Filipino pride goes online with first virtual Independence Day celebrations in UAE
Dubai's Burj Khalifa will light up in Philippine colours on Friday at 9.15pm.
There may be Covid-19 safety measures restricting mass gatherings, but Filipinos in the UAE won't let their Independence Day pass without proving that the kabayan spirit shall shine against all odds.
On Friday, thousands of Filipino expats across the country are expected to tune in to live-stream celebrations, one of which will be capped by the sight of Dubai's Burj Khalifa lighting up in Philippine colours.
"Together, let us thank the UAE for honouring the Philippines and the Filipinos on our Independence Day," Hjayceelyn M. Quintana, Philippine Ambassador to the UAE, said in a message for the community.
Every year, the Filipino community has always come together for massive cultural events to commemorate the June 12, 1898, proclamation of Philippine independence from 333 years of Spanish colonial rule. Last year, the line-up of concerts and gatherings even stretched towards the end of June. A special IMAGINE show at the Dubai Festival City also honoured Philippine history.
This time, all festivities will be held online. At the Philippine Consulate in Dubai, the day will start with a virtual flag-raising ceremony to be streamed on the mission's Facebook page at 8am.
At 11am, the Filipino Social Club (FilSoc) will begin a celebration on its pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and website.
There will be live speeches from Philippine government officials and Filipino celebrities, as well as performance numbers by local artists. Viewers will also be treated to pre-recorded jams of singers Julie San Jose, The Clash Season 1 winner Golden Caņedo and first runner- up Garrett Bolden.
Over a hundred prizes, including two roundtrip airline tickets, will be given away during an hour-long trivia portion, where viewers will be quizzed about Philippine history, civic and social studies. And by 6pm, the Original Pinoy Music (OPM) Acoustic Night will take over, featuring UAE-based bands and performers.
FilSoc will also be awarding inspiring Filipinos in Gawad Pinoy 2020 and Gawad Pinoy Senior Citizen 2020.
At the end of the online event, the page will feature a live coverage of the Philippine flag's LED display on the Burj Khalifa at 9.15pm.
"We are inviting kabayans to be with us virtually in this one-of-a-kind observance of the Philippine Independence Day," said Erwin Tom Lladoc Jr., FilSoc's PID 2020 chairperson.
Another virtual festivity will also be hosted by the Kalayaan 2020 team on its Facebook event page from 12pm until 4pm, set to entertain viewers with song and dance numbers, celebrity performances, contests and games.
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