by Myrna Aquitania
The recent 2013 Kalayaan celebration of the Philippine Independence Day, spearheaded by the Philippine Consulate along with the Department of Tourism and the Philippine Tourism Promotions Board at the historic Filpinotown was a rousing success with around 60 booths of various categories of businesses and civic organizations who participated in the all-day event.
The festivities began promptly at 8:00 am in front of the building of the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) on Temple headed by the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary along with participants from various organizations such as the Philippine Heritage Scout Society, whose costumes dated back in time and the Philippine Women’s University who all donned their marroon t-shirts with the PWU logo in front. The parade ended up at the SIlver Lake Medical Center where all the booths surround the grandstand in the middle.
Program emcees were: Kababayan LA TV-host Janelle So and producer/director, comedian Bernardo Bernardo who were both equally lively in carrying the show, highlighted by the Dinagyang Street Dancers from the City of Iloilo, who were the winners of the 11th Aliwan Fiesta, dubbed as the “Mother of all Fiestas.” These 23 dancers mesmerized us all not only with their sound but their spectacular tattoed body and colorful costumes as well as their outstanding dance performances.
To name a few, some of the impressive booths were: Burog’s Barong. They displayed quite a selection of Barongs and Filipinana dresses one can choose from and buy; the Filipino American Press Club of Los Angeles (estab 1978), Inc.(FAPCLA) whose booth included the Larry Itliong Foundation, a selection of books written by some of its members, t-shirts, quilted placemats, posters of various FAPCLA activities including the Sendong fundraiser and the recent Essay-Writing Contest and informational flyers on their upcoming project on AB 123, supported by Assemblyman Rob Bonta. Another booth that had a lot of foot traffic was RSG Jewelry and Accessories where designer purses were sold at bargain prices; the booth of Overseas Filipinos for Good Governance, gave out a handful of raffle prizes to those who signed up in support of their cause “bringing our Faith, family values and the Bayanihan spirit to build a better Filipino community;” and not to be missed was the booth of the Philippine Heritage Institute which showcased their various noble projects for the community.
The food booths were found on the side of the FACLA building where there was quite a selection of food to buy from Max’s, Jollibee, Goldilocks, etc.
Some of the sponsors to the event were: Western Union, Seafood City, Island Pacific, the Office of Eric Garcetti, Silver Lake Medical Center, etc.
Finally, according to Consul General Maria Hellen Barber-Dela Vega, “the parade and the cultural celebration was aimed at expanding the support system of the Filipino community, focused on family, faith and values.”
Congratulations to the Kalayaan 2012 officers and members for such a successful event!
In another part of town, the Filiipno Ministry of All Souls Catholic Church in Alhambra held a Santacruzan recently.
As part of our Filipino tradition, the Santacruzan is a parade in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, introduced by the Spanish conquistadores in the Philippines in the late 1800’s. It is supposed to commemorate the search of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena (Reyna Elena) that led to the conversion of her son Constantine. Further, according to hearsay, after the Holy Cross was found in Jerusalem and brought back to Rome, a joyful celebration of thanksgiving and Santacruzan was held with nine days of adoration in honor of the Holy Cross.
The Santacruzan around the block of All Souls Church on Main Street was led by its Pastor Rev. Joseph KimDang Nguyen and coordinated by Filipino Ministry leaders, Jun Cabacang and Venus Rivera. Parishioners Josephine Corrales was Reyna Elena, Matthew Lipson, Constantine, Eden Barroso, Reyna Emperatriz, Rose Trillana-Pichon, Reyna De Las Flores, Samantha Jones, Reyna de Caridad and Cristina Jones, Reyna De Las Virgenes.
The Alhambra parishioners who attended the Saturday evening Mass joined in the parade and were all treated to a sumptuous dinner and merrymaking at the community hall.
Best wishes to the All Souls Catholic Church Filipino Ministry in painstakingly coordinating a well-attended Santacruzan!