Filipinos mark Independence Day in LA’s historic FilipinotownBy Alex Drechsler
INQUIRER.net US Bureau
LOS ANGELES—The Filipino community’s Philippine Independence Day celebration began early on June 8 in the Historic Filipinotown in this city, the festivities commencing with a parade that spanned several blocks.
Dinagyang dancers and drummers led the parade comprising dozens of Filipino companies and groups who were all proudly celebrating their rich cultural heritage.
“The celebration signifies the unity of the Filipino people while truly celebrating the freedom that we are all blessed with,” festival-goer Jun Macaraig said. “I thank God for the freedom because in turn it has become a blessing to many people.”
Once the parade ended the crowd gathered in the festival area, booths featured businesses such as media groups, restaurants, realtors, healthcare facilities and more.
In the center was the main stage for various entertainment acts. These performances showcased Filipino talent at its best. Contemporary and folk dances and singers entertained the crowd, which was having a good time.
Abe Pagtama said, “Independence Day is just remembering that we can finally make decisions for ourselves, and we are not being dictated by foreigners.”
“I think the parade was a great way to celebrate and revive our roots because we had the chance to meet many people who share our culture” said Melissa Gasia. “We also were able to feel that we are part of a bigger community,”.
For Rowena Dionisio “the fight for our freedom was quite a big accomplishment as both loyal men and women fought for our independence, just like the Americans when they won their independence from the British—no country or group of people would want to be ruled by any outsiders.”
While the crowd was predominantly Filipino and Fil-Ams, a significant number of other ethnicities came to the celebration, proof of the growing impact that the Filipino presence in Los Angeles.