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Sudbury to host its first Filipino festival


Sudbury's Bell Park is set to come alive with Filipino music, dancing and food this weekend.

The first Mabuhay Philippine Festival will take place on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Grace Hartman Amphitheatre.

Mabuhay translates "to live or long live," and is traditionally said as a greeting.

Organized by the Filipino-Canadian Association of Sudbury, the group's president, Angelo Dave Javier, said the event is to showcase the rich culture of the Philippines.

"We have the Japanese group, the Afro-Caribbean group, the Indian group who have done festivals over the past years and with increasing number of Filipinos here in Sudbury," Javier said.

"I thought, you know, why not do a Philippines festival to showcase our culture, our food, our songs, dances, and mainly to introduce the Filipino culture through the City of Sudbury."

Javier said the number of Filipinos in the city has grown.

"It's a five-, six-decade history of Filipinos in Sudbury,” he said.

“Around that time, there's only about 30, 40 Filipinos and everyone knew each other … Now, there's probably between 500 to 700 Filipinos living in Sudbury and that's not a small number compared to other groups and the demographics have changed, too.”

He said the growth of Filipinos in the city could be attributed to an influx in international students, job opportunities and the northern lifestyle in general.

"Migration is not a new thing for Filipinos. There's like at least 12 million Filipinos living abroad, which is 10 per cent of our whole population," Javier said.

"There are many young Filipino families who are living here now, and that's great for our community."

Traditional dance performances

Javier said many Filipinos love singing and dancing, so the event will feature youth and adult traditional dance performances and Fil-Can Idol, a singing competition similar to American Idol.

Aissa Diaz, a dancer, choreographer and organizer of the event, said the style of dancing incorporates different styles from parts of the Philippines.

"Here in in Sudbury, we already have different Filipinos who came from the different parts of the Philippines," Diaz said.

"So at least if we featured their folk dances in the three main islands of the Philippines, then they will feel that they're at home or they will feel that the Philippines is within their hearts."

Dancer Maria Baylosis said the festival is important because there are a lot of people who miss their home country.

"It's nice to have this kind of festival for us to feel how it feels like to be at home," Baylosis said.

"You know, this this is like a memory lane for all of us."

Javier said there are plans to make this festival an annual event.

Sault Ste. Marie will also be celebrating Filipino Heritage Month this weekend with Fil-Can Day at the Downtown Plaza from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., featuring food and games. Top Stories

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