By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City — The torrential rain of June 5, Sunday did not dampen the spirits of the Philippine Independence Day parade. Participants and spectators walked through Madison Avenue from 36th Street until the Madison Park to celebrate the 118th year of the Philippine republic with the usual fervor and energy.
Although there was a visibly lesser turn-out in spectators, the parade was as colorful and festive as it ever was. On 28th Street, Joshua, a young cheerer from New York perked up everyone’s mood as he roared for every contingent. Filipinos are awesome! He shouts, as everyone laughs and claps. Filipinos are self-confident! Another roaring laughter. Filipinos are great! Thank you, Joshua, for your wonderful shout outs.
The fun fare included a cultural program which was participated by Philippine entertainers and the vibrant street food where people sampled on the well-loved pansit (noodles), lechon kawali, pork barbecue, ube ice cream, and the challenging balut (duck eggs).
New York is the oldest and biggest community parade and celebration of the Philippine independence outside Manila, which is now on its 34th year. The Philippine American Communities of the East Coast initiated the parade in 1972 on Madison Avenue. Today, that community celebration has become a tradition with the growing generations of Filipinos in the east coast. To date, there are about 270,000 Filipinos in New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.