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02/08/2010: Bayanihan spirit defines the highly successful Philippine Village in this year’s Asian Festival in Virginia

August 2, 2010, Washington, DC – The 7th Annual Asian Festival Showcasing the Philippines held on July 31, to August 1, 2010 in Reston, Virginia was a huge success.

As the showcase country, the Philippine American Foundation for Charities, Inc. in partnership with the Embassy of the Philippines, organized a Philippine Village which presented the rich and diverse culture of the Philippines through cultural performances, food and trade vendors, interactive displays and indigenous games.

The Filipino-American community from the Washington DC Metropolitan area joined hands and with the heart of a true volunteer, committed their time and resources to present the best of the Philippines in the largest Asian festival in the East Coast.  The Asian Festival featured at least thirty-five Asian-American food vendors, more than 150 retail stores and attended by some 60,000 to 70,000 guests. Ms. Bing Branigin actively engaged the Asian Festival organizers on the Philippines’ participation this year.

The public learned more about the beautiful tourist attractions in the Philippines through the information booth of the Philippine Department of Tourism.

For two days, guests enjoyed a treat of traditional Filipino dances, Arnis and cooking demonstrations and rock concerts. Audiences were amazed with the fruit, vegetable and ice carving demonstration by the famous Paete woodcarvers, and were satisfied by the cooking demonstration by White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford and Master Chef Evelyn Bunoan.

Known for creativity and talent in the performing arts, dance troupes from different parts of Maryland and Virginia entertained guests with their colorful and lively performances. Among the performers were Washington, DC-based professional dancer Mr. Sidney Ignacio, the Filipino Ministry of All Saints Church of Manassas, Pampango Youth Club, Richmond Pilipino Class, Pilipino American Cultural Arts Society, Young at Heart Philippine Folk Dancers, Mabuhay, Inc., Hulala Yoyo Inc., Migrant Heritage Commission, Tito Boy Scouts, YFAMD, Philippine Cultural Center School of Creative and Performing Arts of Virginia, Virginia Tech Filipino American Student Association and the Cebuano Speaking Association of Tidewater.

The Philippine Stage also presented Filipino martial arts Arnis demonstration by Mr. Roman Picardo and Kali demonstration by Sayoc Kali.

Filipino excellence in music was highlighted in the Asian Festival through the performances of Ms. April Talangbayan on the flute, Mr. Carlo Tuason on violin and the Tanghalang Pilipino Angklung Ensemble and Mr. Raymond Leslie Diaz (tenor). International star Stephanie Reese  who is also known as the Miss Saigon of Germany, the Princess Tuptim of King and I in London and the first Filipina-American to perform in Carnegie Hall brought out that distinct and pitch perfect Filipino musicality.

The audience enjoyed the refreshing sight and sound of New York-based singer-songwriter Alfa,  trained by Don Lawrence in NYC (Tracy Bonham, Lady Gaga, Mick Jagger) and whose smart-pop songs have captivated the likes of MTV, the New York Songwriters Circle, Best Buy, and iPhone app makers.

The Philippine Village remained packed well through the night with the young and old singing with The Speaks, a young, talented, and charismatic five-piece band from the Washington, DC area as they performed their chart topping “High” from the band’s album released by Warner Music (Asia). Lead vocalist of The Speaks is Filipino-American Raf Toledo.

The Asian Festival also got a taste of up and coming Filipino artists such as the Ivy Rose band, an all-female band who played opening acts for bands such as Weezer and Ben Folds; singer-songwriter from New Jersey Jay Legaspi; and, young hiphop artist Li’l Desi.

Filipino brands such as Mama Sita and Magnolia ice cream were prominently displayed and sold as well as native Filipino bags and Philippine-themed statement shirts. Philippine broadcasting network GMA Pinoy TV and the Philippine National Bank also participated in the festival.

Vendors selling Filipino food reported good sales and the famous Filipino dessert halo-halo was another blockbuster.

Through the interactive booths and children’s corners, the young and old learned how to play Filipino bamboo instrument angklung, dance Tinikling and write in Filipino ancient script Baybayin (Alibata).

