KalayaanSF to celebrate 120th anniversary of Philippine Independence

Photo by Dennis Chan

KalayaanSF, a Bay Area organization partnered with the Philippine Consulate General of San Francisco and other community and non-profit groups will be celebrating the 120th anniversary of on June 12.

In keeping with the spirit of Kalayaan, a Filipino word meaning “freedom,” Philippine Consul General Henry S. Bensurto Jr. explained that the significance of these efforts is in “empowering the generations of Filipinos abroad by igniting a deeper interest in their culture and history, fostering a deeper sense of identity, and strengthening and expanding connections with one another.”

Piano concert by Maestro Raul Sunico, KalayaanSF Festival, community heroes, JR and Jaya highlight KalayaanSF June celebrations

Two special events are in the offing to celebrate this occasion in June. The first is a piano concert by world-renowned Filipino pianist, Raul Sunico which will be held on Saturday, June 9, at the beautiful and historic Marines Memorial Theater at 609 Sutter Street, a stone’s throw from Union Square. This black-tie affair will bring together concert aficionados, City and State officials, consular representatives from various nations, and a cross section of guests from the Bay Area Filipino-American community. A formal reception will follow at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center where guests will be treated to Filipino gourmet food, and the traditional formal dance, Rigodon de Honor, which will be performed by community leaders and dignitaries.

The second event is the annual KalayaanSF Festival, which will be held on Saturday, June 16, starting from 12 noon up to 8 p.m. at San Francisco’s Union Square. The public is invited to this all-day event to experience the best of Filipino culture. As in previous KalayaanSF festivals, thousands of revelers are expected to come and experience the event’s signature ‘street’ performances on all corners of the Square, where traditional and modern dances, martial arts, visual arts, and musical performances are delivered up close, and often interactively, with attendees. There will be a Marketplace Pavilion with vendors offering Philippine-themed and Philippine made merchandise, while various exhibitors, from corporate sponsors to non-profits will be present to reach out to the public. To complete a truly Filipino experience food booths offering authentic Filipino cuisine will be available for all to savor.

Highlight of the whole day Festival is an early evening, free pop-concert produced by ABS-CBN/TFC (the Filipino Channel) featuring Filipino-American platinum recording artist, Jay R, and the Philippines’ soul diva, Jaya.  They will be performing at the Union Square’s main stage.

Photo by Dennis Chan

Kalayaan Hero Awards

Along with the festivities is a time to honor both known and un-heralded heroes in the community. Each year, a small group of hand-picked community heroes are introduced to the public in a formal ceremony, allowing awardees and the community to know and interact with each other. KalayaanSF seeks to provide inspiration by honoring and presenting the accomplishments of these select individuals who have exemplified the highest ideals in the fields of sports, politics, arts, business, and community service. 

KalayaanSF Mission

Conrad ‘Radi’ Calalang, chairman of KalayaanSF remarked, “As the largest Asian American population in California, and one of the largest minority groups in the country, we’re very large in number but tend to keep a much lower profile relative to others.  We’d like to help bring Filipino-Americans out in the forefront, not just to have them appreciated for their culture and achievements, but to inspire them to continue making a positive impact on the community.”

For more information on these and other KalayaanSF events in the month of June, or for inquiries on sponsorship, volunteer and vendor opportunities, please visit www.KalayaanSF.com, Facebook.com/KalayaanSF, or email [email protected].

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