x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Filipinos set for Bayanihan festival in Dubai

The annual Bayanihan Festival will offer a host of events for Filipinos in Dubai this month.

DUBAI // A male beauty pageant, a game show and a cupcake-decorating contest will be part of an annual festival celebrated by Filipinos in Dubai next week.

“This year’s Bayanihan Festival promises to be exciting, fun-filled and educational,” said Ollie Pineda, its programme director.

It will also feature recycled art and flower-arranging contests, a quiz show, and a Who’s the Champion? club competition.

Groups also have a chance to win a prize for the best bahay kubo (nipa hut). Bayanihan refers to helping people in times of need and the spirit of leadership, volunteering and a sense of unity. It is also an old custom wherein a group of Filipinos help carry one’s house, a nipa hut, on their shoulders to move it.

Now on its fifth year, the event is being organised by FilCom, which represents groups in Dubai and the Northern Emirates accredited by the Philippine consulate in Dubai. However, groups of friends, colleagues or family members in the UAE who are not FilCom members can also participate.

As in previous years, there will be a parade, a mini-bazaar, a talent show and a performance by Pinoy Salamangka, a group of Filipino magicians. Five celebrity guests from the Philippines have been invited.

There is a Bayanihan photo booth on Facebook, while parents can relax at the Bayanihan garden with their children.

“But it’s not all about having fun,” Ms Pineda said.

Organisers will set up a Bayanihan “classroom” for people to learn more about health and safety, professional development and financial literacy.

About 40 organisations are helping preparations that began last month, said Matilyn Bagunu, the new president of FilCom.

“Everyone is excited,” she said. “Our plans for the festival are now taking shape.”

A portion of the proceeds will go to a disaster relief fund.

“Our country is constantly besieged by natural disasters,” said Alan Bacason, the former FilCom president who now chairs Filcom’s ways and means committee. “We should always strive for unity and help our countrymen. That’s the essence of the true bayanihan spirit.”

The festival will be held on November 30 from 9am to 10pm at the Zabeel Park Megabowl in Dubai.

rruiz@thenational.ae