The Filipino Canadian Association of the East Kootenay marked the 115th Philippine Independence Day, on Saturday, June 8, with a day-long celebration of food, culture and performances at Rotary Park.
Philippine Independence Day is a national holiday in the Philippines and commemorates Philippine independence from Spain on June 12, 1898. It was on this date in Cavite, Philippines, that Filipino revolutionary forces under General Emilio Aguinaldo declared independence from the colonial rule of Spain.
Lourdes Roxas-Butalid, President of the Filipino Canadian Association of the East Kootenay, opened the celebrations, remarking that the organization was formed a year ago to support, uplift and showcase the Filipino people and its culture to the communities in the East Kootenay.
Mayor Wayne Stetksi also provided opening remarks and welcomed the performers, volunteers and attendees of the day’s festivities on behalf of the City of Cranbrook.
Messages of congratulations were also conveyed by the the Philippine Consulate General in Vancouver, and David Wilks, MP for Kootenay-Columbia. Father Peter Tompkins delivered the invocation.
Throughout Saturday afternoon, a medley of dances and songs were on display at Rotary Park with performers coming from all over the East Kootenay including Cranbrook, Invermere and Fernie and from far away as Calgary and Toronto.
A number of traditional Filipino dances were performed, including the Sinulog, a dance to the sound of drums in honour of the Santo Niño (child Jesus); the Subli, a dance of devotion performed in honour of the Mahal na Poong Santa Cruz, a miraculous crucifix discovered in the early decades of Spanish rule in Batangas; and the Tinikling, one of the most popular and well-known traditional Filipino dances as an imitation of the tikling bird as they dodge bamboo traps set by rice farmers.