Philippine Independence Festivities: Picnic Highlights

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By: Team Update | The quiet banks of the Cooper River slowly buzzed with activity early in the morning of Saturday, June 11 as member associations arrived and started pitching their tents as early as 6 in the morning. The cool breeze coming from the East promises good weather for the day.

Held annually at the Rizal Monument along the Cooper River park, the place was turned into an instant “small Luneta” as member associations (MAs), officers and friends started to arrive with the carloads of equipment and accessories to make the day truly exciting for everyone.

The stage provided by the Camden County government was bare, until a team of eager “installers” arrived.  President Ruth Luyun and FASSJ President Hermie Aczon were on hand to direct everyone top their respective spots; with some MAs claiming their “annual real estate” piece on the beautiful park.

As the blue banner of FECGP was unfurled and installed in front of the stage, it signaled that the Fiesta has began to roll. Sound system checked, “banderettas” hanged and one by one, the MAs canopies and banners hanged; no doubt about it, it is indeed a fiesta.

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As food arrived and the delicious aroma and aromatic scents were permeating the air, members, friends and guests smiled at each other, “Magandang umaga po”; everyone was in a festive mood.

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At 10 o’clock the parade of members was set to go and MAs lined up as  they are called with their banners proudly displayed. As the walk towards the Rizal and Bataan Monument, everyone was greeted with cheers.

Pres. Ruth Luyun and Consul General Mario de Leon of the Philippine Consulate New York, stepped forward to lay the wreathe at the Rizal Monument. They were later joined by Bb. Pilipinas 2016 Winchell Aleli Delfin.  I felt almost spiritual as everyone stood quietly in reverence to our national hero, Jose Rizal whose death marked the beginning of the revolution that ultimately lead into our independence.

Emcees Gloria Pineda and Past President Ferdie Luyun took turns presenting the program. Mae Claire Tandoc and Shawn Laurencio, wowed the crowed with their rendition of the national anthems of the United States and the Philippines, respectively.

Margieta Cabatbat Tandoc rendered a soulful performance of “Ako ay Filipino” as the crown gathered sang together with her. It was truly a touching moment of remembrance of our 118th Philippine independence anniversary.

Mayor Michael Mignogna accompanied by a Camden County commissioner laid the wreathe at the Bataan Monument; while a young boy played the “Taps”; a fitting and symbolic act of respect and honor upon our heroes and martyrs who died fighting the Japanese alongside their American compatriots during WW2 in the Philippines.

What followed next was indeed a “Fiesta Tradition” where everyone just enjoyed each other’s company; sharing the food as officers, members, friends and guests go hopping and tasting the sumptuous and delicious Filipino food brought by MAs.

A free-wheeling program followed with participants early awaiting their turn and making their presentations to their very best wowing the crowd.

The crowd equally reciprocating with every performances with their loud cheers and applause and an occasional “More! More!”

Everyone was excited in the raffle for 2 place tickets to the Philippines. Our hardworking ticket sellers were making their last rounds offering raffle tickets to hopefuls as the afternoon wanes.

Congratulations to the raffle winners! Although some were not declared winners, everyone felt a winner for such a wonderful day at the park.

Hoping to see you once again next year as we celebrate our Philippine Independence Week.



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