Filipinos in Malaysia to Celebrate Independence Day with Parade, Bayanihan Dance Performance

3 June 2014 – For the third straight year, Filipinos in Malaysia will again splash Kuala Lumpur's streets with vibrant colors and the rich Filipino cultural tapestry as the Philippine Embassy there commemorate the 116th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence with a Filipino-Malaysian community parade and program dubbed "Fiesta sa Embahada 2014" on June 8.

"This is a much-awaited time for the Filipino-Malaysian community to gather and celebrate our Freedom Day. It is also an opportunity for us to share our culture with Malaysian and for them to see why 'it's more fun in the Philippines'," Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya said.

The parade, which is organized by the Federation of Filipino Associations in Malaysia (FFAM), is expected to draw in some 1,500 participants and will traverse Kuala Lumpur's premiere commercial centers along Jalan Bukit Bintang, the city's major shopping and tourist destination.

First Apprentice Asia winner Jonathan Yabut and popular singer-artist Maria Jaszmine will serve as the parade's honorary Grand Marshalls.

The program will follow after the parade, where a fiesta atmosphere will pervade the Chancery grounds, featuring Filipino food, games, music and a program showcasing the talents of Filipino community members. Manila-based artist Alden Richards is also expected to perform.

The excitement among the Filipino community members for the events is palpable. When the announcement for the Fiesta was posted in the Embassy's Facebook page, it received almost 300 likes and 80 shares within five hours.

Last year, around 2,000 Filipinos and Malaysian showed up in full force and in costumes representing the Philippines' ethnic groups. Twelve floats from Malaysian companies and Filipino community organizations also joined the parade.

It was also a celebration of color and music, as the groups sang and danced as they proudly marched the streets of Kuala Lumpur, stopping passersby in their tracks as they whipped out their camera phones to take photos and videos of the parade.

The parade was also extensively covered by Malaysian media, with top newspaper The Star putting out a big story on the event, as well as video footages of the parade in their online website.

"There was a bit of a drizzle, but the community members never gave up. This year, we are praying for fairer weather. Nothing, as they say, would rain on our parade," parade organizing committee member and FFAM vice president Menchie Anonuevo noted.

Corporate sponsors for the events include Air Asia, Smart Pinoy, Pag-ibig Fund, LBC Cargo, Merchant Trade, Petron Malaysia, BDO Bank, and Filinvest.

On June 12, the Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company will give a gala performance before a by-invitation crowd composed members of the diplomatic corps, the Malaysian-Filipino business community and select members of the Filipino community. This is their second time in Malaysia after a well-applauded performance during the Embassy's Independence Day reception in 2009.

"In its almost 60 years of existence, the Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company is one of our enduring cultural ambassadors, as their level of performance has not just enriched the Philippine dance scene, but also brought honor and pride to the Philippines and its people. It is our honor to bring the best of Philippine folk dance to Malaysians," Ambassador Malaya said.

"Everyone is excited to see the Bayanihan, as we are getting positive responses from our invitees. Some are also asking if they could be invited for the show," he remarked.

Preceding the Bayanihan's performance is a Filipino Food Showcase featuring three chefs who will be flown in for the occasion by Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral Hotel, which will also have a Filipino Food Fair the next day, and have generously allowed the chefs to also cook for the reception. The hotel's general manager is Malaysia-based Filipino Paolo Campillo.

Also lending support to the performance is AirAsia and PLDT Malaysia/Smart Pinoy.

The group will also fly to Kuching, Sarawak for a benefit show on June 14 (Saturday) for the benefit of Soroptomist International of Kuching. The performance will be held at the Imperial Grand Ballroom 2 of Imperial Hotel at 7:30 p.m. Ms. Audry Wan Ullok, wife of Filipino community leader Engr. Justin Bersales, is heading the event's organizing committee. END