B.C. residents who trace their heritage to the Philippines will hold a major celebration in Metrotown later this month. The Burnaby Filipino Cultural Society, the Pinoy Festival Alliance, and the Mabuhay House Society are working with several other organizations in the community to stage Pinoy Festival: Panahon na para Magsaya.
It will take place in Burnaby Civic Square (6100 Willingdon Avenue) from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on June 24.
“Along with our culture, our festival will also highlight our many Filipino organizations who work hard to build community and connections amongst each other and with all British Columbians,” Burnaby Filipino Cultural Society president Ianne Penala said in a news release.
“They represent groups based on their provinces or regions in the Philippines, alumni organizations, sports leagues, cooperatives, seniors, youth, students, religious formations and advocacy-oriented organizations,” he continued. “For one day, a snapshot of our community will be represented at the Pinoy Festival and we invite everyone to come and join us!”
The family-friendly event will include cultural performances, dances, live bands, a community market, and Filipino food and food trucks. One of the prime attractions will be the Red Filos. It’s a youth troupe that injects a hip-hop twist into traditional Filipino tinikling dance.
“It will be a showcase of Filipino culture and pride,” Mabuhay House Society co-chair Sammie Jo Rumbaua said. “And it’s an opportunity for our community to come together and strengthen our efforts to achieve our long-standing dream of a Filipino cultural centre. Through the Pinoy Festival, we are building our unity. We are building our home.”
City of Burnaby proclaims Filipino Heritage Month
The festival is one of several events around Metro Vancouver in connection with Filipino Heritage Month. The Pinoy Indie Film Festival will offer in-theatre screenings in New Westminster on June 24 and 25.
Meanwhile, on June 5, the City of Burnaby issued a proclamation announcing Filipino Heritage Month. The declaration highlighted the upcoming 125th anniversary of independence in the Philippines.
The Burnaby proclamation was read in the council chamber by Coun. Maita Santiago. Last October. She became the first immigrant from the Philippines to be elected in the city.
“It’s important that as a city we take steps to acknowledge, recognize and celebrate the many cultural communities, like the Filipino community, that contribute so much into making Burnaby a fantastic place to live, work, play and study in,” Santiago said.
She also pointed out that a Filipino heritage exhibit will remain on display at Burnaby City Hall until June 30.
True independence came after Second World War
On June 12, 1898, Filipino revolutionary Emilio Aguinaldo issued the decree shortly after his country’s colonizer, Spain, had lost the Spanish-American War.
As a result, Filipinos look upon June 12 as Philippines Independence Day because it marked liberation from Spain. Aguinaldo was president of the First Philippine Republic, but it didn’t last long.
The U.S. asserted authority and took him into custody in 1901. He then declared allegiance to America, which maintained control over the country for decades.
That changed during the Second World War. Ten hours after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, it invaded the Philippines. Japan occupied the Philippines until 1945 despite fierce resistance from a vibrant Philippine guerrilla movement.
In 1946, the Philippines achieved true independence following Japan’s defeat in the Second World War.
The following organizations will participate in the upcoming Pinoy Festival in Burnaby: United Filipino Canadian Associations in BC, Intercity Basketball League, Benguet Society of BC, Cebuano Society of BC-Canada, Circulo Pampangueno, SocCSKSarGen Community BC, Sinaitenians of BC, Grupo Ilocano Association of BC, Adamson Alumni Association-Vancouver, Zambales Association BC, Masskara Society of BC, One Filipino Cooperative of BC, FilCooperative One Housing Society, Tau Gamma Phi / Sigma BC Regional Council, Alpha Phi Omega Alumni Association of BC, New Westminster Philippine Festival Society, UP Alumni Association of BC, Diversity and Inclusion Support Group of BC, National Pilipino Canadian Cultural Centre NPC3, Filipino Students Association SFU-FSA, Sliced Mango Collective, Tulayan, Philippine Nurses Association of BC, BIBAK-BC, Aklanon Sto. Nino Association, INARTE Society, Golden Gift from the Heart, Filipino Canadian Cultural Heritage Society BC, PhilCAS of BC, Pinoy Pride Vancouver, Seniors Brigade Society of BC, and Knights of Columbus of BC & Yukon.