Filipino Community Comes Together to Celebrate Independence Week in Singapore
Posted on Monday, 16 July 2012
The Philippine Embassy in Singapore led the Filipino community in Singapore in celebrating the 114th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence with a week-long extravaganza showcasing Filipino cuisine, music, dance, fashion and crafts, and Philippine destinations.
On June 11, Conrad Centennial Singapore launched Savour Philippines, a food festival at their award-winning restaurant Oscar’s featuring classic and modern interpretations of Filipino dishes by M Café’s chef Kalel Chan. The festival commenced with a fashion show, in which volunteer models from the community donned colourful Filipiniana attire created by Filipino designer Cora Manimbo. The show was livened up by dance numbers by Kultura Performing Arts, including lively renditions of Jota de Manila and tinikling. An exhibit of photos of Philippine scenery captured by members of Pinoygraphers@SG rounded off the evening’s festivities.
A flag-raising ceremony attended by Embassy officers and staff and representatives of the Filipino community touched off the commemorative events on June 12. Ambassador Minda Calaguian-Cruz delivered the President’s message to the Filipino community, followed by Minister Alan Deniega, who read out Secretary Albert Del Rosario’s message, and Commercial Counsellor Glenn Peñaranda and Labor Attaché Vicente Cabe, who respectively imparted the messages of the Trade and Labor Secretaries to the assembly. A simple but sumptuous salu-salo followed featuring traditional Filipino breakfast fare.
Later in the evening, the Embassy hosted a reception at Mandarin Orchard, which was attended by 400 guests from the host government and the diplomatic, business, cultural and academic communities in Singapore. Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan graced the occasion as the guest-of-honor, accompanied by Ministers of Parliament Zaqy Mohamed and Ellen Lee. They were serenaded by PsalmiDeo Chorale, a choir composed of Filipino professionals working in Singapore, and Sari-Sari Philippine Kulintang Ensemble, while Kultura Performing Arts drew loud applause with their singkil performance. The lavish buffet included well-loved Filipino dishes such as palabok, adobo and ukoy, but the highlight remained the lechon that was flown in all the way from Manila, together with homegrown flavors of Magnolia ice cream and a multi-layered Goldilocks cake emblazoned with the country’s latest tourism tagline, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.”
A display of Filipino products welcomed the guests at the foyer area, including food items such as mango rhum and fruit wines, Mama Sita’s sauces and mixes, Oishi snack food items, and dried mangoes and pineapples from 7D and Fruit Gems. There were also cutting-edge furniture by Kenneth Cobonpue, beautiful artworks by Filipino artists from Tam-awan Village in Baguio and Pusod in Cebu brought in by Singapore-based social enterprise HEarts Aflame, and native handicrafts curated by Ms Digna Ryan of Spirit of Asia.
On June 14, Ambassador Cruz opened the Philippine Country Fair at the Tropics Atrium of Suntec City Mall. Several Filipino companies put up pavilions at the fair, which focused on Northern Luzon. Ms Purificacion Molintas, Director of DOT-Cordillera Autonomous Region flew in together with Clark International Airport Corp Director Jose Ma. Fernandez and Clark Development Corp Tourism Promotions Office Manager Noemi Garcia, to promote their destinations.
The festivities at Suntec continued with the Philippine Independence Day Celebration on June 16 to 17, highlighted by the “Iba Ka Pinoy” Power Talks, wherein outstanding Filipinos in Singapore delivered inspirational presentations to their kababayans. The speakers include Ms Jonah De Lumen-Pernia, Regional Manager of Coca-Cola and Gawad Kalinga supporter; Mr Michael Del Prado, Company Group Chairman of Johnson & Johnson Medical Device and Diagnostics companies in the Asia-Pacific; Ms Roxanne Aquino Balfour, founder of Effective Brands, a global marketing consultancy covering Asia; and Ms Pamela Wildheart, a well-known media personality in Singapore.
The celebrations culminated on June 17, with a full-day program featuring a roster of Filipino performing artists from the Philippines and Singapore, top-billed by showbiz personalities such as Sian Lim, Lovi Poe, Dennis Trillo and the Juan dela Cruz Band led by Mark Hanopol.
“Our Independence Week celebration was a wonderful testimony of the Filipinos love for fun, and of course, our love of our country,” Ambassador Cruz said at the conclusion of the celebrations. “I would like to thank everyone who stepped forward to make all this possible. I hope that we can continue to exercise the same bayanihan spirit year-round with the shared goal of uplifting our nation.”