Through the Rain, There is Joy!

A mix of sun and clouds greeted visitors on Saturday, July 27, 2013 at Mississauga’s Celebration Square for the 3rd annual Fiesta ng Kalayaan, though this did not dampen the spirit of the revelers.

The crowd swelled in numbers as friends and families sat around enjoying food galore from their favourite Filipino food vendors or just checking out the ‘great deals’ offered at the other booths, TFC, Globe, Toyota, and PAL with their one day seat sale, among others. The festivities which commenced at 12 noon, was ushered in by a parade of participating organizations, followed by the beautiful rendition of the 100 Children’s Voices of both national anthems, Philippine and Canada; pride so felt in being both Filipino and Canadian. Dr. Solon Guzman, formally opened the celebration with a promise of fun-filled entertainment offered by both local talents and from the Philippines. Sen. Jun Enverga graced the occasion and presented the collaborating organizations a certificate of appreciation for their efforts in this Fiesta, a showcase of Philippine culture and heritage.

Voices opened the festivities - Rodel Meir’s 100 Children’s Voices, followed by the Kalayaan Choir led by Livvy Camcho, then the KCCC Children’s Choir, Emilio Zarris and Inah Canlapan – all giving their best to the enjoyment of the crowd. The rest of the afternoon portrayed Filipino culture through body movements; dance and fashion. Fiesta Filipina Dance Troupe performed dinagyang and singkil, native traditional folk dances. The fashion segment provided a visual display of Filipino fashion through its early years under colonization to its modern days of independence. It is also noteworthy that the emcees and the festival greeters were aptly elegant, donned in Philippine traditional attire. Though the Fiesta ng Kalayaan is done in the spirit of celebrating the Philippines and its culture, this year it welcomed other cultures to partake in the celebration through dance. The stage was filled with the island rhythmic movements of Hawaii and Tahiti, India’s ever popular Bollywood, and Egypt’s belly dancing captivated the ever growing number of spectators.

Throughout the day KCCC sold raffle tickets for a grand prize of $2,500, $1,000 and $500. At 7 PM , before the festival’s main attraction, the tickets were drawn and three lucky winners were announced.

As the evening approached, and as luck would have it, the weather cooperated with the hopes of the crowd, and took a break just in time for the star focused entertainment portion. This was the moment die-hard fans were patiently waiting for – the artistas to make their appearance. The first on stage was Filipino actor, model and singer, Paulo Avelino. There was an outcry of cheers and marriage proposals for the surprise addition to the roster of celebrity talent scheduled to appear. The heartthrob greeted the spectators exclaiming that he was glad to be included in the celebration. Much to the chagrin of the lovelorn ladies not chosen, Mr. Avelino used his charm to woo the lucky ones with of course the romantic scenes from his teleserye. The energy was building up a lot of heat, the women were screaming wildly but alas his time came to an end and he bid his fan girls adieu. Now it was time for the male spectators to swoon, the lovely Bea Alonzo presented herself to the viewers; the energy escalated. It was the fan boys turn to cheer and ask for the hand of a beautiful woman. Like Paulo, Bea too had a few lucky chosen ones to participate in her fun game of romance. Romantic themed games are run-of-the-mill crowd pleasers, they are light hearted and always manage to make everyone share a laugh and have a good time, always a memorable portion of the day’s events. It was fortunate that both male and female participants had an opportunity to feel special and adored by the visiting celebrities.

As the festivities began with music and singing so they must come to an end. Last but not least Florante was presented to the music lovers. Florante was a hit back in the day, hence the theme genre of music: Manila Sound. Florante took the headline; he preceded the other musical guests of the night. The musicians played the music of Manila Sound bringing listeners back to the upbeat pop rock music in the time of martial law. Our seasoned local talents, Josie de Leon, Ivy Joy Maniquiz, Chris Brown, Belle Veneracion, Rico Callao, backed by the Beyond Expression Band, joined in and wowed the audience, who stayed on to party, line dancing to the beat of the music, till closing time.

Fiesta ng Kalayaan of 2013, once again was a huge success. It was through the efforts and hard work of all the partners and volunteers involved, ably chaired by Resty del Rosario, that everyone enjoyed themselves till the last note. Such would not have been feasible without the funding from the City of Mississauga, Ontario Trillium Foundation, TFC, Globe, National Bank Financial, and all the other sponsors of the event. It is indeed heart warming how the crowd stayed on despite spurts of torrential rain through the afternoon, and that Fiesta goers still managed to find the joy of it all and proved it was worth braving the rain. That is the Filipino spirit at its best. Mabuhay!

Reference Arcticle : Frances Sevilla