TOKYO – The annual Philippine Festival, the largest and most awaited Filipino event in Japan, kicked off on Saturday for the first time since 2019, marking the end of a two-year hiatus as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thousands of people, including Filipinos, Japanese and other foreign nationals from all walks of life, flocked to Yoyogi Park to enjoy a “Meri Matsuri,” the theme for this year’s celebration.
“We are finally here together in person. Today, we are all united in the spirit of celebration and thanksgiving,” Philippine Embassy Chargé d'Affaires Robespierre Bolivar said in his opening remarks.
“The Philippine Festival is our Filipino community’s grand family reunion, though it was postponed for two years due to the pandemic, our reunion is now back in full force,” he added.
Bolivar noted that the Philippine Festival is the Filipino community’s way of sharing the Filipino Christmas traditions with the people from Japan and overseas.
“For the next two days, let us enjoy our colorful, fun and uniquely Philippine Christmas. By welcoming our friends to the Philippine Festival, we are in fact welcoming you to our homes,” he enthused.
He encouraged the Filipino community to be a part of the success of the event.
“Atin po ang festival na ito. Sama-sama nating pagtulungan na maging masaya, malinis, ligtas at tagumpay ang ating pagdiriwang ngayong Pasko,” he said.
Attendees of the two-day event can enjoy various Filipino dishes offered by the food booths as well as products and services at the commercial booths.
Cultural presentations showcasing Filipino and Japanese talents, and fun and entertainment from the “Eat Bulaga” Dabarkads Maine Mendoza, Wally Bayola and Allan K also await everyone. - Florenda Corpuz