OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- July 4 is just a few weeks away, but the Filipino community in the Kansas City area is celebrating their own independence day. Each year, the Filipino Association of Greater Kansas City hosts Fiesta Filipina to mark the Philippines’ independence from Spain and to bring celebate Filipino culture.
“Mabuhay!” A warm greeting shared by many people who went to the Filipino Cultural Center in Overland Park Sunday. The Filipinos in Kansas City look forward to the event every year, complete with food, traditional dancing, and of course, BBQ!
“Especially being here in the Midwest, it’s easy to, and with the generation above me coming here, it’s easy to lose track of where you came from,” said one of the organizers, Edward Tumanut.
Dr. Lillian Pardo explained, “It really is so heart-warming to see the little kids.” She said it’s about passing down tradition. “What’s important is that we have passed on to the younger generations the second, third generation Filipino-Americans who really were born here in the United States and who really know little about the culture of their parents or their grandparents.”
The Filipino Cultural Center hosts an exhibit that is open beyond Sunday’s event.
“It speaks to the culture and the history and influences of the northern part of the Philippines, the southern part, the rural, the Spanish influences," continued Pardo.
Tumanut said, “You have to celebrate what your differences are and remember where you came from. It’s important to keep traditions and heritages alive.”
Pardo also explained the importance of awareness of cultures different than your own.
“Awareness. That means better understanding among people leads to more peace and harmony. The usual things, but it is true. You understand each other then you begin to be friends with them, and then you understand them,” said Pardo.
The event is the biggest of the summer for the Filipino Association of Greater Kansas City. The annual showcase of Filipino culture, food, dance, music and games was free to the public, complete with performances by the Sinag-Tala Dance Troupe and the Sampaguita Choir. To learn more, click here: http://www.filipino-association.org/