Once again, the Filipino community comes together and celebrates its Philippine Independence Day which happens every June. And for four years in a row, Christchurch City Libraries has been collaborating with various Filipino groups in Christchurch in delivering these successful events. Not even the pandemic could stop us from reaching out to the community and celebrating this significant occasion. It was slightly different from what we used to do but there was still a celebration nonetheless. In the middle of the 2020 lockdown, five Filipinos were interviewed to find out what the Philippine Independence means to them. Read more about their stories on Canterbury Stories.
You can visit participating libraries and create some Filipino craft
This year marks the 124th year since the country gained its independence from Spain and for this year's celebration at Tūranga on Saturday 11 June 1pm to 3pm, we are collaborating with two Filipino community groups: Musika Filipinas Aotearoa and Philippine Culture Migrant Services.
Musika Filipinas Aotearoa, which literally translates to Music, Philippines and New Zealand, is an all-Filipino community-based choir in Christchurch and was founded in May 2021 by Kristian Rubi, a Filipino nurse who was a theatre actor/director in Cebu, Philippines. The inspiration to form a group came when Kristian saw the gap in the community for Filipinos who love singing and theatre. As a member of a choir, Vocal Collective, he got inspired to create an all-Filipino choir that is community-based and be with people who share his passion for singing and theatre.
The group meets every week for choir rehearsal and social activities and so far have performed in different events such as the Philippine Independence Day at Tūranga last year and at few community gatherings organised by Anne Galloway, City Councillor of Halswell Ward. They also hosted a trivia night to commemorate Philippine Language Month and spread Christmas cheer to people in Christchurch through singing Filipino carols. They have indeed been very busy since the group's formation and we are lucky that they will grace our celebration of Philippine Independence Day at Tūranga. Their repertoire will include favourite Filipino songs such as Ako ay Pilipino, Bituing Walang Ningning, Isang Mundo, Isang Awit and a medley of well-loved Filipino dance songs.
The other group that will join us is no stranger to us. The Philippine Culture and Migrant Services (PCMS), who have been supporting the library in the celebration of Philippine Independence Day for four years. Delia Richards - fondly called Tita Del - started the group in 1996 to connect with other Filipinos in Christchurch. Since then PCMS has organised multiple Philippine events where they showcase Filipino food, costume, music, dance, traditions and our way of life.
Over the years, they have joined different multicultural events in the city which promote the Filipino culture not only to Kiwis but also to other ethnic communities.
Part of their yearly activities is the celebration of the Philippine Independence Day, and their aim "is to project that the Filipino people, as movers of our history, have progressed forward after gaining its independence from the Spaniards.” Read more of Tita Del's interview about the Philippine Independence Day on Canterbury Stories.
PCMS will perform various Filipino traditional dances and songs such as Itik-itik, a traditional dance that mimics the movements of a duck; Harana, a serenade; Habanera Jovencita, a Filipino dance with Spanish influence where the dancers' arms were typically extended while their hands moves delicately; Muslim Dance and last but not the least, a Parade of Traditional Philippine Costume.
This year's celebration is shorter but still packed with truly Filipino culture where audience can truly enjoy themselves.
As a teaser, let's watch Musika Filipinas Aotearoa video: