Filipinos celebrate own fiesta in Japan
TOKYO, Japan – Every city and barrio (neighborhood) in the Philippines celebrates fiestas (festivals) almost every other month, and on June 18 and June 19, the largest Filipino community here hosted their own festival at Hibiya Park in Chiyoda City.
The festival is held to commemorate 60 years since the start of Japan-Philippines diplomatic relations.
During the two-day event, the festival offered visitors the chance to listen to Philippine music and skits performed by Filipino singers, personalities and celebrities. Among those invited were Michael Pangilinan, Ogie Alcasid, and Ate Gay.
Other programs include a fashion show featuring traditional Philippine clothing and the country's popular games.
Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez said 2016 Philippine Festival event enticed more than 100,000 visitors who were present to witness the showcase of the best in Philippine culture, craft, music, dance, and food.
Now on its 5th year, the Philippine Festival is aimed to reach out to the over 240,000 Filipinos in Japan, fostering friendship between them and Japanese.
Clamor for Duterte
On the sidelines of the event, Rappler spoke to a few Filipinos working in Japan and asked them what they feel about the change in leadership come June 30.
Delia Takizawa, a Filipina businesswoman residing in Japan, said she is optimistic about the Philippines under the leadership of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte.
"Mukhang determinado siyang baguhin ang Pilipinas kaya sana mangyari yoon. Susuportahan namin siya dito from Japan. (He seems determined to bring about change in the Philippines. I hope that happens. We will support him here in Japan)," Takizawa, who has been working in Japan for 27 years, said in an interview.
The Filipina businesswoman said she expects Duterte to fulfill his promises on eradicating crime and corruption in the Philippines.
Her concerns were echoed by Maria Leonora Delos Reyes, a Filipina dancer who has been working in Japan for 23 years.
"Sana mabago niya ang Pilipinas. Magkaroon ng death penalty yung mga nagrarape, yung ma drug lords, sana mahuli niya na lahat. Ingatan din niya yung sarili niya kasi mukhang maraming nagbabanta sa buhay niya. Willing kaming suportahan siya para sa pagbabago ng PIlipinas at sa kaunlaran nating lahat," Delos Reyes said.
(I hope he can bring about change in the Philippines. I hope he’ll impose death penalty to rapists, and imprison all the drug lords there. He should also take care of himself because it looks like a lot he’s been receiving death threats. We are willing to support him for the Philippines to change and progress of all Filipinos.)
Raph Imperial, a Pampanga native who now works as a structural engineer in Japan, said he hopes Duterte will give overseas Filipinos a reason to come back home.
"Make us want to return to the Philippines. We’re looking forward to that. I hope we can work there in the Philippines and come back home; so that our sacrifice as OFWs will pay off," Imperial said in a mix of Filipino and English. – Rappler.com
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