SERVING THE FILIPINO COMMUNITY SINCE 1993
MAY 4, 2019

COVER STORY

COVER STORY

FilCom Center Presents...(cont.)

 

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Mililani resident Christopher Kalani Guillermo has attended four Fiestas. “It was the talk of town for a while back when I first started going. I’ve heard about the great food and that there are lots of things to buy from the Philippines. So I decided to go and have been having fun each time.

“I enjoy watching celebrities from the Philippines. What I like most is the escrima (Filipino martial art) demonstration and exhibition. I got a chance to hold and wiggle the sword.”

A highlight of the Fiesta is the Philippine folk dances by regions: Ilokano, Visayan, Tagalog, and Igorot. Fiesta-goers who see these folk performances for a first time talk

about how proud they are to have culture like this; and some describe how they’ve never knew such thing existed.

Fiesta organizers also schedule mix genre entertainment to appeal to the multi-generational and diverse audiences. Besides Filipino and ethnic performances, other genres in the past have included Broadway tunes, hip-hop dancers, high school bands, brass bands, jazz, theater-drama performances, and rock.

PERFORMERS. Slated entertainment for this year’s Fiesta include: Merge Spiral Band, Arceli Acosta, Pike Velasco, Misty Kelai, BIBAK, Community Reigning Queens, Kenjie Mercado, Bandalan Doce Pares, San Nicolas National High School Ensemble, Jordan Seguin, McKinley High School Cultural Group, Mark Calizo, BYU Filipino Club, Lilibeth Palafox Montenegro, Young Once, Lauren Cabrera (Miss Philippines Hawaii), Joel Tolentino, Rose Pedronan Dancers, Dabawenyos of Hawaii, HK Sisters, Camille Yano (Miss Asia Hawaii and partner), Dynamic Trio, Kristianlei and Miguel Cadoy, Cebuano Association of Hawaii, Dabawenyos Community Foundation, Balaan Catalina Society, and Bob’sKey. (See Program Schedule sidebar for performance times.)

Governor David Ige and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell will give welcome remarks.

Like Guillermo, Pearl City resident and caregiver consultant Baybee Hufana-Ablan enjoys watching performers from the Philippines, “especially the actors and actresses who are members of television TV dramas,” she says.

This year Philippine TV Star Kenjie Mercado will make an appearance at the Fiesta.

Also from the Philippines will be the HK Sisters who competed in Asia’s Got Talent.

Ablan believes a Fiesta is important to remind our community “of their culture and to reminisce the places where they originated in the Philippines. It’s also a learning experience for local Filipinos to know about our culture and heritage, something that we can be proud of to be Filipinos.”

Ablan says she has supported other ethnic events as well such as those presented by Japanese, Koreans and others. “I enjoy celebrating the different ethnic groups of Hawaii, and trying all their unique dishes.”

The Fiesta brings people from all over the island. Waianae resident Lambert Cachola have attended two fiestas. “I only went twice because I have to drive far and sometimes it’s tiring.

“But it is worth the drive. Wow. I was impressed to see all the Philippine culture. I’ve never been to the Philippines. So I imagine the tastes and performances at the Fiesta are kind of like what you would find in the Philippines,” said Cachola.

Like most fiesta-goers, Cachola have gone with family and friends. “It’s a great family event. It also builds community camaraderie. We have to let our kids know we have these things like a fiesta that showcases our culture.

“And the food is like homemade cooking, different from some Filipino restaurants. Can’t miss it,” said Cachola.

Community-building

The Fiesta from its inception has also had as a goal to build the local Filipino community. Essential to that aim is to support Filipino businesses on the islands and the non-profits and government agencies that serve our communities.

Businesses, Non-profits, Government. This year’s Fiesta participants are Valley of the Temples, Estherbrook, Inc. (Salad Master), AARP Hawaii, Avida Land Corporation, Honolulu Army Recruiting Company, Lean 2 Financial, LBC, TFC-Hawaii, Renato and Maria Etrata Foundation, John Gephart, Atlas Shippers International, Legacy of Life Hawaii, Hawaii Filipino Lawyers Association, City & County, Storm Water Quality Branch, Woodmen of the World, Philippine Consulate General.

Community Health Fair. The Fiesta once again will also hold a simultaneous Community Health Fair. This year’s participants are Humana, Mountain-Pacific Quality Health, and Financial Benefits Insurance, Inc.

Brandon Dela Cruz, who handles marketing for the Fiesta, explains the Fiesta started as a way to bring public awareness to garner support for the building of the FilCom Center, which many in the community see as a symbol of our community.

“On a larger cultural scale, the event embodies the essence of a celebratory time in the Philippines known as ‘Flores de Mayo’ or ‘Flowers of May’ which is a festival held in the Philippines in the month of May. The Flores celebration has also taken an additional meaning with Hawaii’s largest Filipino event’s founder Eddie Flores, who coincidentally shares the same name,” said Dela Cruz.

The FilCom Center is a non-profit organization that provides cultural, social and educational services to Hawaii’s Filipinos and community at large. It’s the largest center of its kind in the U.S. and outside of the Philippines.

Sponsors and Donators. Organizers of the Fiesta want to acknowledge the sponsors and donators. Sponsors: L&L Hawaiian Barbeque, Western Union, Everlasting Travel, Philippine Airlines.

Donations of prizes to be given out at the event are provided by Consuelo Foundation, San Nicolas Chicharon, Jesse’s Coffee Shop and Bakery, Northstar Deli and Sausages, 3 Sets Pearl Jewelry, Henri and Lina Calderon, Reynold and Agnes Edralin, Martin Lau, and Pagoda Floating Restaurant.

Event organizers invite the community for another day of memorable fiesta fun with family and friends. Mabuhay to the annual Filipino Fiesta. Mabuhay to organizers and partcipants.

(HFC columnist Carlota Hufana Ader contributed to this cover story.)

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