Street parade, solidarity nights mark PH Independence Day celebrations in the US

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The 119th Philippine Independence Day was once again marked with celebrations in various parts of the country—with activities like Philippine flag raising ceremonies, food festivals featuring heritage cuisine, and other events honoring the country’s history and the brave Filipinos who fought for freedome against foreign colonizers.

Overseas, similar festivities were also observed by various Filipino communities.

In the US, Filipinos held a grand parade and food festival in New York and a solidarity evening in Washington.

A video that has gone viral shows the Philippines’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Teodoro Locsin, Jr. and the rest of the Philippine mission gamely dancing their way way in a parade on Manhattan Avenue.

Here’s the Facebook post by Hon. Elmer Cato, Chargé d’affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad. The public post gained more than 252,000 views and 4,600 shares.

On June 4, New Yorkers spared more than a minute to enjoy, applaud, and cheer participants of the Philippine Independence Day Parade along Madison Avenue (stretching from the corners of 38th to 23rd Streets). The event was considered by many observers as the biggest and most colorful celebration ever mounted by the Filipino community in years.

Local beauty queens waved to the cheering crowd from colorful floats; Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) chief Cesar Montano and singer Martin Nievera were among the special guests.

Participants of the parade enjoyed the opportunity of dressing up in Philippine costumes, with many showing up in Mindanao-themed attires. The ambassador’s wife, Louie Locsin, for instance, wore a Maranao-inspired fuschia dress. The Philippine Mission ladies wore Tausug scarves as well as their uniform accessory.
A vinta sail or sela from Zamboanga was flown in courtesy of a private individual from the province. The colorful and large sail further enhance the vibrant visual spectacle on the street.
Amb. Teddy Locsin and Mrs. Louie Locsin pose before an authentic vinta sail from Zamboanga. Photo courtesy of Louie Locsin.
After the hour-long parade, spectators got to taste hearty Filipino dishes at the food fair organized by the Philippine embassy.
On June 7, a reception was organized by the Philippines’ Permanent Mission to the United Nations for an evening of camaraderie. More than 220 guests, which included representatives from various UN missions, graced the event.
To satisfy every homesick kababayan‘s cravings were San Miguel beer, Pot Roast with Bulalo (bone Marrow), chicken inasal in skewers with sukang sinamak as dipping sauce, laing, pancit bam-I, halayang ube (purple yam jam), queso real and macapuno ice cream with turon, and calamansi cheesecake. 
 
On June 8, the Philippine consulate also organized a cultural night that kicked off with the opening of “Maestrong Pilipino” featuring the gown collection of fashion designer John Ablaza. Proceeds of the show will benefit a Mangyan community in Mindoro. 
The Philippine Mission to the UN celebrated Philippine Independence Day with a solidarity night graced by representatives of other UN missions on June 7, 2017, in New York. Photo courtesy of Louie Locsin.
Also launched that evening is the National Art Historic Exhibit featuring Philippine National treasures that include National Artist Vicente Manansala’s painting, “Kalabaw.”
Reaffirming ties in Washington

On June 8 in Washington, D.C., more than 160 guests representing the US Government, foreign diplomatic missions, and business sector joined the Filipino community in celebrating Philippine Independence Day.

Philippine Embassy Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Minister Patrick A. Chuasoto (in photo, center) leads the ceremonial toast with (from left) US Undersecretary of Defense Theresa Whelan; US Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon, Jr.; US Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo; and US Congressman Robert Scott during the Philippine Embassy’s Independence Day celebration held on June 8 in Washington D.C. Photo courtesy of DFA.

Filipino-American tenor Allan Palacios-Chan performed the Philippine and US national anthems at the affair’s venue at the Chancery Annex Building.

Patrick Chuasoto, Philippine Charge d’Affaires to Washington D.C., said in his opening speech: “This year’s theme, Kalayaan 2017: Pagbabagong Sama-Samang Balikatin, reminds us that the noble task of nation-building is on our shoulders. Our independence and sovereignty demands no less. May we all be reminded that the challenge for the next generation is to honor, cherish and safeguard the very freedoms that our forefathers valiantly fought for and gave their lives in heroic sacrifice.”

The gathering also celebrated the ties that the Philipines and US have developed and that is also within the bilateral and ASEAN frameworks.

Chuasoto noted, “The United States has also been an enduring and reliable ally of the Philippines. The United States is our only treaty ally. The Philippines is also the United States’ oldest ally in Asia. Our friendship is decades long, reinforced by an alliance that continues to stand strong whether in good or challenging times.”

Members of the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. pose for a portrait during the embassy’s Philippine Independence Day celebration on June 8, 2017. Photo courtesy of DFA.

Guest of honor, Thomas Shannon, Jr., US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, described Philippines-US ties to be “almost a family relationship.”

Shannon said, “What we have in common – what our shared history had given us – is a common set of core values: democracy, economic openness, rule of law, and determined defense of our sovereignty and liberty. As we have been for over a half-century, the US and Filipino peoples are united in our commitment to building a safe, secure and prosperous Asia Pacific region and wider world.”

He added, “The Philippines and the United States are on the same team – allies – and though the challenges we face may be great—terrorism, drugs, illiteracy, poverty—our teamwork and partnership will help us stay on the winning side. With a growing economy and strong commitment to democracy and its institutions, the future looks bright for the Philippines. We are proud to stand by the Philippines as teammates, partners, and family.”

Members of the US House of Representatives Bobby Scott (District of Virginia), co-chair of the US-Philippines Friendship Caucus, and Madeleine Bordallo (District of Guam) also delivered messages on the contributions of Filipino-Americans to the strengthening of the social fabric of the United States, and on the role of the Philippines in securing peace, stability and progress for the Asia-Pacific region.

Chuasoto led the celebration’s ceremonial toast honoring the diplomatic ties between the Philippines and the US.