Filipinos in The Maples neighbourhood celebrated their day of liberation with the ‘Araw ng Kalayaan’ commemoration ceremony held at Maples Collegiate Saturday afternoon, June 8.
The program started with an introduction from the emcees, John Mercado and Katelyn Sarte, as well as opening remarks from the head principal of Maples Collegiate, Blair Peppler, who also exhibited his newly-learned knowledge in the Tagalog language.
Afterwards, national anthems of The Philippines and Canada were also played, with a group of grade 5 students leading the singing of the respective anthems.
A short history was then narrated by Mercado and Sarce, explaining the brief history of how Philippine independence was attained after 300 long years of Spanish colonization.
This was followed by a wide plethora of presentations done by various performers. The entertainment started with the Maples Mabuhay dance ensemble doing an ethnic dance, in which they interpreted a poem, ” Mother Nature” by Edith A. Phinazee. They also performed another dance called “Piyesta sa Nayon”, showing the way a Filipino Fiesta is celebrated through dance, like ”Tinikling” and ”Binasuan”.
Other presentations included song numbers such as the Ilocano folk tune”Manang Biday”, a thrilling exhibition by The Winnipeg Sikaran Arnis Academy, showing their skills in self-defence; a dance number by the HC Avery school; and a hip hop presentation by the rap group called, “Brakada”.
After the presentation, the audience proceeded to the gymnasiums at Maples Collegiate and at Ken Seaford Junior High for some games and food.
The Salta family chose to attend in order to instill cultural awareness in their children. The Santiago Family, on the other hand, were there to celebrate the Independence Day festivities because family member, Max Santiago, is employed in Seven Oaks School Division, and the family likes to promote the Filipino culture. Both families enjoyed “Laro ng Lahi” (Ethnic Games) and the cultural presentation beforehand.
The festival in Maples was organized through the initiatives of the schools’ Filipino staff, Maples Collegiate’s Vice Principal Fortunato Lim, Nerissa Umali, Casmir Cleofas, Porfira Perfida, and School Board Trustee Cory Juan.
“The ‘Araw ng Kalaayan’ festival was launched in order to celebrate independence with the [entire Filipino] community [in Maples],” Perfida says. “Because of the large population of Filipino students, they wanted to celebrate the Filipino spirit through this festival in order to celebrate camaraderie, and friendship with the entire community.”