VANCOUVER, BC. The 2011 “Hataw Pinoy” event at the Forum of the Pacific National Exhibition proved once again the Filipino Canadians’ love for fun, food and fellowship, as thousands graced the two-day event celebrating the second staging of the Philippine Summer Festival in British Columbia.
Formal opening on the first day of the event saw the Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, declaring the July 23-24 as Philippine Summer Festival days. He also lauded the community for bringing into the multicultural tapestry of the city Philippine traditions of arts and dances, as well as festivities like these which contribute to the rich and diverse cultural weave of the city’s population.
Also welcoming the Filipino audience, Consul Raly Tejada, representing the Consulate General of the Philippine Consulate, spoke of how celebrations like these bring together the community in a spirit of national unity and fellowship. He also congratulated the organizers, the Filipino Canadian Cultural heritage Society, (FCCHS), for putting up this annual festival. FCCHS President Rey Fortaleza acknowledged the support of all sponsors and stallholders who
made this celebration a success. He likewise expounded on the vision of FCCHS to be able to see the establishment of the Philippine Heritage Centre-Vancouver, which was later launched as the community crusade dubbed PROJECT 2015.
Several guests and donors were acknowledged during the opening program as pioneer contributors to the cause. Among them were Councillor Craig Keating of the City of North Vancouver; Filipino Seniors Club of BC president Freddie Bagunu; Faye Nalicat-Auyong, president of the Filipino Canadian Marketing Group; AMC Passport2Canada’s Anthony Hoang; Paul Martin, manager of Royal Bank.
The Project 2015 vision was presented by Kuya.Alvin Relleve in detail, exhorting the support
of the entire community, and reiterating that this cannot be done by one man alone, nor by a few people. This must be a community crusade, all looking at the same direction-that of making it happen for the next generation of Filipino Canadians, according to Relleve.
Later in the afternoon of July 23, FCCHS VP for Operations Phil Dela Merced explained the trust component of the project, and how transparent the society will be in reporting to the public the funds contributions as they come. Fortaleza, on the other hand, announced the creation of a board of trustees, composed of respected individuals in the community, with unquestionable integrity who will be the deciding body for the establishment of the center.
It was non-stop entertainment for the two-day celebration, as local artists provided songs and dance numbers to the crowd’s delight, as well as the guest performers from Seattle, headed by the young International balladeer Timmy Pavino, who wowed the audience with his award-winning performance. The Praise Team Dancers captured the audience speechless with their moves and grooves, and generated a huge applause when they came full force with a dance number done on grounds since their number cannot be accommodated on stage.
The PNT IDOL champions and past winners also received much accolade, particularly when they sang the event’s theme song “Oh what a joy, Hataw Pinoy!”. Not to be outshone, the La Riva Dancers made their hips hop and turn with gusto and full of life, especially the kids, showing unstoppable energy. Also generating a great response from the audience are the GMA Starstruck talents who belted out almost operatic tunes. The final salvo, and the most awaited performances were from the special celebrity guests from the GMA Kapuso Network – actor/ director/singer Cesar Montano, and the beautiful singing sensation Rachelle Ann Go. They completely glued the audience to their seats with their superb stage presence and unforgettable melodies, interspersed with a lot of wit and humor, especially from Buboy (Cesar Montano) himself.
Towards the end, the fans linedup when they stayed to sign autographs and meet the crowd up close and personal. Hataw Pinoy has made its mark again as the biggest summer spectacle in B.C. and it continues to expand its reach to bring together the Filipino Canadians in one celebration of community fun, food and family fellowship.