Lancashire Holds First Barrio Fiesta-style Celebration
11 June 2016
by Novo-Mar Ramos
An inclement weather did not dampen the spirit of the participants, guests and visitors to push through for the success of the first Barrio Fiesta-style celebration or Filipino festival in the Lancashire region of England held on the 11th day of June 2016 at the Alexandra Park in Oldham town in line with the commemoration of the 118th Philippine Independence Day.
Mutya ng Pilipinas UK-Manchester Filipino Diaspora for Culture and Arts (Mutya-Manfid) with its Chairperson, Jassin Fuentes, and President, Ritche Lumen spearheaded the celebration, which was conceived more than a year ago. The Filipino Association of Oldham (FAO) headed by Erween Chavez played host to the event. Members of the Filipino community from Manchester, Oldham, Ashton and Bolton came in to support.
Gino Padilla, a Filipino artist and celebrity, came to entertain the crowd with his interpretation of Filipino hit songs and some medley of American songs. The audience had joined him in singing and dancing. Triple A Productions run by Al Angelo Antoni made Mr. Padilla’s presence possible.
Another major highlight was the presentation and launching of Maeryhneilla Jence “MJ” Umayam as the official representative of the Filipino Community in the UK to the 2016 Search for Mutya ng Pilipinas grand pageant in August this year. Her crown and sash as 2016 Mutya ng Pilipinas UK were put in place and pinned by Elizabeth Senson and Novo-Mar Ramos, respectively.
Ms. Umayam was later on serenaded by Gino Padilla with his signature song, “Closer You and I” that made him known worldwide. A Filipino balladeer also rendered a heart-warming piece for the 2016 Mutya UK.
The Philippine National Anthem, “Lupang Hinirang” was solemnly sung under the conduction of Iryn Giron. Wallace Alegado led the reciting of the “Panunumpa sa Watawat at sa Saligang Batas.” Thereafter, the singing of “Ako ay Pilipino” by Pure Bagaporo rekindled more the patriotic side of the Filipinos.
The festivity continued with the traditional “Santacruzan,” parade of participants and “street dancing” accompanied by the sound from the FAO drums and bugle corps dressed up in “Ati-Atihan” costume. The officers and members of the Filipino Association of Oldham and Mutya-Manfid led the procession.
Novo-Mar Ramos, ENFiD-UK Trustee, gave his commemorative speech and spoke on behalf of ENFiD-UK.
Musical scores and Filipino cultural dances participated in by the young and young at hearts were also showcased. The dances include “Nasudi”, “Cariñosa”, “Malong-malong”, and “Tinikling” to the tune of traditional and modern music. There was also a Church choir members who shared their ministry songs.
Guest singer Al Pa Bet wowed everybody with his rapping ability. Jhason Sta. Maria, former Side A Band member who now lives in Wales, was the final act of the day with his own version of songs like “Manila” and other popular Original Pilipino Music (OPM).
Santacruzan Livens Up the Streets in Woolwich
May 28, 2016
by Ricardo Gacayan, Jr.
The Greenwich Filipino Community (GCF) once again conducted its annual “Santacruzan” as part of the “Flores De Mayo” festivity on May 28, 2016 along the main thoroughfares of Woolwich in Greenwich, London.
Moises Espanola, GCF head together with the other officers led the ceremonies. Mr. Espanola was recently elected as one of the new members of the Board of Trustees of ENFiD-UK.
A mass was celebrated beforehand at St. Peter’s Church. Later, a procession started therefrom with the different Reynas (Queens) of the Santacruzan led by Reyna Elena (Queen Helena) accompanied by their escorts as well as other revelers.
A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was also carried around while the people prayed in chorus. A “salu-salo” or get-together party followed the parade where the people partook of some foods and drinks.
Edwin Dela Cruz, incumbent Chairperson of ENFiD-UK, was present and joined in the procession of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the “royal entourage” of the Santacruzan. He said, “It was wonderful to experience the community spirit, the hospitality, warmth and the Filipino tradition kept alive in London.”
Flores de Mayo (Spanish for “May flowers”) is one of the most popular festivals held in the Philippines. It is a devotion on the month of May to the Blessed Virgin Mary and lasts for the entire month.
The Santacruzan (Spanish for “sacred cross”) is the ritual pageant held on the last day of Flores de Mayo. This honours the finding of the true cross by Helena of Constantinople (known as Reyna Elena) and Constantine the Great. This tradition is now a popular celebration amongst Filipinos in the United Kingdom.
Replica of First Philippine Independence Day Flag Unfurled and Raised Up in London
11 June 2016
by Renato Lucero
In an unprecedented move by the Caviteños UK, history was made when a replica of the Philippine flag, which was raised up by the Philippine revolution leader and First President, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in Kawit, Cavite was first unfurled and raised up in London on the 11th day of June 2016.
This was part of the commemoration of the 118th Philippine Independence Day when on the 12th day of June 1898, the Philippines won its freedom from the shadows of the Spanish colonisers. Such ceremony is considered as the first to have happened on a foreign land.
Caviteños UK, presently chaired by Yvette Remojo Ramos, was instrumental in organizing the event held at the Holiday Inn in Gloucester Road, London. The theme of the celebration was “Pagdiriwang ng ika-118th Araw ng Kalayaan.”
It was a very well attended event, with so many officers and members of other Filipino Associations present led by the officers of ENFiD-UK. Ms. Ramos is also holding office as one of the members of the Board of Trustees of ENFiD-UK.
The First Secretary of the Philippine Embassy in London, Consul Kristine Salle, represented the new Philippine Ambassador to the Court of St James, His Excellency Evan Garcia as the Guest Speaker.
The food was good, specially the yummy chocolate cake dessert but the nonstop dancing made the night really sweaty.
The greatgrandson of Emilio Aguinaldo, Emil, who was supposed to bring the replica flag to London, unfortunately did not make it to the celebration in person but appeared and greeted all the party guests through an online video link.
The event’s host and hostess were Peps Villanueva and Carol Panday with the latter wearing a very colourful Muslim attire. Dress-wise, the theme was very patriotic. Men paraded their finest Barong Tagalogs while the women glistened the evening in their Filipiniana/Maria Clara inspired Ternos.
Another highlight of the occasion was the rendition of the popular song “Ako ay Pilipino” by a budding Filipino Artist born and raised up in London. Her name is Tamara Jade Canda.
Truly, it was a night full of fun. A night every Filipino could look back to and feel proud of their identity and cultural heritage.
Mabuhay and CAVITEÑEOS UK! Mabuhay ang PILIPINAS!