ALBANY, NEW YORK – In a magnificent display of heritage and pride, the successful inaugural 125th Philippine Independence Day Celebration unfolded amidst the ornate walls of the New York State Capitol in Albany. Led by the esteemed Assembly Member Steven Raga, the first-ever Filipino American elected official in the state, this momentous event radiated with vibrant festivities, paying homage to the remarkable journey of the Filipino community.
The event witnessed the presence of distinguished guests, including the esteemed Philippine Consul General Senen Mangalile of New York and the illustrious Parade Grand Marshal, Dr. Dely Po Go, who exudes elegance and grace. The eminent Sol Kapunan of Kalayaan 1521 Council Inc. also graced the occasion with their presence, further highlighting the essence of this historic milestone.
In a delightful convergence of cultures, Bacolod City Mayor Albee Benitez, adorned with a cloak of magnificence, transported the ethereal Masskara Festival Dancers across the vast oceans. Their vibrant performances infused the atmosphere with mesmerizing splendor, capturing the essence of the Filipino cultural heritage and enthralling the awe-struck onlookers.
Within the hallowed halls of the New York State Assembly Chamber, the Filipino contingent, embraced warmly, experienced a profound sense of honor. The distinguished presence of influential members of the legislative and representative bodies added an air of importance to the affair. Notable figures such as State Senator John Liu, State Senator Kevin Thomas, Deputy Speaker Phil Ramos, Assemblymember Grace Lee, Assemblymember Karines Reyes, Assemblymember Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, Assemblymember Khaleel Anderson, Assemblymember Chris Eachus, and a representative from the office of U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko graced the event, emphasizing the significance of this historic celebration.
Moving beyond the grandeur of Albany, the 125th Philippine Independence Day Celebration extended its vibrant aura to the bustling streets of New York City. The Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) Parade, a magnificent procession of colors and cultural fervor, unfolded before the watchful eyes of US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who expressed unwavering support for the Filipino community and celebrated the values of democracy, diversity, and resilience.
Amidst the enchanting cityscape, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, with profound respect and admiration, presented a proclamation to PIDCI President Nora Galleros and PIDCI Parade Grand Marshal Dr. Dely Po Go, formally declaring June 4, 2023, as the Philippine Independence Day Celebration Day in the city. This proclamation served as a testament to the indelible impact of the Filipino community in shaping the vibrant cultural tapestry of the metropolis.
The gathering of luminaries from both the Philippines and the United States elevated the festivities to unprecedented heights. The esteemed presence of Philippine Senator Risa Hontiveros, Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel Romualdez, Philippine Ambassador to the UN Antonio Manuel Lagdameo, Assembly Member Steven Raga, the pride of Assembly District 30, Bacolod City Mayor Albee Benitez, who brought the resplendent Masskara Festival Dancers, Gingoog City Mayor Erick G. Cañosa, Aurora Governor Christian M. Noveras, Bergenfield, NJ Mayor Arvin Amatorio, Director General Rosslaini SInarimbo of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Musim Mindanao (BARMM), and honorable community leaders created an atmosphere of unity and shared cultural appreciation.
This grand celebration, like a vibrant tapestry woven with colorful threads, reflected the rich cultural heritage of the Filipino community. It showcased their unwavering spirit, their unwavering commitment to their roots, and their remarkable contributions to the multicultural fabric of New York State and beyond.
As the echoes of jubilant cheers filled the air, a profound sense of pride permeated the hearts of all who bore witness to this unforgettable spectacle. The successful inaugural 125th Philippine Independence Day Celebration not only celebrated the rich tapestry of Filipino culture but also exemplified the triumph of unity, resilience, and unwavering determination.
Image credits: Troi Santos