By ER Cruz|
Welcome to Philfest!
Tampa Bay's Philippine Festival, popularly known by Philfest, its trade marked name, the largest three-day
outdoor festival of its kind held on its own
10-acre grounds in Florida, crowned by
its magni cent cultural arts center, the Bayanihan
Arts and Events Center.
Described by some, like then
Florida Governor Jeb Bush, as a new US landmark, it
has been spoken of as a
cultural icon -- a branding that
no Filipino, or anyone for
that matter, will dispute.
Set in typical Philippine barrio surroundings, visitors often see it as a minature representation of the Philippines
with the abundance of Philippine products, food, entertainment, cultural exhibits, and presentations -- and specially the colorful traditional Philippine attires and costumes worn by the hosts and performers.
Festival goers, old and young alike who've spent time in
the Philippines will be reminded of that experience
here. those who miss tastylicious Filipino cuisine can get
it from "turo-turo" type of food vendors. Younger
visitors will find Philfest has everything for everyone as
they enjoy Revolution 2010 -- a hip hop dance
organized by the youth (and enjoyed by the "young once"
if we may say so).
For first-timers, the three-day Philfest is a great way
to get introduced to Philippine arts, culture, and
-- aside from meeting Filipinos from all walks of life
around Florida, and yes, from around and out of the
country too! Wasn't it just a few seasons ago when four
Philippine Senators visited Philfest.
By the way, aside from fun and entertainment you could
be at Philfest for other needs -- such as consular
Those coming for the Consulate-on-Wheels program of the
Philippine Embassy, will find consular stationed
at the Cimafranca Library of the Bayanihan Arts and
Events Center. One could save traveling time when
their papers are processed onsite. Make sure all your
paperwork are proper and you're good to go!
The Bayanihan Arts and Events Center probably sums up
Filipino culture and heritage in its entirety.
Complete with a Filipiniana library, exhibits of
cultural artifacts, furniture, costumes, and
architecture, one will
walk away more knowledgeable of the unique history of
the "the Pearl of the Orient" -- the Philippines.
Reaching the festival site has certainly changed for
those who've been there on its early years -- about 15
ago. From the main thoroughfare, the secondary roads
have widened and commercial structures have sprung
up in every direction. Not that it was much easier going
then, as at present, directional flags and signs lead the
way, courtesy of the local government which considers
Philfest as a major area event.
Yes, like everyone else, you need to purchase a ticket
to get past the gates. Parking is also available for a
fee. Remember, anything you spend here goes towards the
benefit of the Philippine Cultural Enrichment Complex,
a project of the Philippine Cultural Foundation, Inc. a
501(c)3 non-profit organization.
This year the event is managed by Philfest Chairman Rudy
Bautista, with David Sweet, Roger Caculitan and Roy
Covarrubias as vice-chairs, with members of its
committees assisting in any way they can.
Within its humble beginnings just over a decade,
Philfest has become sort of a national event to Filipino
Americans. Obviously the organizers and members have
been pretty good for coming this far. It is an event
look forward to, not only for the great food or
entertainment, but rather for preserving their culture
heritage and most importantly in passing on a cultural
legacy to their children.
Event name: Philfest
Date: March 26, 27, 28 2010
Location: 14301 Nine Eagles Drive, Tampa, Florida 33626