By Abner Galino
REIGNING beauty queens and candidates headlined the Kalayaan parade in the historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles as Filipino Americans celebrate the 120th Philippine Independence Day all over Southern California.
As billed, this year’s Filipinotown parade has eclipsed similar parades of the previous years.
This year’s independence celebration is anchored on the theme: Pagbabagong ipinaglaban alay sa masaganang bukas. (which could be roughly translated as “Changes fought for are sacrifices for a prosperous future.”)
Some 32 organizations participated in the 10-mile parade organized by the Historic Filipinotown Independence (KALAYAAN) Day Organizing Committee, Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA), the organization that operates the Filipino Cultural Center (FCC) and the Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council.
Because of the big number of participants, the organizers extended the parade route by a couple of miles.
The marchers converged in front of the Filipino Cultural Center at 1740 West Temple Street and at the Silver Lake Medical Center (SLMC) at 1711 West Temple St., Los Angeles, CA, 90026.
The parade featured the FCC/FACLA beauty queens Elizabeth Zaide (Mrs. FCC/FACLA), Pamela Saguinsin (Miss FCC/FACLA), Renoa Felix (Miss Teen FCC/FACLA) and FCC Little Princess Jerrika Chow. The Miss Filipina International (formerly Binibining Pilipinas USA) also sent its entire 2018 candidates.
A marching band from Virgil Middle School Band was among the main features of the parade.
Later in the night, the Philippine Independence Day Coordinating Council of Southern California held a dinner gala at the LAX Hilton Hotel.
No other than the newly installed Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III graced the occasion as its guest of honor.
As you were reading this, an all-day festival in the City of Carson is ongoing at the Veterans Park at 22400 Moneta Avenue.
Known for featuring Filipino entertainment stars, Filipino American talents, cultural performers and artists, the festival has been providing a venue for food and souvenir booths for spectators.
This year’s guests are Sam Milby, singer Jona, Fil-Am social media phenomenon Jessica Lesaca, Fil-Am singers Rocky Sandoval and Jeserey, American Idol Season 10 and X Factor Season 3 Finalist Jules Aurora, Leanne Tessa, singer and comedian Joseph Gelito, Jo Awayan, legendary folk singer Florante and Geneva Cruz.
The City of Carson is home to the largest concentration of Filipinos outside of the Philippines.
By nighttime today (Saturday, June 9, 2018), the Kalayaan Incorporated of Southern California will also be holding another dinner gala at the Hilton Universal City in Hollywood.
Like it has been the previous years, the dinner gala will be attended by large and prestigious Filipino American organizations.
As this developed, the Philippine Consul General Adelio S. Cruz called on fellow Filipinos to “look to the future, to the work that lies ahead and the contributions everyone should make to build a safe, peaceful and prosperous Philippines.”
In a message posted at the Philippine Consulate’s website, Cruz said the Philippine diplomatic contingent is fortunate to have many Filipinos “who take part in our collective nation-building efforts.”