As what Philippine Ambassador to the United States Willy C. Gaa re-affirmed in his remarks during the opening ceremony of the 7th Annual Asian Festival Showcasing the Philippines, the Philippine Village is the outcome of the generosity and cooperation of the vibrant Filipino community in the Metropolitan Washington DC area and beyond. -- END

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Willy C. Gaa (right) officially opened the 7th Annual Asian Festival Showcasing the Philippines on July 31, 2010 in Reston, Virginia by sounding the gong with US Tennis Association President Lucy Garvin (left) and assisted by ABC 7 news anchor Greta Kreuz (center). The two day Annual Asian Festival is the largest Asian festival in the East Coast attended by some 60,000 to 70,000 people each year.

(Left) Washington, DC-based Pilipino American Cultural Arts Society (PACAS) performs Jota de Manila at the main stage of the 7th Annual Asian Festival Showcasing the Philippines on July 31, 2010 in Reston, Virginia.

(Right) The Filipino Ministry of All Saints Church of Manassas performing Malong-malong at the main stage of the 7th Annual Asian Festival Showcasing the Philippines on July 31, 2010 in Reston, Virginia.

(Left) Pampango Youth Club performs Sayaw sa Banga at the Philippine Stage during the 7th Annual Asian Festival Showcasing the Philippines on July 31, 2010.

(Right) Richmond Pilipino Class performs Tinikling at the Philippine Stage during the 7th Annual Asian Festival Showcasing the Philippines on July 31, 2010.

Ms. Jade Estrada as Reyna Elena at the Santacruzan held on July 31, 2010 to open the 7th Annual Asian Festival Showcasing the Philippines.

Crowd favorite The Speaks, a young, talented, and charismatic five-piece band from the Washington, DC area as they perform their chart topping “High” from the band’s album released by Warner Music (Asia) at the Philippine Village during the 7th Annual Asian Festival Showcasing the Philippines on July 31, 2010 in Reston, Virginia. Lead vocalist of The Speaks is Filipino-American Raf Toledo.

(Left) International star and Broadway performer Stephanie Reese performs at the biggest Asian festival in the mid-Atlantic area, the 7th Annual Asian Festival Showcasing the Philippines on July 31, 2010.

(Right) Young fans came out to see Ivy Rose perform live at the Philippine Village during the 7th Annual Asian Festival in Reston, Virginia on July 31, 2010.

(Left) White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford showed the audience in the Philippine Village how to prepare a delicious and healthy meal in line with the advocacy of First Lady Michelle Obama on healthy eating.

(Right) One of several vendors  selling famous Filipino dessert halo-halo, a certified hit in the 7th Annual Asian Festival showcasing the Philippines held on July 31 to August 1, 2010 in Reston, Virginia.

Kids enjoy creating their own Christmas lantern and learning how to play Filipino sport, TiyakaI at the Philippine Village during the 7th Annual Asian Festival showcasing the Philippines on July 31 to August 1, 2010 in Reston, Virginia.

Virginia-based Filipino stoneware potter Hadrian Mendoza with some of his works and the Paete carvers booth displaying their famous woodcarvings at the 7th Annual Asian Festival Showcasing the Philippines held on July 31 to August 1, 2010 in Reston, Virginia. Paete in Laguna province is known as the Philippines’ carving capital.

(Left) Shoppers can’t get enough of My Bayong products which were made in the Philippines at the Philippine Village during the 7th Annual Asian Festival Showcasing the Philippines on July 31 to August 1, 2010 in Reston, Virginia. (Right) Philippine-themed statement shirts were also popular among the young and not so young Filipino-Americans.

Philippine-made food seasoning Mama Sita and other Filipino food products prominently displayed and sold at the Philippine Village during the 7th Annual Asian Festival showcasing the Philippines on July 31 to August 1, 2010 in Reston, Virginia.

Guests at the 7th Annual Asian Festival get to know more about the Philippines through the information booth of the Philippine Department of Tourism (left) and learn how to visit its beautiful tourist attractions through Filipino-owned Travel Outlet.