Another exhilarating Philippine American Friendship Day

Mainstream and across local communities both elected and appointed are pictured with LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn, (seated 4th from left) with Deputy Consul Francis Maynard Maleon (seated 3rd from left) and City of Los Angeles Kenneth (3rd from left standing) with NaFFAA board members Jannelle So-Perkins and Noel S.V. Omega (standing 1st and 2nd from left respectively).

Cerritos, CA – An estimated 4,000 attendees trooped to the 2nd Los Angeles County’s largest Philippine American Friendship Day celebration on July 15 at the Don Knabe Community Regional Park under a bright sunny day.

This yearly event is hosted by the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) Greater Los Angeles and co-presented by Los Angeles County chaired by Supervisor Janice Hahn as prime sponsor in partnership with So Jannelle TV Production.

Cerritos High School senior students who belong to Magkaisa Club perform the Tinikling. After their performance, wannabe Tinikling dancers from the audience gamely participated. Photos by Dan E. Nino

True to its theme this year of “Building Bridges Across Communities”, various cultural groups like the Samoan Cultural Dance performing the Tupulaga, the Club Magkaisa of Cerritos High School wowing the motley crowd with their Tinikling and Paso Doble, the Maranao Dance of  Tata Malong Malong presented by Iligan City and Lanao Del Norte of Southern California, the throbbing acrobatic dance of the Junior New Systems, a finalist in “America’s Got Talent” who came all the way from the Philippines with their six-inch high-heeled shoes and the Move Essentials composed of five lovely ladies in their elevated skateboard-like dancing shoes performing intense rhythmic Sumba, were among the top hits of this day-long non-stop entertainment.

Another cultural dance popular during the Spanish colonial period dubbed, Paso Doble was performed by Cerritos High School’s Magkaisa Club.

Elected officials from various mainstream and local communities headed by Supervisor Hahn, California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, Congresswoman Michelle Steel, Los Angeles Controller Kenneth Mejia and Deputy Consul General Francis Maynard Maleon were on hand to inspire, greet and mingle with the throng.

Supervisor Hahn said, “It is so good to be here at the second Annual L.A. County’s Largest Philippine American Friendship Day.  I’m so proud to have been a part of launching this event last year and make sure that we not only kept this new tradition alive but made it even bigger and better.”

The Junior New System from the Philippines, a finalist in America’s Got Talent wowed the motley crowd with a throbbing acrobatic rhythmic dance.

She also gave a big shout out to Fil-Am Amiel  Noble of Artesia-based Noble Creations  where she got her Filipiniana outfit as well as huge shout outs to numerous Fil-Am City Council members and mayors across her district.

The Supervisor continued, “Los Angeles County is not only home to the largest community of Filipino-Americans in the country. We are home to the largest concentration of Filipinos in the world outside of Manila! And that’s why this event is so important. This festival is an opportunity to enjoy so many of the wonderful things Filipino American culture has to offer. But it is also an opportunity to lift-up the Filipino Americans who work to improve our community every day.”

The Los Angeles County Supervisor chairperson also acknowledged the presence of her six commissioners including Filipino-American Hawaiian Councilmember Dandy De Paula as Human Relations commissioner.

She also announced that she authored a motion to have Los Angeles County officially recognize the 125th anniversary of the Philippine Independence from Spain and celebrate the Philippine American Friendship Day.

Thereafter, she presented a scroll to Jannelle So-Perkins as overall  chairperson this year on behalf of the entire Board of NaFFAA Greater Los Angeles Region.

This yearly event was  kicked off with a fun parade at 8:30 a.m. passing briefly on the pathway edge of the scenic lake and snaked through around the huge canopy surrounded by 65 smaller tents of food booths, food trucks, exhibitors, vendors, military, major sponsors McDonald’s and Toyota with its e-vehicles on display and several other government entities and Philippine-made Sarao jeepney – had elicited attractions from the community.

Enhancing innovations in the parade is the cash reward of $200 each for three groups of participants. The cash award for the Largest Contingent went to the Holy Family Church Catholic Community, Liveliest Contingent was received by the combined forces of Alpha Phi Omega Greater Los Angeles and APO South Bay and the Most Colorful Contingent was awarded to the Iligan City and Lanao Del Norte of Southern California for their colorful Malong-inspired costume.

The excitement in the parade was further boosted by the Mounted Sheriffs and the L.A. County helicopter flyover.

While the entertainment was on-going, the Don Knabe gym was pulsating with action for a one-day basketball tournament from kids to adult players. Workshops were also conducted on the side on investment, government financing programs and immigration at the conference room.

The success of this event can also be attributed to the volunteers including California, Nevada, Arizona, Repeater Network (CNARN), a Ham Radio Organization, the combined force of APOGLA/APO South Bay Alumni and the Alpha Kappa Rho Alumni.

Parade Marshalls were Overall PAFD Overall Chair Jannelle So Perkins, Overall Vice Chair Dan E. Nino and Lauren Yokomizo, Supervisor Janice Hahn’s Field Deputy.

LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn introduced to the throng two Fil-Am victims of hate crimes from left: photojournalist Nicky Arriola and Cesar Echano.

Another stellar features of the parade were the flyover of a helicopter and the mounted sheriff deputies.

To assure that the huge crowd were fed and hydrated — seven food booths and two food trucks serving Filipino cuisines were on hand complimented by free fruit smoothies all-day long from McDonald’s and Jollibee complimentary meals to volunteers, VIPs and performers.

The non-stop entertainment was preceded by a simple ritual like the banging of the gong by this year’s chairperson, Jannelle So, welcome remarks by NaFFAA CEO and Board Chairman Noel S.V. Omega and invocation by Holy Family Church Pastor of Artesia, Rev. Fr. John Roxas Cordero who also participated in the parade.

In recognition to Supervisor Hahn’s sustained support to this yearly milestone and TFC and ANC TV anchor Jannelle So-Perkin,  NaFFAA  top honcho Omega presented them with a handsome glass memento.

The day was climaxed by the performances of Robin Nievera and DJ Rocky Rock who dished out danceable music where disco enthusiasts filled the dance floor fronting the stage.

The day culminated with the turnover of a giant key presented by Jannelle So to the next overall chairperson next year, Cerritos Councilwoman Lynda Johnson. – [email protected] n

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