Gearing up for the August 17 Halo-halo festival

Calendar Community Jul 25, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Halo-Halo-Graphic-3By Voltaire R. de Leon

You are all in for a surprise. The first Halo Halo Festival is winding up for a great Sunday the 17th of August. It will be quite a ride.

The newly-formed Halo Halo Organization or H2O will be hosting the event at the Artscape Wychwood Barns (St. Clair West and Christie). If you haven’t seen this place, here’s your chance to see it. Bring the family. Hook up with your friends . Come and enjoy. We’ve laid out a whole day of song, art, dance, martial arts and games.

An outdoor mass is planned for 10am. National anthems follow, of course. We have invited Senator Jun Enverga, Consul General Junever Mahilum-West and Ward 21 Councillor Joe Mihevc to join us. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the celebration begins.

What are we celebrating in August?

H2O chose a date closest to the Ninoy Aquino national holiday of August 21 to remember the day Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr. was martyred in 1983. Ninoy is the latest in a long line of national heroes: Lapu-Lapu, Dagohoy, Gabriela Silang, GomBurZa, ‘Plaridel’, the Lunas, Rizal, Bonifacio, , Mabini, de los Reyes, Sakay, —to cite a few of them throughout our history.

When we celebrate our heroes, we rediscover in ourselves the best that Filipinos could be. I think that is what Ninoy meant when he said, ‘The Filipino is worth dying for.’ The Halo Halo festival is such a celebration. There are many things about the Filipino nation that are worth celebrating. But for me, it is our extraordinary acceptance of our cultural diversity. Think about it: we are all Filipinos from 7,100 islands. Our numbers are rising to 110 million at the end of this decade. Any one of us will speak at least one of 90 languages from as many tribal origins. You will see all that at the Halo Halo Festival.

There will be dances from the Igorot banga of the northern highlands of Ifugao , the Bisayan tinikling in Leyte to the itik-itik of Surigao in the far south island of Mindanao.

A Filipino Master will demonstrate the Filipino martial arts of Arnis.

Remember the games we played in our childhood. Our kids will learn them at the H2O Fest: sipa, patentero, tumba preso and ‘board games’ like the Sungka.
There will be vocal performers: rap, pop, rock. The Knights of Rizal, Toronto, will stage a very quick history of the Philippines. Filipino entrepreneurs will show you their wares: from insurance to beauty products.

And what is a Filipino festival without food: the easy adobo, perhaps lechon kawali … or how about a tapsilog. Treat your non-Filipino friends to dinuguan or a serving of balut.

There will be paintings by local Filipino artists on display. Who knows — one of them might just give you a few lessons on how to draw.

Our partner, the Philippine Consulate will run a workshop on gaining back your Filipino citizenship or getting one., give you a visual tour of contemporary Philippines so that you’ll be in Palawan in no time flat, show you how to vote here when the next Philippine election comes along.