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Filipinos from across the kingdom flocked to Adhari Park to celebrate their country’s 120th Independence Day with a tantalising talent show, tasty traditional bites and a plethora of prizes to be won.
The Kabayan Festival, which was organised by the Philippine Embassy in Bahrain in cooperation with the Western Union, the Filipino Community Group and Fuchsia Events & Management, featured a fun day for the entire family to enjoy full of entertainment, games and a market area consisting of Filipino food and other items for sale.
The celebration was inaugurated by a motorcade with ambassador Alfonso A Ver and his wife rolling into the venue waving their flag proudly alongside motorcycle enthusiasts, as well as event chairman Elpidio Quitevi and other members.
Ambassador Alfonso said: “The Kabayan Festival is the culmination of a month-long commemoration of Philippine Independence month. The different activities included socio-civic community events and that was highlighted by a flag-raising ceremony at the Philippine Embassy on June 12.
“Activities like these bring the Filipino community closer as they reflect on the sacrifices of their forefathers and now they are the new heroes that fight their own struggles every day towards the attainment of their goals for their families, themselves and the Philippines.”
Around 2,000 kabayans (which means fellow Filipinos) gathered at the brightly decorated venue. Free medical check-ups were provided by KIMS Bahrain Medical Centre and members of the Philippine Nursing Association, as well as snacks and drinks provided by parents from St Christopher’s School.
A huge hall was allocated to exclusively sell authentic cuisine as well as clothing and accessories. There were also booths providing real estate investment opportunities and government-related services such as an absentee voting registration desk.
As people shopped around, others gathered to watch a talent show boasting performances by dance crews, singers and bands showcasing their skills. The audience then participated in a series of games and activities followed by a presentation of the final candidates of the Miss Mutya ng Pilipinas beauty pageant and a raffle draw.
Elpidio said: “I roamed around talking to booth holders, guests and service providers and all seemed happy with stomachs full and a few singing away with raffle prizes won.”
The occasion ended with a captivating performance by Tawag ng Tanghalan singing competition finalist Eumee Capile and star attraction Sheng Belmonte.
Leslie Arlen Garduque, managing director of public relation and events company Media Circuit, said: “The event made me feel like I was back home. It’s always nice to have a taste of our home country, to somehow feel connected to our families even when we are miles away from home.”