The Manitoba Filipino Street Festival celebrated its eight-year along with the 122nd Anniversary of Philippine Independence last June 13, 2020, at the Maples Multiplex grounds.
Far from how the biggest Manitoba Filipino festival is celebrated annually, MFSF was held in strict compliance with the government’s protocols against COVID-19 spread. The attendance was limited to 50 people which comprised the organizers, selected guests, associations and supporters of the festival. The social distancing of 2 meters apart was also closely observed.
MFSF 2020 was slated to kick off on this exact day of June 13th, but instead of the vibrant parade and entertainment showcasing the rich culture of the Philippines, organizers shifted it to a simple post-Independence Celebration following the actual June 12 Independence Day where Filipinos across the word commemorate its 122nd year of freedom from Spanish colonization.
Lead organizer, Ley Navarro, said in his speech, “Kaya rin natin sine-celebrate ang flag-raising ngayon eh sabi nga ni Jose Rizal: Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan, hindi makakarating sa parooonan,” baka madapa. Lahat tayo ay nagpapasalamat sa ating Inang Bayan dahil kung hindi rin dahil sa kanya, wala rin tayo dito sa Canda.”
The ceremony highlighted the singing of the Philippine National Anthem, recitation of Panatang Makabayan or Patriotic Oath led by Ernesto Ofiaza Jr and the singing of Ako ay Pilipino (I Am a Filipino) led by Azel Navarro.
The rest of the Filipino community got to celebrate with the Manitoba Filipino Street Festival through Facebook live where the giant Philippine flag was also seen being unfurled by the attendees. Participants shared a sumptuous lunch provided by Save on Foods, one of MFSF’s sponsors. Present also from Save on Foods were store manager, Josh McNutt; assistant store manager Alex Specman; Kitchen Manager Amigo Yu. Derek Dabee, president of the Maples Recreation Centre Multiplex, also graced the event.
“Nais lang po naming iparating sa inyo na ang Manitoba Filipino Street Festival ay maaring hindi natuloy ngayong araw pero lahat po kami dito na present sa lugar na ito ay nagpapatunay na ang MFSF ay mangyayari muli sa tamang panahon.” (We would like to inform you that Manitoba Filipino Street Festival may have been cancelled and did not happen today but all of us who are present here are attesting that MFSF will happen again at the right time.), Navarro said.
And with that said, Navarro closed his speech with an invitation for everyone present at the event to cry out loud “Magkita-kita muli tayo sa 2021!
(We will see each other again in 2021)!”
Photos by John Lopez Photography