Filipinos to celebrate 123rd National Day in Dubai this weekend

file Philippine Independence Day celebrations-1623338681932
Parade during Kalayaan 2018 the 120th Philippine Independence Day Celebration taking place at the Dubai World Trade Center Zabeel Hall 1, Dubai. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News archive

Dubai: The Filipino expat community in Dubai have lined up several in-person events to celebrate the 123rd Philippine Independence Day this weekend.

There is also a laser, light and water show at a mall, while a theme park in Dubai will have a five-day fiesta, offering discounts on rides and serving traditional Filipino delicacies. Philippine Independence Day falls on June 12. The celebrations, however, will be limited to a number of people per event, in compliance with the health and safety protocols set by the government.

Kick-starting the national day celebrations is an event organised by Filipino Community (FilCom) and Philippine Business Council at Shangri-La Hotel Dubai on Friday (June 11) at 10am. “There will be cultural presentations but only 100 guests have been invited so we can observe physical distancing,” FilCom adviser Josie Conlu told Gulf News on Thursday.

“Confirmed guests are also required to submit their vaccination certificate,” she added.

Prior to the pandemic, celebrating Philippine Independence Day has been one of the biggest annual events by the Filipino community, with average attendance reaching over 10,000 people at big venues such as Dubai World Trade Centre. Last year, celebrations were muted and were held only virtually.

Back in-person

“This year, we are back to having a live, in-person event, thanks to the UAE government,” said Ericson Reyes, president of The Filipino Social Club (FilSoc) said. FilSoc will have a gathering at Radisson Blu Hotel on Friday, beginning at 6pm.

Reyes said they have lined up several cultural presentations, including a video production on Philippine history as well as performances of traditional Filipino song and dance. Another highlight is the Mabuhay Awards, which will be given to various government offices and authorities in recognition of their help to the Filipino community during the pandemic.

Multi-awarded photographer Donell Gumiran will exhibit his award-winning photos and Reyes added there will also be raffle draws for airline tickets plus a job fair. Live attendance, however, is limited only to 150 people but Reyes said the celebration will be broadcast live on FilSoc social media accounts so those at their homes can also join in the raffle draws.

Reyes added: “All attendees should be fully vaccinated and required to wear a face mask. Congregating in large groups will not be permitted social distancing will be observed.

Dakilang Bayani awards

Also happening on Friday is the presentation of Dakilang Bayani (Noble Hero) Awards at the Philippine Consulate in Dubai. Philippine Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes will confer the award to “extraordinary Filipinos in Dubai.”

Organisers said honourees are selected based on their “selfless commitment to serve the expat community and whose global contribution elevate the collective pride of the Filipinos. Career achievements take a back seat and what is highlighted is the service to the community. The thrust is to find Filipinos who are both transformative and inspiring.”

Saturday events

Celebrations will continue on Saturday (June 12) at the Philippine Consulate in Dubai. Messages from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Teodoro Locsin, Jr, Philippine Minister of Foreign Affairs will be the highlight of the event which will start at 6pm. There will also be showing of Independence Day video and pledge of allegiance to the Philippine flag.

Also happening on that day is the official launch of PINASarap sa UAE by the Philippine Business Council — League of Food and Beverage Entrepreneurs (LFBE).

Meanwhile, Dubai Festival City Mall will have a laser, light and water show celebrating the 123rd Philippine Independence Day on June 12 at 7.30pm while Motiongate Dubai is offering Filipinos discounted prices at the theme park during its five-day fiesta that will run until June 16. Traditional Filipino dishes such as pancit canton, chicken adobo and beef sinigang will also be sold at discounted prices.

Araw ng Kalayaan

The Philippine Independence Day or Araw ng Kalayaan (in Filipino) is observed every June 12 to commemorate the declaration of Philippine independence from Spanish colonial rule in 1898.