Ambassador Manalo (center) joins Barrio Fiesta organizers from the Philippine Centre and local British officials on stage (photo by Spooner Studios)
(London, 2 July) – Festivities marking Philippine
Independence Month reached their climax with the staging of the biggest Barrio Fiesta in London last 30 June.
Lampton Park in the London Borough of Hounslow played host to over 50,000 Filipino and British merrymakers over the course of the end-of-June weekend. Philippine Ambassador Enrique A. Manalo took to the main stage together with organizers from the Philippine Center, local British officials and Filipino entertainers to greet all the fiesta guests and visitors. The Embassy also set up an information station to provide consular, tourism, labour and social services for the thousands in attendance.
The Barrio Fiesta in Hounslow was the culmination of an Independence Month filled with joyous and meaningful activities. Celebrations in June began with a traditional Thanksgiving Mass and salo-salo at the Holy Apostles Church in central London, followed by a merienda cena with the Filipino community and a Flag Raising at the Philippine Embassy.
Other events within June included the Filipino Women’s Association-UK National Day dinner and dance, the 151st Dr. Jose Rizal Birth Anniversary commemoration by the Knights of Rizal, the Philippine Generations Independence Day World Cup, the Filipinism art exhibit of the Kunst Gallery, and the East Meets West II concert featuring the group West End Mamas and prima ballerina Lisa Macuja.
Throughout June, there were also other barrio fiestas and National Day celebrations staged by Filipino communities all around the UK, including Bristol, Morden, Oxfordshire, Peterborough, Newcastle, Leeds, Yorkshire, Milton Keynes, Cardiff, Hythe, Leicester, Greenwich and Birmingham.
This year’s June celebrations were enhanced by significant events and milestones happening in London, particularly President Benigno S. Aquino III’s first ever Official Visit to the UK, the Queen’s Jubilee, and the arrival of the Philippine delegation to the Summer Olympic Games.