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On with ‘Kalayaan’ show on Sunday

19 June 2019

By Daisy CL Mandap

It’s on with the show this Sunday, June 23, for the second part of the Philippine Independence Day celebrations on Chater Road, Central.

Last Sunday’s festivities had to be cancelled at the last minute because of the mass protest against the controversial extradition bill, which has since been withdrawn by the Hong Kong government.

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Statue Square by Chater Road was nearly empty on Jun 19

“Tuloy na tuloy na ito,” said Leo Selomenio, lead coordinator for four Sundays of events scheduled to mark the 121st anniversary of Philippine Independence.

The highlight of this Sunday’s “Kalayaan” celebration will be the Festival of Dances, featuring native dances from the Philippines’ three main islands: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Six traditional dances from Luzon will be presented, five from the Visayas, and two from Mindanao.

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There will also be three competitions, in zumba, modern dance, and cheer dance.

The whole-day event will start early, at 8am with an Amazing Race contest, followed by community zumba dancing led by eight instructors.

At 10am a parade by participants will be held, followed by the singing of the national anthem and a message by Consul General Antonio Morales.
The festivities will be capped by live music from four bands provided by the Hong Kong Musicians Union.

Selomenio said the organizers had to squeeze in scheduled events for two Sundays into the celebration, “pero kaya naman.”

Some sponsors reportedly complained about the cancellation of last Sunday’s show but Selomenio told them it was an unforeseen event and that the security of those involved, especially the overseas Filipino workers, could not be compromised.
Besides, many of those who had committed to take part were reportedly warned by their employers to avoid going to Central; others were even told not to leave the house.

An estimated two million people took part in last Sunday’s protest march, causing traffic to come to a virtual standstill from Causeway Bay to Central.

Most of the places where Filipino migrants hung out on Sundays were nearly deserted, including Chater Road, but dozens still congregated in their usual tambayans, even in Admiralty, the final destination of the protest march.

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Filipino migrants on an Admiralty walkway look oblivious to the black-shirted protesters passing by them

The Consulate had advised Filipinos to avoid the potential choke points in the protest, including its own offices in United Centre, which is a just stone’s throw away from the government center.

With the government backing down on its plan to push ahead with the bill that could see accused persons in Hong Kong being handed over to places it has no extradition treaty, including China, the feeling of unease appears to have subsided.

Sana talagang wala ng protesta,” said Selomenio.

The first Sunday of Independence Day festivities was held on Jun 9, with the Kulay Pinoy presentations and the parade led by Consulate officials as the highlight.

On the last Sunday of the month, Jul 30, the traditional Kalayaan Ball, attended mostly by migrant Filipinos dressed in colorful native attires, will be held at One Palace in Tsimshatsui. The Consulate will also hand out certificates of appreciation to participants and organizers during the program.

Selomenio says more than 300 Filipino migrant workers have already signed up to attend  the annual gathering.

But the Chater events continue to be the biggest draws in the month-long festivities, with about 1,000 participants taking part on each Sunday. Hundreds others come just to watch and join the merrymaking, or avail of services offered by various groups that pitch tents along Chater Road.

The groups taking part in next Sunday’s Festival of Dances are: Mindanao Federation (Talandig); Mindanao Migrant Workers Alliance (Kadayawan); Cadiz Association (Dinagsa); Panay Overseas Workers Federation (Dinagyang); Capiz Achievers (Halaran); Miga International (Manggahan); One Negros (Masskara); Ilagan City (Bambanti); United Lakas Pangasinan (Bangus); Cordillera Administrative Region (Gongs); La Union (Panday Abel); Federation of Luzon Active Group (Pamulinawen); and the Luzon Alliance International (Sunflower).

This year’s events are jointly organized by the Consulate, the Philippine Association of Hong Kong, Global Alliance, Philippine Alliance and Federation of Luzon Active Groups.

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