Edmonton celebrated its 36th Heritage Festival from July 30-August 1 at the Hawrelak Park. An annual showcase and celebration of Canada’s vibrant multicultural heritage, it boasted of 63 pavilions representing more than 75 cultures. Inititated in 1974, then Minister of Culture Horst Schmidt declared the first Monday of August an annual holiday to recognise Alberta’s ethnic diversity. A cultural feast for the senses, it showcased food, entertainment and arts and crafts displays.
|Philippine arts and crafts on display, for sale|
|the Department of Tourism display with Phil. Pavilion Overall Chairman Wilf Ladores and choreographer/director Jojo Lucila|
|young boys performing the Maglalatik|
|dancers of the Karilagan Dance Society|
The Heritage Days is one of my favorite festivals in the city. As you go from one pavilion to another and watch the cultural presentations, you glean the commonalities countries have - traits shared either by geographic proximity or colonization. It is heartwarming to see people dressed in their national attires, proud to show off their ancestry and earnest in sharing it with others. And in the true spirit of intercultural collaboration, I saw the Pacific Island Dance Troupe, a Filipino group presenting Philippine folk dances and Hawaiian dances, performing at the Polynesian Pavilion.
The Philippine Pavilion on the otherhand, was overseen by the Council of Edmonton Filipino Associations (CEFA) with Wilf Ladores as Overall Chairman, Josie Pallard as Arts & Craft Chair, Elmina Cochingco as Entertainment Chair and Mandy Servito as Food Chair. Also present was the Department of Tourism, San Francisco office. I have observed that the Philippine cultural presentations were mostly done by the Karilagan Dance Society these past years. They have successfully presented numbers that showed youthful enthusiasm and appeal. One just only wishes that there were some presentations by other Filipino cultural organizations and performing groups as well, for a more inclusive event and truly representative of the Edmonton Filipino community. Kudos, however, to the organizers, participants and volunteers for all their dedication and hard work in the Heritage Festival every year.
* this article was written for the Pinoy Times, published in the August 2011 issue