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Month-long Independence Day celebrations roll off in HK

14 June 2018

Mindanao groups present the dances of the lumads and their colorful costume (above) on the second Sunday.

By Daisy CL Mandap

Rains at first threatened to mar the start of the promised month-long celebration of the 120th anniversary of Philippine Independence Day celebration in Hong Kong, but in the end, it was intense heat that participants had to endure to get the show going.

“Panalo ang Pinoy,” the first Sunday show on Chater on Jun 3,  organized by the Philippine Association of Hong Kong and corporate sponsors led by Smart-PLDT and Philippine Airlines, languished in the searing heat for the most part. Beauty contestants in their fineries ended up parading with umbrellas on stage to protect them from the sun’s intense rays.

The audience perked up only toward the late afternoon when former Rivermaya frontman Jason Fernandez took to the stage and sang a string of popular Filipino pop songs.

Jason Fernandez, former Rivermaya vocalist, highlights the first Sunday show. 
The next Sunday, Jun 10, the “Kapangyawan Festival”, usually the centerpiece of the annual celebration, was held also on Chater Road, with the Philippine Consulate joining hands with Global Alliance and Philippine Alliance in putting on the show. Another airline, Asia Air, was the main sponsor.

The crowd was noticeably thinner than in previous years, but again, the heat and humidity, plus the prospect of seeing the same performances being staged on Chater Road over three Sundays, must have caused many to stay away.

The Philippine flag leads a parade of colors on Chater Road.
The highlight of the show was the “Kulay Pinoy” performance of several migrant workers groups, the culmination of several Sundays of choreography and rehearsals. The much-awaited part was held in mid-afternoon, but the sun’s rays were still bearing down heavily on the performers as they bravely put their best foot forward.

After the show, an announcement was made that the performance will be restaged on Jun 17, the third Sunday of Chater events, which will have another beauty contest, the “Search for Bb Kalayaan 2018” as its main attraction. The penultimate Sunday event dubbed “Kalayaan Concert” will also feature performances by three live bands, including one from the Hong Kong Musicians Union.
PAHK honors past and present officers.

The next Sunday will be an indoor event, the Kalayaan Ball, an annual lunch gathering of Filipino migrant workers dressed in their best Independence Day outfits. This year’s party will be held at the Fulum Palace in North Point.

Earlier, on Jun 9, Saturday, another indoor event was held at the Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui - the annual Philippine Independence Day charity ball. As in past decades, the biggest gathering of Filipino professional and business people was hosted by the Philippine Association of Hong Kong.

This year’s venue was far smaller than the Conrad ballroom - the traditional home of the annual ball - and the sound system was far from perfect, but neither setback failed to stop the partygoers from having fun.

Helping fire them up was the array of top performers for the evening, from singers Ogie Alcasid, Jason Fernandez and Jason Dy, to FilAm standup comedian Rex Navarrete.

As befits its theme “Celebrating Global Pinoys,” the charity ball paid honor to five “Most Valuable Pinoys” – entrpreneur Myrna Padilla for technology; photographer Xyza Bacani, arts; Dr Miguel Manio for education; banker Lourdes Salazar for business and professional practice; and Global Alliance founder Noemi “Leo” Selomenio for community development.

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