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The SUN’s 20th anniversary show brightens winter day

14 April 2016

By The SUN staff 

With a Holy Mass, a parade of colors, cultural performances, band music and songs, and a surprise number from the show's organizers, Chater Garden in Central was turned into a festival ground as The SUN, Hong Kong's longest-running and most widely circulated newspaper, celebrated its 20th anniversary on Dec 20.

Fanfare blended with community service as the newspaper, partnering with Mission for Migrant Workers' "Give Care to Caregivers" program, served scores of OFWs who took advantage  of free acupressure therapy, medical check-ups, massage and blood pressure reading offered by participating non-government organizations.
There were also free art lessons offered by Hong Kong - based artists from Pintura Circle, and arts and craft displays from Balikatan sa Kaunlaran - Hong Kong Council and CARD OFW Foundation.
A unique feature was the on-site counseling service provided by officers of the Philippine Consulate General and the Hong Kong Labour Department
The event, held on a cool, overcast Sunday, drew hundreds of participants, well-wishers and supporters from the Filipino community, NGOs and other sectors.
The program got underway at 10:30am with a Catholic mass officiated by the Chaplain for Filipinos, Fr. FJay Flandez, SVD, and attended by hundreds of people.
The solemnity of the religious service was replaced by a festive atmosphere when the Parade of Colors led by the International Marshal Society (Imaso)  and The SUN got going. Participants from various Filipino community organizations followed closely behind, marching ,into  the park from Chater Road to the beat of drums and xylophones of the Mindanao Federation Band.
The participants who represented various professions and regions of the country, livened up the balmy day with their colorful costumes and cultural dances that competed for attention.
"Bambanti" street dancers from Isabela Federation awed the crowd as they swayed, shook and strutted in a sampling of how the Northeastern Luzon province celebrated its annual harvest festival.
Not to be outdone were the Sinulog dancers of Leyte Achievers who gave an equally colorful and lively performance, despite having only six members of their multi-awarded dance troupe around, as most members were away for their holiday break.
When it was the turn of MinFed's Singkil dancers to perform, both the audience and passersby held their breath as they captured in cameras the rhythmic movement of the exotically dressed dancers that blended well with the beat of the gongs and ganzas.
For a peek into today's Philippine showbiz craze, Hong Kong’s legion of fans of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza were treated to a contemporary dance number by the Ofc Aldub -Maiden group.
Also perking up the audience was the dance performance by the Radiant Organization of Amiable Drivers, or Road, which drew inspiration from the Pinoy dance craze in various eras. Most applauded were the lesbian members of the driver's group who gamely wore flirty skirts and wigs while gyrating to the music.
But serious issues confronting OFWs such as "laglag-bala" at Manila airport also found their way into the cultural show via a funny interpretative dance entitled "Sabon," performed  by the Likha cultural group, an affiliate of Migrante International.
In a shift from the prancing and twerking, the National Association of Professional Teachers presented a Balagtasan, a poetical joust in which two NOPT members in 18thcentury Philippine costumes debated the wisdom of working abroad while a similarly garbed moderator stood between them.
Providing further contrast was the martial arts demonstration by the United Philippines Taekwondo Organization, or Upto.
While the program was ongoing onstage, scores of Filipinas with various concerns lined up at the different booth participating in the "Care to Caregivers" outreach of the Mission for Migrant Workers.
Eight booths in all were occupied by NGOs that offered various pampering services to the OFWs, with FilReflex being one of the most visited because of its offer of free massage by volunteers to soothe the body pains of the tired domestic workers.
Hong Kong Aids Foundations was giving away information kits and free condoms but people in the crowd were apparently too shy to approach the volunteers for consultations.
Another popular booth was Chinese Medicine for All, which offered acupressure massage.
The other highlights of the celebration included the launch of "Coins for Bethune House 2016", a community-driven fund raising for the Bethune House Migrant Workers' Refuge, held annually, For the first time, a "Pamaskong Handog sa Bethune" was held, with some Filipino community organizations joining the Christmas gift-giving to the shelter's clients.
The Mission for Migrant Workers also held the Grand Raffle Draw for its annual fund-raising sanctioned by Hong Kong's Home Affairs Department.  The lucky winners were: Violeta Cabrera, who won the top prize of Iphone 6S; Gloria Macale, second prize; Sheena B. Salero, third prize.  Ten people took consolation prizes: Eliza Bides, Marilou (no surname), ticket no 06450; Binti Napsiah, Corazon Esteban Padua, Milagros Guillermo, Lily P. Valdez, ATIS HK, Ruth M. Alad, Gracyl Agraviador, and Baneng. with ticket no 01504.      
The SUN donated two consolation prizes of two admission tickets each to Ocean Park.
All winners are advised to collect their prizes on or before Jan. 29, 2016 at the Mission office in St. John's Cathedral, 8-10 Garden Road, Hong Kong, during office hours.
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