“If you’re not in the parade, you watch the parade. That’s life.” –Mike Ditka
There will be two Ilonggo festivals joining this year’s 120th Philippine Independence Day Parade along Madison Avenue in New York City on June 3.
For the first time in parade history, the Manggahan Festival of Guimaras and the Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo City will join the colorful parade, hosted by the biggest city on the United States east coast.
The Manggahan Festival will be represented by Hubon Manguguma and Dinagyang Festival will be represented by 2018 champion Tribu Panayanon of the Iloilo City National High School, both of whom will help create awareness of Filipino culture and raise funds for charity projects in the Philippines and the United States.
They are all expected to arrive at the JFK International Airport on May 31.
Their trip will be part of the Iloilo City trade mission, which is sponsored by the Philippine Council of Management (Philcoman), in partnership with the Asian American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) and the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce Washington DC (PACC-DC), as confirmed by journalist Herbert Vego, who is joining the entourage.
They will also perform in Washington, DC, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
“I found out that, while the PIDCI (the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc.) has indeed invited the city government for the June 3 affair, the sponsor [for] the US tour is the Philippine Research Institute, in cooperation with the Asian American Chamber of Commerce (Virginia) and the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce (Washington DC),” Vego said. “There will be activities sa NYC from June 1, upon arrival, until June 4:00 p.m., all aimed at promoting Iloilo to American and Filipino investors.”
“I hope maka-attend ka,” he added. “Mayor Espinosa will surely be around, kasama si misis.”
Their participation in this year’s parade, which is expected to attract over 100,000 people, was made possible through past PIDCI President Joji Juele-Jalandoni, who watched the Dinagyang Festival’s farewell performance from the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand in Iloilo City in January 2018, together with Ilonggo factotum and media liaison Jay Balnig.
New Jersey-based Ilonggo community leader Boy Dizon said the Ilonggo community in New York City and New Jersey will hold a “Dinagyang and Manggahan sa NYC” Fundraising Dinner on June 1 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
“We need to unite and help them because they are [on] the forefront [of] helping promote our culture, tourism, and pride as Ilonggos,” Dizon said.
Iloilo City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia, Iloilo Provincial Tourism Officer Bombette Golez Marin, and Guimaras Provincial Tourism Officer Liberty Ferrer will accompany the two festival tribes in a trade mission, spearheaded by the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation, led by Ramon Cua Locsin; Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III and wife Gina Sarabia-Espinosa; and several Guimaras provincial officials.
The US Philippine Independence Day celebration includes the states under jurisdiction of the Philippine Consulate General in New York, namely, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Other areas can be invited to participate in PIDC activities by the overall chairperson, depending on the theme each year, according to former New York Philippine Consul General Mario Lopez de Leon, Jr.
Guests in this year’s parade will be hosted by Consul General Ma. Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega at the consulate, located along Fifth Avenue.
Traditionally held along Madison Avenue, from 37th to 25th Streets in Manhattan, the climax of the preparation, the parade, street fair, and cultural show, held on the first Sunday in June each year, is the biggest celebration of Philippine independence outside the Philippines.
The street fair and cultural show take place on the east side of Madison Square Park.
Iloilo City Local Economic Enterprise Office chief Ariel Castañeda, meanwhile, called on all West Visayas State University (WVSU) alumni in New York City, Virginia, Washington DC and nearby locales to join the Iloilo City trade mission team and Dinagyang tribe in the parade./WDJ