by Novo-Mar Ramos
An inclement weather did not dampen the spirit of the participants, guests and visitors to push through for the success of the first Barrio Fiesta-style celebration or Filipino festival in the Lancashire region of England held on the 11th day of June 2016 at the Alexandra Park in Oldham town in line with the commemoration of the 118th Philippine Independence Day. (See more photos at Lancashire Barrio Fiesta 2016)
Mutya ng Pilipinas UK-Manchester Filipino Diaspora for Culture and Arts (Mutya-Manfid) with its Chairperson, Jassin Fuentes, and President, Ritche Lumen spearheaded the celebration, which was conceived more than a year ago. The Filipino Association of Oldham (FAO) headed by Erween Chavez played host to the event. Members of the Filipino community from Manchester, Oldham, Ashton and Bolton came in to support.
Gino Padilla, a Filipino artist and celebrity, came to entertain the crowd with his interpretation of Filipino hit songs and some medley of American songs. The audience had joined him in singing and dancing. Triple A Productions run by Al Angelo Antoni made Mr. Padilla’s presence possible.
Another major highlight was the presentation and launching of Maeryhneilla Jence “MJ” Umayam as the official representative of the Filipino Community in the UK to the 2016 Search for Mutya ng Pilipinas grand pageant in August this year. Her crown and sash as 2016 Mutya ng Pilipinas UK were put in place and pinned by Elizabeth Senson and Novo-Mar Ramos, respectively.
Ms. Umayam was later on serenaded by Gino Padilla with his signature song, “Closer You and I” that made him known worldwide. A Filipino balladeer also rendered a heart-warming piece for the 2016 Mutya UK.
The Philippine National Anthem, “Lupang Hinirang” was solemnly sung under the conduction of Iryn Giron. Wallace Alegado led the reciting of the “Panunumpa sa Watawat at sa Saligang Batas.” Thereafter, the singing of “Ako ay Pilipino” by Pure Bagaporo rekindled more the patriotic side of the Filipinos.
The festivity continued with the traditional “Santacruzan,” parade of participants and “street dancing” accompanied by the sound from the FAO drums and bugle corps dressed up in “Ati-Atihan” costume. The officers and members of the Filipino Association of Oldham and Mutya-Manfid led the procession.
Novo-Mar Ramos, ENFiD-UK Trustee, gave his commemorative speech and spoke on behalf of ENFiD-UK.
Musical scores and Filipino cultural dances participated in by the young and young at hearts were also showcased. The dances include “Nasudi”, “Cariñosa”, “Malong-malong”, and “Tinikling” to the tune of traditional and modern music. There was also a Church choir members who shared their ministry songs.
Guest singer Al Pa Bet wowed everybody with his rapping ability. Jhason Sta. Maria, former Side A Band member who now lives in Wales, was the final act of the day with his own version of songs like “Manila” and other popular Original Pilipino Music (OPM).
(See more photos at Lancashire Barrio Fiesta 2016)