The Council of Philippine American Organizations (COPAO) of San Diego County organized the Philippine Faire 2013 Festival of Festivals last March 16, 2013 from 10:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m. at Robert Egger Sr. South Bay Recreation Center, San Diego. This event upholds the belief of “Celebrating the Spirit of Bayanihan.” Bayanihan means a cooperative endeavor of working together. Literally, community members move or lift a house together to a new location. This time, it was not moving a house, but moving Filipinos to strengthen their culture and identity here in United States.
This time, this was a “bayanihan” of community members who made this event a success. The Youth Taekwondo by International Black Belt Healing Arts Academy and Filipino Martial Arts show their prowess in physically fit routines. Also, the Samahan Filipino American Performing Arts and PASACAT Philippine Performing Arts Company performed different Filipino cultural dances. In addition, Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble serenaded the crowd with their unique and beautiful Muslim music. There were also variety shows towards the end of the day provided by Hollywood Music and Patricia Javier & Friends.
Most importantly, it is also a “bayanihan” for different schools to showcase different festivals in the Philippines. This was spearheaded by the Council for Teaching Filipino Language and Culture (CTFLC). Ms. Mary Rose Peralta, CTFLC President, proudly introduced the different participating schools consisting of over 800 high school students from Sweetwater Union and San Diego Unified School Districts.
Ati-atihan – Rancho Del Rey Middle School
Teacher – Jeanette Fiorica
This festival is celebrated in the month of January 16-22 in Kalibo, Aklan. It is a celebration in honor of the Sto. Niño. Parade participants wear colorful costumes and paint their bodies with black soot in order to look like the aborigines called Negritos. They dance to the distinctive beat of “Hala Bira!”
Sinulog Festival – Bell Junior High School
Teacher – Jacquilin Magat-Lapid
This is celebrated every third weekend of January in Cebu City, Cebu. The Cebuanos celebrate this with a procession and street dancing competition. Just like Ati-atihan, the participants of this parade dance to the chant of “Pit Senor!”
Caracol Festival – Morse High School
Teacher – Gloria Guilas
Caracol Festival started in 1986 to promote the importance of preserving and conserving the Earth’s natural resources. This festival is celebrated every third Sunday of January in Makati City. It starts with a parade along the main streets of Makati participated by city officials, barangay organizations, and students from different schools who are dressed in animals, plants, or sea creatures. Other activities such as street dancing and performances related to environmental issues are also featured.
Panagbenga – Olympian High School
Teacher – Grace Almazar
This is celebrated during the month of February in Baguio City. This is also known as the Baguio Flower Festival. Panagbenga is well-known for its floral floats, street dancing, and band competitions. This festival shows gratitude for the abundant harvest of the region.
Flores de Mayo – Southwest High School
Teacher – Romando Reyes
Filipinos celebrate this in the month of May in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary in different regions in the Philippines. Usually, little children sing songs glorifying the Blessed Virgin Mary and offer flowers before the image of Mary.
Santacruzan – Eastlake High School
Teacher – Corazon Simpson
This festival is celebrated nationwide throughout the month of May or particularly the last weekend of May. This is preceded by a nine-day novena in honor of the Holy Cross. On the ninth day, a procession called Santacruzan is held. Reina Elena, with her escort King Constantine, her son, heads the procession. Under the beautiful arches of flowers, the “sagalas” who are from biblical characters, follow the king and queen.
Pahiyas sa Quezon – Challenger Middle School
Teacher – Myrna Ablana
Sariaya, Lukban and Tayabas, Quezon Province is the home of Pahiyas. Houses are decorated with harvested vegetables and “kiping,” which is a multi-colored paper thin, leaf-shaped rice “kropeck.” Pahiyas honors the saint of the farmers, San Isidro Labrador.
Obando Fertility Rites – Sweetwater High School
Teachers – Blancaflor Villanueva and Rey Idos
During May 17-19, devotees, grateful parents, farmers, and fishermen dance and pray along the streets of San Pascual, Baylon, Sta. Clara, and Nuestra Señora de Salambao. They do this “panata”, which is a vow or promise, in order to give thanks for good harvest. Also, childless couples dance to ask for a child.
Pintados Festival – Montgomery High School
Teacher – Salvacion De Vera
This festival is celebrated every 29th of June in Tacloban City, Visayas region. Leyteños who participate in the parade cover their body with colorful and symbolic tattoos, which signify courage and status in the community.
Kadayawan Festival – Otay Ranch High School
Teacher – Rizalyn Cruz
On the third week of August, Davao City awakens from the revelry of Kadayawan Festival. People of Davao show their gratitude for the bountiful harvest of fruits and orchids during this season. Spectators enjoy different activities such as the trade fair, tribal/civic/military parade, horse fights, and importantly flower and fruit display.
Feast of Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia – Morse High School
Teacher – Julita Biares
Naga City, Camarines Sur honors Our Lady of Peñafrancia every third Saturday of August. This holy event is highlighted by the fluvial procession of the Lady of Peñafrancia’s image down the Bicol River.
Bayanihan – Mar Vista High School
Teacher – Marilin Escalante
Bayanihan is an honored tradition of Filipinos. This literally means moving or lifting a house to a new location. A group of community members, usually headed by the Barangay Captain, work together to lift a house. Afterwards, the hosts prepare food to show their gratitude to the volunteers.
The day’s successful gathering and vibrant performances*, as reflected in the colorful festivals, truly showcased and celebrated the rich Filipino cultural traditions.