fiesta happening each month somewhere in the Philippines where a town queen and her court are being coronated or the town’s patron saint venerated with prayers and tears. Whatever may be the reason to get together in revelry and camaraderie, Filipinos love their fiestas.
So, it’s no surprise that since its inception, the Filipino Fiesta in Honolulu continues to be embraced by the community with pride and joy, making it the biggest annual Filipino cultural celebration in the state, and arguably the most well-attended Filipino Fiesta anywhere outside of the Philippines.
Organizers estimate each year over 10,000 Hawaii residents and tourists partake in the cultural extravaganza, appreciate colorful indigenous costumes, arts and craft, watch live music and traditional dances while feasting on a medley of savory dishes from the motherland. Lumpia, pancit, pork adobo are crowd favorites. To cool off from the heat, halo-halo is the preferred remedy. Beauty queens, politicians, local and Philippine celebrities can be seen warmly greeting people at this family-friendly event.
This year’s Filipino Fiesta is extra special; it marks the 25th Jubilee anniversary. It will be on held on May 6 at Kapiolani Park, Waikiki, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is sponsored by L & L Hawaiian Barbecue (title Sponsor), Philippine Airlines, Honolulu Star Advertiser and Western Union. The GMA Premier Exhibitors are LBC and Sunrun.
“The Filipino Fiesta is a community effort. We all worked very hard to showcase our Filipino culture and history to the rest of Hawaii’s community for the past 25 years,” said Eddie Flores, Jr. who came up with the idea of having a Filipino Fiesta in Honolulu.
Flores said part of the success of the Fiesta has been bringing in celebrities from the Philippines who not only perform but meet-and-greet fiesta-goers. Each year there is a mix ethnic, Philippine and American entertainment.
Opening up the festivities, Coro Filipino will do the Ama Namin; BIBAK, an Igorot prayer, COVO a Muslim chant. Following that the first singing performances begins with national anthems: Coro Filipino renders the Star-Spangled Banner, Pike Velasco, the Philippines’ Lupang Hinirang. The Hawaii Pono’I will be sung by Miss Taylor Ishida.
Immediately after the FilCom Center, Inc. concludes the welcoming remarks, there will be non-stop entertainment for the rest of the day. Some of the local singing and dance presentations include: Bobsky, Linglingay Dance Group Hawaii, Waiakoloa Twirlers, Haranistas, Bradley Anguay, Kaylee Shimizu, Nixpac Dance Company, Chris Low, Kristian Lei, Mr. Pinoy Aloha - Tunac, HI Collective, Raymond Sebastian, Dynamic Kids and Dyanmic Trio.
The much-anticipated cultural dance segment of the entertainment program begins around 11:30 a.m. The Linglingay Dance Troup will do the Maria Clara Dance. Techniqlings Crew will present a modern Tinikling. Himig at Indak performs a few dances and songs, followed by BIBAK presenting a Cordillera (Igorot) Suite; Bulacan Circle and Associates does the La Jota Moncadena, and Dabawenyos of Hawaii finishes this segment with the famous Singkil.
In addition to Filipino cultural performances, there will be a variety of other entertainment such as Broadway tunes, modern dance, hip hop, Taiko drummers, Balinese ensemble, belly dancers, a lion dance, twirling routine, and more.
Food, food, and more food
The Filipino Fiesta never fails to present some of the best of Hawaii cuisine. This year’s vendors promise not to disappoint with dishes that represent the Asian Pacific rim, fusion and ethnic dishes, and local plate lunch favorites. The celebrated, Filipino-style lechon and the famous crispy appetizer chicaron are only a few food items that will be available. The list of food vendors this year include: Crazy Country Corn, Dick's Lechon, Gerry's Grill, Island's Finest Shave Ice, L & L Hawaiian Barbecue, Olay's Thai Food Express, San Nicolas Chicharon & Sausage, Seafood City, Sugar Mill Café, and UBAE LLC.
Gerry’s Grill, an international restaurant chain and one of this year’s food vendors, will serve at the fiesta some of its best sellers: pork sisig, pork barbecue, pork liempo, bangus sisig, pansit and lumpia.
“This is the first time for Gerry’s Grill to participate at the fiesta where we can showcase how good we are in terms of cooking Filipino food for not only Filipinos but for all the people of different nationalities and ethnicities,” said restaurant manager Joe Quibuyen.
Informational and Health Booths
Non-profits have always participated in the Filipino Fiesta providing valuable information. This year’s non-profit groups include: HMSA, Hawaii Filipino Lawyers Association, Legacy of Life Hawaii, and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii.
The Community Health Fair has become a fixture at the Filipino Fiesta giving attendees an opportunity to learn more about some of the local medical and dental services available. This year’s Community Health Fair participants include: Bright Smiles Hawaii, Humana, Mountain-Pacific Quality Health, and San Diego Family Dentistry, Inc.