Were you at the Philippine Embassy in Thailand last June 8, 2014? Did you have fun in the "Barrio Fiesta" (village festival)? What were the highlights of the celebration? If you were not there, let me share with you some highlighted events you missed that day.
It was like a "barrio fiesta" at the Philippine Embassy grounds. The whole place was temporarily converted into a tiny festive village with colorful flaglets and mini-stalls where our countrymen turned entrepreneurs and sold a variety of Filipino dishes and delicacies from their own localities like native lechon , adobo, kare-kare,pansit, dinuguan, spaghetti, lumpia, pandesal, suman, halo-halo, etc.
You could hear Tagalog in all corners of the embassy creating the noise of excitement, joy, and gratefulness for our independence despite martial law in Thailand. The Filipinos were happy to gather as one people to reminisce the day they got back their valued freedom 68 years ago from the Americans and 116 years ago from the Spaniards.
The "Barrio Fiesta" opened at 8:00 o'clock in the morning. This was followed by a flag raising ceremony at 8:30 and later on by a liturgical Mass.
After the Mass, her Excellency, Jocelyn Batoon-Garcia gave her Independence Day message to the community . Right after this, she formally opened the Art Exhibit of three Filipino artists: Feona de Vera, 10 years old, Juliet Nazarrea and Benito Vacio. Twenty-three paintings of abstract, still life and impressionistic compositions were exhibited and sold for the benefit of young kids from three institutions in Pak Kred and Pathum Thani inspired by the New Life Mission Center.
There were a few guests from other countries like England, America, South Africa, and Germany who were friends of our countrymen. They enjoyed eating Filipino food as much as we did. Of course many Thai friends were also around especially the husbands/wives of Filipinos living in Thailand, employees of the different exhibitors and miscellaneous goods sellers.
Western Union had a booth to promote their sending money scheme. CIMB had their booth too. Don Bosco Filipino School in Thailand promoted their newly opened school. Many agencies promoted their products which the Filipino community welcomed. There was free medical check-up, and a number of associations advertized their groups.
Besides from feasting on their favorite foods, Filipinos were treated to parlor games for kids and adults. Filipino goodies rarely found in Thailand were also for sale. The most saleable part was Filipino foods sold at lunch that made our business-minded fellow Filipinos richer by a few more baht.
It was an opportune time to celebrate the 68th Independence day which was normally celebrated on the 12th of June. It was advanced on the 8th so that all Filipinos working in Thailand could participate in the one-day affair. The day's activities was headed by Jay Francis Alcantara, the Vice Consul in cooperation with UFT( United Filipinos in Thailand) and AFT (Association of Filipinos in Thailand) committees.
Friends met friends, acquaintances met acquaintances and it was a reunion for some who meet yearly on this date.
Don't fret, if you missed the celebration this year for there'll be another one in 2015. For sure the celebration committee will make it grand, more enjoyable, more meaningful, and a more attended gathering because it will be the beginning of the ASEAN Community. Next time if you don't want to be a mere spectator, reserve an area for yourself next year to sell your crafts and wares or homemade Filipino delicacies popular in your place.
Just coordinate with the incumbent officers of the Association of Filipinos in Thailand or United Filipinos in Thailand.
The "Barrio Fiesta" ended at 5:00 o'clock p.m
Long live the Philippines. Happy 68th/116nth Independence Day. It was a short festivity but its impression on those who visited will last for a long time for it takes another year before a similar activity will happen.