The recently held Philippine Independence Day at Tūranga (24 June) was a vibrant celebration filled with fun, excitement, and a rich display of heritage and culture. The event beautifully highlighted the country's journey in reclaiming its sovereignty, as presented by Banyuhay Aotearoa and Migrante.
The event was graced by special guests, including Māia Abraham, Manager of Māori and Multicultural Services at Christchurch City Libraries, Tyla Harrison-Hunt, Councillor for Riccarton Ward and a dedicated advocate for Multicultural and Youth Portfolio, Marie Pollisco, Deputy Chair of Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board, along with Shreejana Chhetri. Their presence showed solidarity and support to the Filipino community in Christchurch.
Adding an element of excitement, Pinoy Cares and generous sponsors gave out prizes to lucky audience members who successfully answered trivia questions. Laughter and anticipation filled the air as participants eagerly wait and try their chance to win these special prizes.
The audience was treated to enchanting performances from various Filipino groups. Musika Filipinas Aotearoa beautifully rendered the song "Ako ay Pilipino" which is fitting for this year's theme "Filipino Heroes" and the livelier song "Chitchiritchit," while the TGMS Vocal Ensemble children captivated the audience with their renditions of "Paraiso" and "Better World." Piano notes played by Xurik Pagulayan, accompanied by violinist Benjamin Tagos, filled the air with heartfelt emotions as they performed the song "Ikaw at Ako." Additionally, Melissa Villa's played "Paru-parong Bukid" on the piano while notable Filipino heroes and individuals who brought honour to the country were featured on the background screen.
The stage came alive with the energetic performance of Ritmo Pilipino, who dazzled everyone with their vibrant costumes and danced to the tune of the lively "Pinta Flores."
The grand finale came when all the performers danced to the medley of Original Pilipino Music songs sung by Musika Filipinas Aoatearoa.
As the event drew to a close, the audience had the delightful opportunity to take souvenir photo, courtesy of YSA Photobooth. This added a personal touch and ensured that the commemoration of Philippine Independence Day would forever be etched in their hearts.
In conclusion, the event was a resounding success, symbolizing the collective spirit of Filipinos and serving as a testament to the significance of Philippine Independence Day. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!