The Filipino community in Doha held a grand celebration of the Philippine Independence Day 2023 Friday at Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel, showcasing the Philippines’ rich cultural heritage and underlining the strong bond shared by Filipinos residing in Qatar.
The festivity featured an impressive array of cultural performances, entertainment shows, exhibitions of different regions in the Philippines, pageant, culinary delights, awards night for Filipino achievers, and traditional games.
The one-of-a-kind celebration aimed at immersing attendees in the heart of Philippine culture and traditions, the programme of activities – also live streamed on social media platforms – was designed to captivate and engage both Filipinos and the wider community, fostering unity and instilling a sense of pride.
The day began with the “Almusal ng Bayan” (Community Breakfast), where attendees had the opportunity to savour a wide range of Filipino cuisine. This was followed by the “Parada ng Kalayaan” (Community Parade), a vibrant display of the Philippines’ diverse culture, as well as the different Filipino organisations in Qatar.
A captivating dance performance saw Philippine embassy officials led by ambassador Lillibeth V Pono participating, showcasing the talent and grace of Filipino dancers. Regional exhibits were also unveiled, allowing visitors to explore the distinct cultural traditions and customs from various regions of the Philippines.
Pono, whose speech was among the highlights of the celebration, underscored the importance of reflecting on the profound influence of the history of the Filipinos. It is molded by a remarkable past, marked by the relentless pursuit of freedom, fortified by unwavering faith, indomitable spirit, resilience, and deep patriotism displayed by the Filipino people throughout the ages.
“Likewise in our history, we remember how the Filipinos interacted with other cultures: Chinese, Malay, Spanish, Japanese, Americans, among other cultures. All these elements in our history have defined and influenced who we are right now and what we are right now, in our way of thinking and doing things, our personalities, our values, and relationships.
“Our history even influenced our songs and dances and food, most of all, our history has made us global Filipinos capable of adjusting and adapting to other cultures, that is why I am proud to say that we can call all of us present here today as global Filipinos."
In celebrating cultural history, nationhood, and freedom, Pono urged her compatriots to embrace an optimistic outlook and strive for a brighter future for all Filipinos. She stressed the significance of preserving “the treasures from our history and by upholding and safeguarding that freedom attained for us by our forefathers”.
She noted that Filipinos are confronted today with a new set of challenges that differ from the struggles faced by ancestors in their fight for freedom from colonizers.
“These are instead challenges that threaten the essence of Filipino identity and culture, as well as challenges that prevent us from working together as one people that would provide a comfortable life for all Filipinos.
“Mga kababayan (my compatriots), let us work together with our government to surmount these challenges so that all Filipinos will have equal access to opportunities like in the sectors of education, health, technology and the labor market”, Pono said, as she thanked the organisers, sponsors, and participants of the event.
The celebration continued in the afternoon and until evening, treating attendees to a variety of cultural presentations and demonstrations. The “Tagisan ng Sayaw ng Fiesta Filipinas” (Cultural Dance Demonstrations) presented the elegance of Filipino folk dances while the “Tagisan ng Bandang Pinoy (Battle of Filipino Bands) unleashed the energy and vitality of Filipino music. Aspiring singers had the chance to showcase their talent in the vocal solo contest known as “Tagisan ng Kundiman.”
One of the evening's highlights include the "Ginoo at Mutya ng Kalayaan 2023" pageant, where the Mr and Ms Philippine Independence Day 2023 were crowned. The pageant showcased stunning festival attire, vintage Barong Tagalog and Filipiniana outfits, and allowed the candidates to demonstrate their wit and charm through interviews and a question-and-answer session.
Related Story