SERVING THE FILIPINO COMMUNITY SINCE 1993
MAY 4, 2019

COVER STORY

COVER STORY

FilCom Center Presents its 27th Annual Filipino Fiesta and 7th Flores De Mayo

 

By Edwin QUINABO

Get ready for a day of sunshine, smiles and culture. Spring is the season known for bounteous fiestas in the Philippines; and Hawaii’s Filipino community has carried over this jubilant tradition for all to enjoy locally.

The FilCom Center is presenting its 27th Annual Filipino Fiesta and 7th Flores De Mayo, the largest Filipino event in the state each year, and one of the largest Filipino fiestas in the U.S.

This year’s Fiesta will be held on May 4, Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Kaka’ako Gateway Parks. It’s the second year for the Fiesta to be held at its new location in Kaka’ako Gateway Parks..

Keeping with its popular format that draws over 10,000 attendees, the Fiesta once again will have authentic Filipino food, riveting ethnic and multi-genre entertainment, cultural booths showcasing indigenous crafts, art, and history, business vendors, children’s games, non-profit advocacy, and a community health fair.

There will also be a drawing to win round-trip tickets to Manila, Philippines, courtesy of Philippine Airlines; and a drawing to win round-trip tickets to Las Vegas, Nevada, courtesy of Everlasting Travels.

Oahu Filipino Community Council (OFCC) is one of over 100 Filipino community organizations and businesses involved in the event. OFCC President Ray Sebastian said, “as the biggest gathering of Filipinos in Hawaii, the Filipino Fiesta is a relevant fixture in the calendar of significant events in the state because it is the one time that all that is good about Filipinos is showcased in one venue within a day. From food and folks, talents and trinkets, music and dance – the Filipino Fiesta is our statement of how important the Filipinos are in Hawaii.”

Sebastian moved to Hawaii in December 2014 and has gone to every Fiesta since then, with one exception in 2017. He invites the public to visit OFCC and other cultural booths of various organization.

Learn about the Filipino martial arts escrima from Bandalan Doce Pares Hawaii.

Visit the Timpuyog Organization to learn about the Ilokano language and culture.

Dean Domingo, Instructor in the Ilokano Language & Literature Program at UH-Manoa, said Timpuyog is a student organization affiliated with the Ilokano program that participates in the Fiesta every year to promote the Ilokano language and culture.

“This year we plan to have various activities under the Ilocos Region tent. Attendees can learn about Timpuyog and the Ilokano Program; pinpoint their hometown on an Ilocos map; learn about the region: like what major crops grow in the region, notable people that come from the region; play a planting rice game; and take photos in our photo booth,” said Domingo.

Another fixture at the annual Fiesta is the Filipino-American Historical Society of Hawaii (FAHSOH). Deanna Espinas, FAHSOH Secretary, said, “We are presenting our exhibits and displaying books at the Fiesta to share with the community our Filipino heritage and to promote appreciation of the Filipino American experience.”

CULTURAL BOOTHS. Bandalan Doce Pares Hawaii, UPAAH, BIBAK Hawaii, Filipino-American Historical Society of Hawaii, Timpuyog Org-UH Manoa Ilokano Program, Cebuano Association of Hawaii, Inc., Alpha Phi Omega Alumni Association of Hawaii, Dabawenyos Community Foundation, and Balaan Catalina Society, Inc.

Cherry Vic Reganit, a business owner from Waipahu, has gone to multiple fiestas and even had a booth selling products from the Philippines like parols (Christmas lanterns), ornaments, and displayed Filipino clothing like ternos and barong tagalogs.

She said, “we have to celebrate with a Filipino Fiesta for our children, for them to see and learn about their culture and heritage. The Fiesta has it all, our ethnic food, songs, dances and art.”

Reganit says she goes to the Fiesta for all the Filipino food. “Vendors there have some authentic Filipino food that are not regularly served at Filipino restaurants.”

Past Fiesta favorites bound to make a comeback are lumpia, pancit, lechon, pork guisantes, pork adobo, barbecue pork, and various desserts from halo-halo (shaved ice, sweet beans, fruit, and ube ice cream) to bibingka and cassava cake.

Culinary historians describe Filipino food as a mix of indigenous, Spanish, and Chinese influences.

FOOD VENDORS. Some of this year’s food vendors are San Nicolas Chicharon & Sausage, Ramar Foods International, Dick’s Lechon Corp. and Cools in Catering by Sinublan. Concession vendors are Island’s Finest Shave Ice and Island Brew, LLC.

Chef Reynaldo Ramiro of Cools in Catering by Sinublan, or better known as Sinublan, says it will be the first time for his company to be a food vendor at the Fiesta. He has prepared a special menu for the event to include: igado, dinaraan, chicken afritada, beef caldereta, adobo, pinakbet, sautéed mungo beans, shanghai lumpia, laing, bicol express, and a few others.

Cools in Catering by Sinublan is an exclusive caterer for the FilCom Center, Inc., Mililani Memorial Park & Mortuary, and does off-site catering for special events.

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