Library helps celebrate Filipino culture

Library helps celebrate Filipino culture
The bilao dance is performed at the Filipino Cultural Celebration June 9. Photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — A day of Filipino food, dance and song helped crowds celebrate Philippine independence at the Filipino Cultural Celebration at Civic Center Plaza on June 9. 

“It’s very important for the younger generation to know and understand Filipino culture,” Mely Sivage, president of the Filipino American Cultural Association of North San Diego County, said.

The Oceanside Public Library and the Filipino American Cultural Association of North San Diego County sponsored the event.

In addition to food and entertainment, there were pageants and children’s crafts.

Girls competed in the Little Miss Fil-Am and Miss Teen Fil-Am pageants. Formalwear, talent, and a question and answer round were scored to determined this year’s winners. Top scoring girls took home a sash, trophy and prize money.

“Girls as young as 8 are dancing and singing,” Sivage said. “There’s a variety of talents, hip hop, dance.

Among the questions pageant contestants were asked to answer were, “Who is your favorite entertainer?” and “What will you do with the prize money if you win?”

Sivage said the pageant is her favorite part of the event.

“They develop themselves and gain confidence talking in public,” Sivage said.

A scholarship presentation followed the pageant. It awarded money to girls who had high academic achievement, served the community, and gave the best answer to the essay question, “What would Filipinos of yesterday teach Filipinos of today?”

Children could also craft parols, paper lanterns, and listen to Filipino folk stories.

“Children have something to do the whole day,” Sivage said.

On stage adults modeled traditional costumes from some of the 7,000 islands of northern, central and southern Philippines.

“It’s a very unique variety of cultural diversity, geographically separated on so many islands,” Sivage said.

Costumes included men’s Barong Tagalog wedding shirts made from woven pineapple, Maria Clara blouses that feature puffy loose sleeves that are styled after Spanish influence, and the Terno dresses with butterfly sleeves that are still worn by women for special occasions. About 500 people attended the all-day event.

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