Filipino community gears for 120th Independence Day celebrations.
Janice Ponce de Leon, Staff Reporter
Dubai: Filipinos in the UAE are in for a treat in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as the community is set to host a grand celebration complete with a motorcade, a job fair, cultural events, competitions, and medical missions spread across the month.
The Philippines will mark its 120th Independence Day on June 12. The Southeast Asian nation proclaimed its independence from Spain after 333 years of colonial rule in 1898.
In Dubai, the Filipino community will mark the Independence Day celebrations on June 15, expected as the first day of Eid Al Fitr.
A grand motorcade by the Emirates Motors Sports Federation, Jumeirah Bikers and VIPs from the Philippines will be held at 9am. The motorcade, with a maximum of 60 vehicles, will start from the Philippine Consulate-General in Al Ghusais and end at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
"Everything is set. We have received the go-ahead from relevant authorities. The Philippine and UAE flags will be in full display during the motorcade. Participating vehicles will also be judged on their design with the Philippine independence as the theme," Joel Foronda, chair of this year's Philippine Independence Day organising committee (PIDC), told Gulf News.
"Motorcades and cultural parades are a common sight in community celebrations back home. We'd like to hold it here as well as it is a big part of our culture," he added.
Several activities have been planned for the daylong event including a beauty pageant, a hip-hop dance competition, a battle of the bands, a fruit, vegetable and chocolate carving competition, and others.
A job fair will also be held where eligible nurses and educators will be hired on the spot. Passport USA will screen nurses with hospital experience. Those who are selected will be hired directly and Passport USA will facilitate their migration to the US on a 'fly now, pay later' scheme.
Educators with teaching experience will also be hired on the spot to work in Philippine schools in the UAE.
Drop boxes to receive CVs will be available for other jobseekers. The job fair will run from 8.30am to 3pm.
Celebrities from the Philippines like Martin Nievera, known in the industry as 'Concert King' for two decades, and singer-actress Arci Munoz will join the celebrations to entertain the community.
Games with door prizes, including air tickets to the Philippines, await attendees.
"We are encouraging our compatriots to attend the 120th Philippine Independence Day celebrations. We made sure that there is something for everyone to benefit and entertain our compatriots. We all come here to work and sacrifice for our families. Let's take a day off to celebrate our independence together," Foronda said.
In Abu Dhabi, Ronald Precilla, chair of the Philippine Independence Day organising committee, said several events have been planned throughout the month of June to accommodate everyone from different walks of life and different interests.
The events include a beauty pageant, a medical mission, a sports tournament dubbed as Ambassador's Cup, a dance competition, a singing contest, an on-the-spot painting contest, a food festival, and many more. The main event will be held on June 29.
"We're calling on our kababayans (compatriots) to come and participate in all the events that cater to all Filipinos. In this millennial times, we should revisit and look back to where it all started [and value] the freedom we're enjoying now as a nation," Precilla told Gulf News.
WHAT: 120th Philippine Independence Day
WHEN: June 15 (Dubai), Dubai World Trade Centre
*Abu Dhabi events are spread across the month of June. The main event will be held on June 29 at the National Theatre in Abu Dhabi.
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