(Mr. Kevin Garcia and Ms. Karina Mae Bacsain and in their Dinagyang and FIlipiniana attires )
Singapore, 16 February 2022 – Singapore-based Filipinos Karina Mae Bacsain, a preschool teacher, and Kelvin Justo Garcia, a hotelier, proudly represented the Philippines at the 50th Chingay celebrations (Chingay50), Singapore’s annual street parade held on 12 February 2022.
Ms. Bacsain donned a white, fully-embroidered and beaded mermaid-cut modern Filipiniana gown designed by Kenneth Omar Perez from the province of Batangas while Mr. Garcia wore the colorful tribal costume usually showcased in the Dinagyang Festival, a famous religious and cultural festival held every January in the central Philippine city of Iloilo.
Both Ms Bacsain and Mr. Garcia relished the rare opportunity to represent the Philippines in this year’s edition of Chingay50, alongside representatives from the other local expatriate communities such as those from India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
“Representing the Philippines is an opportunity to show the modern Filipina, someone who is confident to face adversities and challenges that may come,” according to Ms. Bacsain. The Dinagyang costume, according to Mr. Garcia, “best represents the festive culture of the Philippines and the happy outlook of all Filipinos.”
Key Filipino individuals who helped conceptualize and prepare Philippine participation in Chinngay50 were Nicole Tumolva, Errol Jave Villalobos, and Mr. Ton Garcia of the Filipino Association of Singapore (FAS).
Now in its 50th year, the Chingay celebration had a theme ‘Ignite Our Dreams’ in the hopes of engaging audiences with innovative presentations of the arts, culture and heritage and encouraging Singapore’s multitude of races to pursue their passions, unleash their potential, and fulfill their aspirations.
Due to public health measures in place, the event had a hybrid format with a limited in-person audience at the Jewel Changi that included Singapore President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Watch parties were set up at select community clubs all over the island.
In 2019, youth participants from LEYTeam of the Eastern Visayas region spearheaded the Philippine participation at the Chingay Parade by performing the traditional Filipino war dance called “Dance of the Pintados” as a tribute to Singapore for providing humanitarian assistance to the region affected by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. LEYTeam’s participation coincided with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations between the Philippines and Singapore.
The Chingay Parade started in 1973 to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Singapore. Since then, it has evolved into one of Asia’s largest annual street performances and float parades, a colorful epitome of the country’s multi-cultural society, which the Filipino diaspora is a part of. The word Chingay is equivalent to the Mandarin ‘zhuang yi’ (妆艺) which means ‘the art of costume and masquerade’ in the Hokkien dialect.
Those who have missed the Chingay50 webcast on 12 February may still watch it on local channels on 27 February 2022 at 7:00 PM and on 6 March 2022 at 1:00 PM.