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Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Monday, 14 June 2010 18:07

 

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(Journal Group Link International)

 

 

North America Marks RP Independence Day

 

C HICAGO (JGLi) – A nudist group nearly spoiled the fun of Filipinos celebrating the Philippine Independence Day in Toronto, Canada, that went ahead despite the intermittent rain while a Chicago-based Filipino community member pointed out that it was a history professor from the University of the Philippines who hatched the idea of moving the celebration of the Philippine Independence Day from July 4 to June 12.

 

On the other hand, an Illinois state senator, who was guest speaker at one of the Independence events, pointed out that the late President John F. Kennedy was the first U.S. President to have recognized the change of the Philippine Independence from Fourth of July to June 12.

 

Meanwhile, in New York, several Filipinos were given awards by a New York City official for promoting Filipino culture in the city.

 

Toronto, Canada, Celebration

 

F ilipino journalist Romeo Marquez of Philippine Village Voice online outlet based in Toronto reported that about 50 naked bikers – non-Filipino males and females – circled Saturday (June 12) Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, site of the Philippine Independence Day celebration. But the bikers’ five-minute presence did not catch the attention of the Filipino celebrators.

 

Marquez said only he and a few others with video and still cameras were able to record the nudists protesting oil dependency and promoting the use of bikes.

 

Despite the intermittent rains, Marquez said, Filipinos feasted on music, dance and food in one of the biggest celebrations of Philippines’ 112th Independence Day in Canada's largest city.

Toronto’s Philippine Consul-General Minerva Falcon described the presence of the Filipinos celebrating the event under the rain as a sign of Filipinos’ resiliency.

 

"I am very pleased to be here," said Ms. Falcon, a lawyer, who took over her post several weeks ago. Coming from a largely-agricultural country like the Philippines, she said, “the rains are very welcome” development.

 

A choir serenaded the crowd with a medley of Philippine songs. A dance group from Folklorico Canada charmed the audience with folk dances, drawing more people, including non-Filipinos, while the drizzle came to a halt, even temporarily.

 

The event, billed as "Pistahan sa Toronto", is one way to show the Filipino culture, according to Rey Tolentino, executive vice president of Filipino Centre Toronto, the main sponsor.

 

More on the PIWC in Illinois

 

M eanwhile, one Eddie AAA Calderon of Minnesota told one of the Philippine Independence Committee Week organizers, Nestor Galimba, that the PIWC should not forget to pay tribute and give respect to the “founder and father of the June 12 Philippine Independence in Professor Gabriel Fabella,” his professor at History 109, Philippine Nationalism, at the University of the Philippines.

 

Calderon said, “We owe our June 12 celebration to this man. It was in 1959 when I took the course at the UP and we even created the Philippine Nationalism Club at the UP in order to support Prof. Fabella's advocacy of this day as our independence day. Again we even wrote our members of Congress for this.”

 

Mr. Galimba also said that at the PIWC dinner ball at Hyatt Hotel O’Hare at Rosemont, Illinois, Illinois State Senator Dan Rutherford told the expected 800 participants in his speech that it was the late President John F. Kennedy, who recognized the June 12 date instead of the American July 4th, as the Philippine Independence Day.

 

Some listeners, however, expressed reservation over Senator Rutherford’s claim because President Diosdado Macapagal signed into law in 1964 Republic Act No. 4166, moving the Philippine Independence celebration from July 4 (1946) to June 12 (1898).

 

President Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963.

 

Rutherford is a frequent tourist to the Philippines as a scuba diver. He is proposing for the reduction of backlog of visa availability for Filipinos, China and India, who have to wait 18 to 22 years before their family petitions become current.

 

Queens, New York, Celebration

 

M eanwhile, in Queens, New York, Philippine Forum (PF) co-sponsored the 5th annual Philippine Independence Day celebration at Queens Borough Hall on June 8. The event was held in cooperation with the office of Queens Borough President (QBP) Helen Marshall, The Foundation for Filipino Artists, Inc. (FFA), and Filipino American Human Services, Inc. (FAHSI).  The PF is a non-profit organization that “make Filipinos aware of their roots, rights and responsibilities,” promoting social, economic and political rights and providing community services to Filipinos and the larger immigrant community in the borough of Queens, New York City.

 

According to Maricris Julie Taeza, the celebration featured Filipino formal wears such as malong, sarong, barong Tagalog and kimona, food (merienda or light meal), cultural dances, songs and martial arts.

 

Queens Borough President Marshall also awarded Citations of Honor to Philippine Forum’s very own Professor Rossano Fabunan for promoting community service; Emma Ruth de Guzman for contributing to the Philippine arts, and Dr. Kevin Leo Nadal for excelling in the medical field. The Asian American Federation was also presented with a Declaration of Honor for advancing the Asian American well being in New York. Julia Camagong is the co-executive director of Philippine Forum.

 

Editor’s Notes: To contact the author, please e-mail him at:  (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

 



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