MB Filipino Street Festival thrills community
Mayor Scott Gillingham cuts the ceremonial ribbon to open MFSF at the Maples Multiplex on June 24, 2023. Photo l-r: Freddie Sion, Nina Sion, Verna Lazaro, Orlando Sanchez, Anna Maceda, Ley Navarro (chairperson), Aida Champagne, Mayor Gillingham, Azel Navarro, Robert Maceda, Rowena Oquendo (vice chairperson), Jackie Servida, and Jun Oquendo. Photos below (l-r): The lovely Miss Vienna Jaime is Miss Pilipino Express and the colourful parade contingent of the Aklan Association of Manitoba. Photos by Josel Media Photography, Rey-Ar Reyes and Joel Eugenio.
It was an exciting weekend for the Filipino community as the Manitoba Filipino Street Festival returned on June 24, 2023, after a brief pause because of the pandemic.
The streets of Jefferson and Watson in the Maples were abuzz with participants of a street parade that signalled the start of the two-day celebration. With eye-catching floats, flamboyant street exhibitions, and beautiful, colourful cultural costumes, the parade thrilled on-lookers, young and old.
After the parade concluded at the Maples Multiplex grounds, there was an official welcoming ceremony by the MFSF organizers. It was followed by amazing cultural performances from nine community groups and associations, which showcased the rich and vibrant music and dance of the Philippines.
The free event also featured 18 food vendors that served delicious Filipino food and treats as well as non-Filipino fare. There were also lively decorated booths and tents offering services, fun activities, and free giveaways.
The evening of the first day culminated in the presentation of the Queen Bulilit (Queen Junior) and Reyna ng Festival (Queen of the Festival) beauty pageants. Winners of the Queen Bulilit, were: Miss Photogenic – Janiyah Raven Estrella; Best In Talent – Jazmin Maog; Best in Cultural Gown – Janiyah Raven Estrella; Second Princess – Jazmin Maog; First Princess – Angelian Falco, and Queen Bulilit – Janiyah Raven Estrella.
For the Reyna ng Festival winners: Miss Photogenic – Mikaelah Ramos; Best in Talent – Lee Angela Igne; Best in Cultural Gown – Mikaelah Ramos; Second Princess – Denby Perez; First Princess – Lee Angela Igne; and the Reyna ng Festival 2023 – Mikaelah Ramos.
The second day of the MFSF featured talented singers and musicians in the Filipino community, belting out enjoyable covers as well as original music, to the delight of the festival goers.
Finally, Philippine Zumba instructor Ron Antonio took the stage to lead Zumba enthusiasts in a rousing one and half hour dance set. The former singer also performed some of his original songs from his Zayaw Pilipinas album.
Antonio is dubbed the Philippines’ Zumba King, after leading a historic Zumba event in Pili, Camarines Sur, in 2018. Almost 14,00 participants attended that event and was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the largest Zumba class on record.
The success of the 2023 MFSF is due to the support and involvement of various sponsors and event partners, as well 30 Filipino associations, groups, and many food vendors, according to MFSF head, Ley Navarro. He added that almost 10,000 attended the two-day free celebrations.
The Manitoba Filipino Street Festival was founded in 2012 and aims to celebrate Manitoba’s Filipino community by showcasing the beauty of Philippine culture through unique dances, music, food, and world-renowned hospitality.
– by Lucille Nolasco-Garrido