New York City — The Philippine community gathered at the Philippine Center in Manhattan for June events that included a commemorative celebration of Dr. Jose Rizal’s 153rd birthday, an Independence Day Community Celebration, and an art exhibit on Mindanao, the Land of Treasures.
Philippine Independence Day Celebrations
Filipiniana was the order of the day as the centerpiece of Philippine Independence Day celebrations in New York was held last June 12. The day started with a flag ceremony with the officers and staff of the Philippine Consulate General, Philippine Mission to the United Nations, Philippine Trade and Investment Center, Philippine Department of Tourism New York and the Philippine Center Management Board.
Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Mission Libran Cabactulan read the Independence Day message of President Benigno Aquino III, while Consul General Mario L. De Leon, Jr. read the Secretary of Foreign Affairs’. Visiting Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Rafael Seguis also joined in the celebration.
A simple breakfast followed the ceremony that included the singing of the national anthem and reciting the Panunumpa sa Watawat.
In the evening, about 200 guests from the diplomatic and consular corps, US government, Filipino community members, press people and family gathered at the aptly-named Kalayaan Hall (Freedom Hall) for the Mindanao-inspired formal reception.
Notable Filipino-American guests include New Jersey Council President Rolando Lavarro and Seton Hall University President Dr. Gabriel Esteban.
During his address, Consul General Mario L. De Leon, Jr. echoed the theme for the year’s celebrations, “Pagsunod sa yapak ng mga dakilang Pilipino tungo sa Malawakan at Permanenteng Pagbabago.” (Following the steps of great Filipinos toward widespread and permanent change). He underscored the recent developments in the Philippines – the robust economic performance, the administration’s good governance initiatives and the signing of the Mindanao Peace Pact – which paved the way for overseas Filipinos to help propel the current growth further. He urged the community to be emboldened by the spirit of the forefathers and always protect and advance the interests of the Filipinos in the US Northeast. Straight from the homeland and seven months after the destruction in their province, the Leyte Dance Theatre performed a Mindanao suite of three dances to show the crowd the colorful and exquisite performance art of the region. They were on a US tour to raise funds for the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.
All night, the guests were treated to a sumptuous spread of Filipino food provided by New York-based Filipino restaurants Pan De Sal, Pig and Khao, Ugly Kitchen and Bibingka-esk.
Mindanao, Land of Treasures Exhibit
Up until June 27, the Mindanao, Land of Treasures is on exhibit, showcasing the collection of the Mindanao State University Alumni and the Kinding Sindaw as well as of John Cruz Abul, Rody Picar, and Ramon Chua.
Knights of Rizal Commemortates 153rd Birthday of Dr. Jose Rizal
Members of the Knights of Rizal New York and the Ladies for Rizal New Jersey led in the celebration of the 153rd birthday of the national hero Dr. Jose Rizal.
Ten new members were inducted on June 19, 2014 by Deputy Regional Commander for the USA Sir Francis Sison: Alexander Bangcaya, Zoultan Bermudez, Pancho Bernaldez, Steve Lobo, Ged Merino, Charlie Nabo, Tito Ringor, Vincent Sto. Tomas, Jay Michael Tolentino, and Christ Traumer.