REDWOOD CITY, California—Continuing its longstanding tradition of joining hands with the Filipino community for its festivals in various US states, The Filipino Channel (TFC) kicked off its summer events season via its TFC Sama Saya 2012 series with jam-packed events in Vallejo, California and Las Vegas, Nevada last June 2 and 3.
The Philippine Cultural Committee (PCC), in cooperation with the City of Vallejo and TFC, presented the Pista Sa Nayon on June 2 at the scenic Vallejo Waterfront in Mare Island Way. Now on its 26th year, the annual event made history by drawing a record 40,000 attendance, easily among the biggest crowds ever gathered for public Filipino events in the West Coast.
“It’s as if we never left the Philippines. There are so many Filipinos here!” said Vallejo local Marie Imperial.
“This is very exciting. This is the biggest one in all 26 years of Pista sa Nayon. Everyone was excited from the start and had so much energy in anticipation for the headliners,” said PCC general chairperson Annie Ramos.
The cultural program showcased the best of Filipino talent in the US and in the homeland. It included well-known local acts like Mahal, Parangal Dancers, the Pinoy jazz band Little Brown Brother, Pulabiniyan Kulintang Ensemble with Master kulintang teacher and performer Danny Kalanduyan, pop superstar Justin Bieber’s Filipino back-up singers Legaci among others. In the climactic TFC Hour were Kapamilya superstars Gerald Anderson, Xian Lim, Sheryn Regis, Nadia Trinidad and Henni Espinosa of Balitang America, Michi Valeriano, Tet Hernandez, JC Gonzales and Lee Robin Salazar of Adobo Nation, and adorable Gelo of TFC’s Barangay USA Supershow.
Regis, hailed as the Crystal Voice of Asia, continued to amaze audiences with her vocal range. Her medley of Whitney Houston’s popular hits had the crowd singing along with her and being bowled over when she hit those glass-shattering high notes. Meanwhile, a sea of shrieking fans greeted the solo performances of Lim and Anderson who gamely came as physically close as they can to their ecstatic fans, bringing even a few lucky ones to join them on stage.
Interviewed by Balitang America, Anderson said he’s thankful that fans made an effort to come, even those who travelled from other states, just to see them. He said, “It inspires me to perform for them. Their love is overwhelming.”
Lim, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area said, “It gives us happiness to give them happiness. It’s time for us to give back.”
The Kapamilya love affair with the Filipino community continued the following day in Las Vegas, Nevada where a searing 116 degree-Fahrenheit weather welcomed the attendees at the Boulevard Mall West Parking Lot in Maryland Parkway. According to NaFFAA Nevada, Fiesta Filipino Project Chair Noel Casimiro, this year was the hottest ever in the four-year history of the event.
In spite of this, some 3,000 still braved the heat and enjoyed the festival’s offerings that included carnival rides, popularity pageant, vendor booths and food trucks, cultural performances, and the TFC Hour with the in-demand Sheryn Regis, and guest appearances of Anna Diaz of Adobo Nation’s LA Chika and Bev Llorente of Balitang America. The crowd was also entertained with games and prizes.
On June 9-10, TFC Sama Saya goes to Seattle, Washington for Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. Attendees can explore and experience the cultural roots and contemporary influences of the Philippines through live performances, arts, hands-on activities, martial arts, foods, games, and a lively marketplace. Kapamilya Sam Milby, Sheryn Regis and Gelo will thrill via TFC Hour on June 9. The Philippine Departments of Science and Technology, Tourism and Trade and Industry are a huge part of the celebration with their respective expo showcases at the Seattle Center.
The following day, June 10, Milby, Regis and Gelo fly to Passaic, New Jersey for the 25th Philippine Day Parade and Festival. Organized by the Philippine Day Organizing Council Inc., joining the three are Monette Rivera of NY Chika of Adobo Nation and award-winning Don Tagala of Balitang America.