Mario Garcia sings “No Me Casare” at Philippine Day, March 21, 2010, at the Landmark Center, St. Paul, Minnesota.
By TOM LAVENTURE
AAP staff writer
ST. PAUL (March 21, 2010) – The Philippine community of Minnesota held its Philippine Day celebration last Sunday at the Landmark Center.
The annual event is organized by the Cultural Society of Filipino Americans in collaboration with several other Filipino organizations including Filipina American Women’s Network, Filipiniana, Filipino Christian Church, Filipino American National News (KFAI), Fil-Minnesotans Association, Filipino Minnesota Youth Organization, Messengers of Divine Mercy, Paiawan Orphanage Project, Philippine Nurses Association, Philippine Scholars, Philippine Study Group of Minnesota.
Linda Davis, CSFA Charitable Committee and event chair, presented a $2,000 check to American Red Cross representative Hilary Smith. They donate funds regularly for Philippine disaster relief, according to Davis, along with funds for Red Cross general fund and other special crisis efforts.
The money is raised from CSFA fundraising. Among the creative ideas includes a caroling committee with members and volunteers showing up at homes and businesses during the holiday season to sing for donations.
Davis went on to explain where thousands of CSFA dollars were used over the past year to fund cultural events, the development of the Philippine Center, scholarships and other projects including a medical mission in the Philippines by the Philippine-Minnesota Medical Association.
Bernard Quebral, M.D., president, PMMA, said the doctors and nurses went to rural areas of the southern Philippines this past summer, where they performed medical services for thousands of people who have suffered for sometimes months and years with various ailments.
The Philippine Nurses Association of America, conducted a health information and blood pressure screening. Sarah Puerto, RN, chapter president, said the nurses are present at several annual cultural events to do the screenings and outreach for health issues of concern to the community.
Jo Tigue, supervisor of the food venders for Philippine Day, had a big checklist of things to before the event started, with the city inspector visiting and ensuring all was in place. She said there were eight venders this year, including K-Wok, and the new Philippine style restaurant Subo, owned by Geoffrey King. CSFA had their regular booth and FAWN had a dessert booth.
She said the venders this year handled their own fees and made a small one to CFSA, which took a lot of red tape away from the organizers.
Tigue said she enjoys the Philippine Day venders because they prepare items that are time consuming and difficult to make at home. Her particular favorite is Relyenong Bangus, a fish that is gutted, boned, seasoned and the meat placed back under the skin with spices and vegetables. It is prepared by Lily Lacap for the event.
A first time activity for 2010 was the Pinoy Shots: CSFA Photo Contest. This first year theme of “The Smile of the Filipino” drew more than 30 submissions, with everything from children to the elderly, and people in pageants to having fun in the yard.
Three judges from outside the CSFA went over the photos to gauge relevance to the theme, composition, creativity, exposure, focus, and a few other things. The winners were announced by Ligaya Carlos, CSFA President for 2009-10, in the mid afternoon.
“The top three images were from different contestants, so that made awarding the prizes simple,” said Tony Sanchez, CSFA Photo Contest Committee. “We also had 6 Honorable Mentions.”
The event continues its goal of spanning generations with elders and youth alike performing their respective popular music and dance – traditional or popular with a Filipino twist.
The CSFA Dance Troupe under artistic director Gary Paz continue to set the traditional foundation for the event with costumes, props and breathtaking dances.
The Philippine Scholars group had a display of their projects including a serious human rights crisis in the Philippines, as extra-judicial killings continue including with local officials using “private armies” to kill media and opposition leaders, and even their families.
Paul Bloom and Meg Layese Bloom said the group is working with local and national leaders to pressure the Philippine government to do more to end this crisis that they feel is being ignored in the interest of U.S. and Philippine relations and money to fight terrorism.
Youth groups present included high school students raising funds to build homes in the Philippines this summer. They sold “Threads of Hope” to tie on the wrist of guests to raise funds to travel. For more information call Sweet Dico at 952-393-2015.
Roberto Atienza, co-Pastor of the Filipino American Christian Church in Coon Rapids (filamchurchmn.org)
The church youth group, Munting Tinig, also performed “We Are The World” (May Bukas Pa) and other dances.
Justine Arianne and Jea Arielle Espino, Gian Paz and Jose Santos performed the song “To Love You More.”
The GK-Ygat Dancers, Andrea Arambulo, Kwasi Asamoah, Katrina Bong, Melissa Brown, Gabrielle Dabu, Sweet Dico, Jessie Foline, Ria Foslien, Kim Giang, Francis Hebres, Anissa Lapitz, Jeannie Malinao, Jhun and Joel Mangaliman, Ralph Santiago, and Bethani Talala performed.
Dancers, Elisabeth and Mary Rose Bisbal, Choloe Cruz, Laurice Lamberte and Nesteene Param performed “Tropic Mix.”
Dancers, Jackilou Larazi, Dolly Sim, Kimberly and Samantha Yamusak performed “Dream Girls.” Other dancers include Kayzee Marcos and Elaiza Bungue. Other singers included Josh Dumalag, Jennifer Mirabueno and Melianne Lantion Grandllund.
The Filipino Martial Arts school of Federico Malibago and Mark Basel also gave a demonstration.
Since the CSFA (www.csfamn.org) formed in 1992, the organization has produced this event along with the annual picnic, the Filipino American Directory and a community Cookbook.
There were many venders including “Susel’s Natual”, a nutritional and natural products online company at suselsnatural.com just started business a few days prior to the event. ρ