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Filipinos Celebrate in Style on Madison Ave.

11 Jun


  With summer fast approaching, NYC has a parade happening almost every weekend throughout the 5 boroughs.  As it turned out the first weekend of June had two parades happening not too far from each other.  Albert and I headed down to 5th Ave to check out the preparations for the Israeli parade early Sunday morning.  After taking some photos at the Israeli parade, I would run over to Madison Ave and 38th St. for the start of the Philippine Parade.  This is the largest celebration of Philippine Independence outside the Philippines for the last 17 years.


   When I arrived a large crowds had already gathered on two cross streets with floats, marching bands, dancing groups and children ready to walk in the parade. Everyone and I included was waiting for much-anticipated guest of honor the Vice President of the Philippines Jejomar Binay and the Philippine ambassador to the US Jose L. Cuisia. The parade was scheduled to start at noon but was delayed and started about 45 minutes later. Leading the parade was Grand Marshall Mr. Nick Libramonte  followed by representatives of the Philippine Consulate and other dignitaries. The parade started on Madison Ave. and 38th St.with marching contingents in brightly colored traditional costumes or uniforms, floats and open cars with winners of different Philippine beauty pageants waving to the cheering crowd.  Classy ladies walked down Madison Ave. in their elegant dresses and the fancy parasols that made one think of another era. Loud cheers came from the crowd when one of the floats made its way down with matinée idol from the Philippines, Jericho Rosales and pop singer Karylle Padilla.

     Social issues were not to be lost in the celebration as a large group of young students protested loudly about the need to stop human trafficking and sending their people to other countries for cheap labor. I sent Albert a text to come down to this parade as it was a blast. A parade just isn’t a parade without a marching band and the crowd was pleased to see the all girl marching of Mother Cabrini play loud and proud. The parade came to a climatic end when visiting from Iloilo, Philippine the amazing group Tribu Pan-ay of Fort San Pedro National High School danced to the cheering crowd. They had just won the grand prize in the Festival Street dance Competition, part of the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival. Their choreography and vivid costumes were crowd pleasers as revelers followed them as they danced their way down the parade route to fast drums and loud cheers.

The cultural festival started at the end of the parade on an open air stage in the center of Madison Ave. and 23rd St with performances by talented Philippine and Philippine-American singers, dancers and musicians. The crowd sang along with the famous Annie Brazil who is tagged as Asia’s Queen of Jazz.  At 78-year-old, the iconic singer could still belt out those ballads. It was a real treat for Albert and me to listen to her and watch the crowd sing along to her old tunes made famous in the Philippines.  Then Tribu Pan-Ay returned for a repeat performance that just wowed the crowd with their high energy dance moves and drum beat. They were fantastic.


Just for fun–can’t forget our 4 legged furry friends who took part also in the parade. Tyronne the police dog and friend wearing the Philippine flag. This was Tyronne’s first parade. After all the attention he received from both police and spectators, I am sure he will be back next year.

Two great parades in one day.  Only in New York.

Next Parades:

June 12th – Puerto Rican Day Parade ~ 5th Ave and 47th St 11am.

June 18th ~ Mermaid Parade ~ Surf Ave and 21st St, Coney Island, Brooklyn 2pm

June 26th ~ Pride Parade ~ 36th and 5th Ave at noon.

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