Karilagan Dance Society performs at the Filipino Cultural Heritage & Musical Festival in Muskoseepi Park at the amphitheatre in Grande Prairie, Alta. on Sunday, June 11, 2023. The festival saw hundreds of people in attendance for its second annual event. (Photo by Jesse Boily)Jesse Boily

The Filipino Association of Grande Prairie and Area (FAGPA) hosted its second annual Filipino Cultural & Musical Heritage Festival at Muskoseepi Park on Sunday, June 11.

The celebrations coincided with the 125th Philippine Declaration of Independence.

“We built this festival to remember all of the things that we did in the past, our forefathers, our heroes, the ones who fought for independence,” said Neil Tuazon, FAGPA president.

He hopes the event allows people to experience and learn about Filipino culture in a fun way.

The event included a fashion show showing the diverse styles in the Philippines, along with food vendors sharing Filipino foods and desserts.

Headlining the day was the performance by the Karilagan Dance Society.

Tuazon said the performers are known worldwide and recently returned from a trip to Hawaii.

He said for the Grande Prairie Filipino community, this is an exciting event where people share their culture with their community.

“It feels like home even though our home right now is Canada,” said Tuazon.

Priscila Lanada said she arrived in Grande Prairie from the Philippines in 1988 and previously served as the FAGPA president.

She said she is very proud of Filipinos and their independence; she also noted the hard work and dedication of the Filipinos who immigrate to Canada.

Lanada noted many come to Canada as educated professionals and end up working in entry-level jobs as they settle in their new country.

Local leaders also attended the annual event, with Grande Prairie Mayor Jackie Clayton proclaiming Philipines Independence Day in the city. On Monday, city hall raised the Philippines flag to recognize the day.

Grande Prairie MLA Nolan Dyck said the Filipino community in Grande Prairie has contributed “so much” to the local community.

“You truly make the community a better place,” he said.

Philippines Independence Day commemorates the declaration of Philippine independence from Spain in 1898.

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 15, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Town & Country News   Beaverlodge, Alberta

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