It was 12 June 1898 when Filipino revolutionary forces proclaimed the sovereignty and independence of the Philippine Islands from the 333-year colonial rule of Spain. Year after year, various groups in the Philippines and around the globe are observing this triumphal day with numerous forms of merry-making and events that showcase Philippine culture and ingenuity.
What can one expect of celebrations by Filipinos? It would certainly be spirited, joyous and filled with a family atmosphere. From fashion shows, beauty pageants, and dance competitions to sports tournaments, food festivals, parades, music and film productions by well-known artists. Such activities aim to demonstrate camaraderie and brotherhood among fellowmen.
This year on 14 June 2009, the Filipino Ministry of CHC invited Christian Filipino celebrities such as Barbie Almalbis, Danica Sotto and three members of the dynamic dance troupe Manoeuvres to perform at The Riverwalk in Clarke Quay. Over 260 Filipinos witnessed their impressive show of talents and heard their life-changing testimonies. Crowds cheered and sang along, undoubtedly feeling closer to home.
Prior to that, the Philippine flag was raised and every Filipino heartily sang the national anthem, “Lupang Hinirang” (Chosen Land). A special number was delivered by the members of the Filipino cell groups in the form of a folk dance called Jota Macadena, also known as Maria Clara, which portrays traditional courtship during Spanish colonial period.
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Adding on to the program that afternoon was an inspiring message given by senior pastor of CHC, Kong Hee, who shared his ministry experiences as a young pastor on a mission trip to the Philippines. It was in the northern region in 1986 where he first led a crusade in which hundreds of Filipinos received Jesus into their hearts, were delivered and healed of sicknesses. Noticing the backdrop behind him was written, “Ang Bayan Kong Pilipinas” (My Nation, Philippines), he asked, “What is my name doing there?” He commented that it simply goes to show that he will always have special ties with this lovely nation. The afternoon ended with decisions made by different ones to live out their destiny in God, followed by a hearty meal coupled with warm fellowship and strengthened ties among Filipino brethren.