called on the FilAm community to support the historical election of President-elect Ferdinand “Bong-Bong” Marcos, Jr. and Vice President-elect Sara Duterte.
While waiting for their turn to march despite the scourging heat, several senior citizens braved the elements and endured the long walk from 38th Street to 26th Street along Madison Avenue. The reigning Miss Republic of the Philippines International Excelsa de Jesus, dressed in a Filipiniana gown with colors of the Philippine flag, also joined the contingent with Rev. Arnedo Valera, Esq. from Maryland. Valera performed the Philippines’ ancient martial art weapon, “Arnis” or “Eskrima-stick fighting” of the Pinakatay group, wearing a traditional Barong Tagalog handwoven by the Tiboli indigenous group from Davao City.
The UNITeam showed their exceptional volunteerism and sacrifice to help ensure the election of their candidates. The UNITeam organizers said they were inspired by everyone’s dedication, commitment, and willingness to serve the organization. They noted that the underlying thread that binds all of the UNITeam marchers was their “undying love for their native land – the Philippines.
“Indeed, they have shown the essence of what Bayhanihan Spirit is all about,” said Rene Ballenas, chair of the UNITeam USA East Coast.
The Filipino American community showcased their colorful, traditional Barong Tagalog, Filipiniana gowns and outfits, cultural dances, and delectable Filipino food. According to PIDCI, more than 100 organizations marched in the parade.
—With Jay Domingo/PDM