In freedom, there is always a choice. There is always an option. This fact is both a blessing and a curse, but it depends on how you perceive it.
Perhaps one of the greatest gifts of Philippine independence is the freedom to move to foreign lands in search of a better career, a better education, and a better life. This is a gift that many Filipinos chose.
Canadians are no stranger to us Filipinos. In fact, for the past two to three years, the Philippines is the largest labor market source in Canada. They enjoy our delectable Pinoy food, they love their hospitable Pinoy neighbors, they marvel at our lavish Pinoy fiestas. This cultural immersion is part of the gift of independence.
A gift that deserves a celebration.
Despite being thousands of miles away from their homeland, Filipinos abroad still find ways to celebrate the freedom they’re enjoying now–wherever they may be.
More than a community event
The Filipino communities in various Canadian cities know how to party–especially during Independence Day.
To aid in this partying (well, okay, perhaps not just to party), a handful of organizations focusing on Philippine Independence Day were established. The Surrey Philippine Independence Day Society (SPIDS) and the Philippine Independence Day Council in Toronto (PIDC) are just two of the said organizations. Philippine embassies and consulates also initiate and actively participate in events and programs.
“I thank the various community groups for reaching out, working closely with the Consulate, and sharing information about their events. We owe it to them to show our solidarity with the Filipino nation and friendship with Canada by attending and actively participating,” Philippine Consul General in Vancouver Neil Ferrer said in a recent press release.
This 2014 marks the 116th year of our freedom from colonizing forces, and together with the help and enthusiasm of the Filipino communities, these organizations exist all-year-round to create programs and events to make each June 12 (and each day in between) as meaningful and as memorable as the last for the Filipino community.
Each project is carefully planned because it’s not just a community event, a fund raiser, or a day to have fun. It’s that one special day every year that we get to celebrate that time in 1898 when we, as a country, were freed from conquerors who lambasted our resources, our sanctity, and our people.
The Pearl of the Orient: no longer a colony but a liberated spirit.
Independence Day Hooray!
Filipinos are everywhere. In fact, one study revealed that Tagalog (Filipino) is one of the fastest growing dialects in the United States.
And where Filipinos are, good times follow.
Every year, communities and organizations–as well as Philippine embassies–conduct presentations, programs, contests and games, feasts, and even beauty pageants to remember our day of freedom.
Parades are probably the most common and yet the most festive way of commemorating Independence Day in a foreign country. In fact, the Philippine Independence Day Parade was held on June 1st in four major cities: Jersey City, New Jersey; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; and Toronto, Canada.
Filipinos hand out flags, wear traditional baro’t saya and camisa de chino (even at low temperatures), and then march down the street to proclaim the freedom we’ve enjoyed for so long–proclaiming it to their communities, declaring their pride in the Filipino race and spirit.
“Filipinos love fiestas and celebrations. That is our nature as a friendly, freedom-loving and fun-loving people. That is why despite the hectic schedule, we are in full support of the activities, which showcase our unity despite belonging to many different groups and affiliations” ConGen Ferrer said. “Again, I invite everyone–Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike, to celebrate with us.”
All of these things are reminiscent of the older immigrants’ life in the Philippines, when barrio fiestas and school events would conduct such activities.
Activities to enjoy
Here are just some of the activities to look forward to this coming Independence Day.
Customary flag-raising ceremonies
June 1: Filipino Plaza in Vanness Avenue
June 8: New Westminster City Hall
June 12: Vancouver City Hall
June 15: Waterfront in North Vancouver
Philippine Independence Day Council’s Pageant Finals
June 7, 2014
Miss Philippines 2014 (7:00 – 10:00 PM)
Nikki De Ocampo
Little Miss Philippines 2014 (2:00 – 4:30 PM)
Kay-Leigh Angela Cerezo
Martina Louse Errazo
Citadel Joyce Havoc
Maria Lavelle Isla
Hazel Kaye Knight
Princess Rogelyn Lapena
Pista ng Bayan Community Picnic
June 7, 2014
Annual Philippine Independence Day Celebration
June 8, 2014
Independence Day parade and celebrations
June 8, 2014
Canada Philippine Fashion Week 2014
“Independencia – A Celebration of Philippine Style & Pride”
June 12, 2014 at 7PM-10PM
The Guvernment, 132 Queens Quay E, Toronto
With the Ambassadors of Philippine Style Renee Salud and Shanon Pamaong
Get your tickets online: www.canadaphilippinefashionweek.com/box-office
Philippine National Day Gala Dinner and Dance
June 13, 2014
Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel
PIDC’s Salu-Salo Potluck Community Picnic
June 14, 2014 at 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
Earl Bales Park, 4169 Bathurst St, Toronto
Philippine Days Festival
June 14 – 15, 2014
Waterfront Park, North Vancouver
Pagdiriwang 2014 (annual Independence Day program)
June 21, 2014
Richmond, British Columbia
Philippines-Canada Friendship Ball
June 28, 2014
Hilton Vancouver Metrotown