By Chelsea Tan
Photo by Rodel Lozano
Imagine walking into old school Manila, through the iconic facades of the Manila Church and Luneta Park. You don’t have to make believe because of this year, because Fiesta Filipino is celebrating its 5th anniversary between August 31st until September 1st and will be recreating these landmarks in downtown Calgary.
One can expect to see iconic Filipino monuments at the Olympic Plaza this year, get a taste of authentic street food, see world-renowned Filipino celebrities and experience the largest Filipino festival that Alberta has to offer.
“In collaboration with Arts Commons, Fiesta goers will gain free access to an interactive, full-blown living museum showcasing artwork from Filipino artists when they enter the Arts Commons building,” says Vangie Caoile, a Fiesta Filipino organizer.
Fiesta Filipino attracted over 66,000 guests last year, gaining attention from Filipinos, Canadians and people from all over the world.
Food is a trademark of Filipino hospitality and this year 15 food vendors will indulge guests with unique and savoury flavors.
Red hot chili pepper and jackfruit flavoured ice cream are some of the crazy treats that one can expect to try. Returning best-sellers will include delicious food from Max’s restaurant, Pacifichut Restaurant and Bakeshop, Adobo Experience (Memorial Drive) and Roc’s Grill, to name a few.
There will be a “tambayan” area, a beer garden section for adults, which is a new feature at Fiesta. San Miguel Beer and snacks will be served in the tambayan area
Younger guests can enjoy playing Filipino games at the Youth Zone.
“Pabitin”, a fun and competitive traditional game will be played throughout the three-day event, as well as a spinoff of “The Amazing Race” for kids. The schedule for events will be posted on Fiesta Filipino’s social media accounts, so make sure to follow the official website (fiestafilipinoyyc.com), their Facebook page (Fiesta Filipino 2019) and Instagram account (@fiestafilipinoyyc) for updates.
Launching on Friday, August 30th, the Fiesta will be kicking off around lunchtime with food vendors and exhibitors to welcome guests. That night One Big Jam will be held on stage.
Saturday will be busy from 10 a.m until 9 p.m with a major celebrity guest appearance from GMA Network’s star, Miss Lovi Poe. There will be Filipino cultural dances and performances on stage throughout the day.
On Sunday, September 1st, Fiesta Filipino will proudly walk at the YYC Pride Parade to support the LGBT community.
“We are partnering with a Filipino advocacy group called Bahag hari to make this happen,” Caoile says.
Stage performances will be held to honor the LGBT community through a variety show, which will include a mini runway and comedy stints from various guests.
Come early at 10 a.m. on Sunday to enjoy a fun zumba class until lunch time. In the afternoon, a second major celebrity guest, Mr. Ian Veneracion will be performing live onstage. Fiesta wraps up on Sunday at 8 p.m.