Jersey City plays host to Philippine-American Friendship Day Parade and Festival
Published: Monday, June 25, 2012, 3:00 AM
Andrew Steadman/The Jersey JournalPAFCOM (Philippine-American Friendship Festival) gallery (21 photos)
The 22nd annual Philippine-American Friendship Day Parade and Festival drew thousands of people yesterday to Jersey City, which has one of the largest Filipino communities in the nation.
The festival at Lincoln Park featured food, music and entertainment, including performances by Miss Philippines International 2010 Krista Kleiner, Filipino R&B singer JayR, and Kris Lawrence, the 2006 winner of a Filipino TV network talent search.
Parade Grand Marshal Victor G. Sison, an attorney and former Jersey City Municipal Court judge, said the parade and festival were resoundingly successful, attracting 70 groups of marchers and thousands of onlookers.
Sison said the parade and festival are important because Jersey City is home to a large population of Philippine-Americans.
“The fastest growing Filipino community is in Jersey City,” Sison said.
He added the festivities are dubbed “Friendship Day” for a reason: Jersey City residents of all nationalities are invited to attend and enjoy the celebration of Filipino culture. He said the festival is also a way for the older generation of Philippine-Americans to teach the younger generation about the roots of the community in the United States.
“We paved the way for them,” Sison said.
The festival featured dozens of clothing and food booths with traditional Filipino food. Cecilia Evangelista, who staffed her Maricel’s Home Cooking booth, offered traditional Filipino fare, including dinuguan (pork stew), and pandan tea with brown sugar.
T-shirts bearing the image of Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino boxing champ and politician, were selling like hotcakes.
“It’s cool,” city resident Maria Yordan said of the festival. “I’m here every year. I live just a few blocks away.”
Jersey City Councilman Rolando Lavarro was the parade’s honorary grand marshal.
“I was deeply honored and thrilled that the community that has raised me ... and inspire me, that they honored me,” Lavarro said.
“It has grown and matured,” Lavarro added, about the Filipino community in Jersey City.