MFFC celebrates Philippine Independence Day with unveiling of Rizal statue
By Dindo Orbeso
Photo: Ed Cusi
June 21, 2016
On June 5th, 2016, the City of Markham was flooded with beautiful colours of our Filipino costumes as people converged to the Markham Civic Centre. The Markham Federation of Filipino Canadians marked the Philippine Independence Day celebration with a flag raising ceremony at the Markham Civic Centre.
The MFFC Youth Performing Arts Group (YPAG) sang the national anthems while the MFFC Seniors serenaded the crowd with Ako Ay Pilipino. Mayor Frank Scarpitti made a surprise announcement that will surely make all Filipinos in Canada, especially those in Markham, proud of their heritage and history.
A proposed statue of Dr. Jose Rizal was presented to everyone’s surprise and appreciation. This is a joint project by Markham councilor Alex Chiu and Mayor Scarpitti and hopefully next year’s flag raising ceremonies will be held in this location.
Words from the City of Markham states: “The propose monument will be approximately 6' tall plus 4' base. Plinth in granite and foundation to be designed in conjunction with the general layout of the park by the City. It will be in the Boxgrove Community Park across from the Rizal Avenue wherein a small parkette will be designated as Luneta Gardens. The rationale behind the Rizal Monument is to honour a man who spent his life advocating for ideas and principles that inspire generations of freedom fighters around the world. Dr. Jose Rizal, who, in the age of imperialism, colonialism and feudalism, envisioned in his writings (1890s) a new world order "in which men are free of tyranny, bigotry and slavery, where justice reigns and all nations live together in fraternal harmony". By adding his monument, it will give physical representation to this distinguished gentleman for whom the street, Rizal Avenue, was named. The City of Markham will be made richer with the addition of this landmark Public Art in our efforts to build the most harmonious multicultural City in Canada.”
The afternoon program had several performances by the MFFC YPAG and MFFC Seniors, Trinity, the Fall, the newly formed trio JAZ, Jason Nunez and many others. Although the afternoon event was marred by rainfall, the performers ventured on and sang and danced in the rain to the delight of the audience.
Truly meeting the long-cherished desire of recognizing purposefully the "remarkable achievements of Filipino Canadians across Canada", the 1st Golden Balangay Awards was significantly launched on March 18, 2017 at the Edward Village Hotel in North York, Toronto. Thus, the first nationwide search for outstanding Filipinos in Canada is now underway !
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