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  • The Philippine Indepen­dence Day Council (PIDC), a non-profit organization known for putting together many “firsts” in the community is getting ready for another unprecedented event in the Greater Toronto Area. PIDC was the first to organize a multi- day event to celebrate Philippine culture, the first to partner with Harbourfront Centre, the first to organize a three-day event at Toronto City Hall, the first to in­clude a street parade to its an­nual celebration, the first to hold a Filipino Festival at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the first to partner with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce, the first to organize a three-day multi divi­sional basketball tournament and more. PIDC continues to pave the way in ensuring Philippine heritage and culture thrives in the hearts and minds of Filipinos and Canadians.

    PIDC’s signature event, the 16th annual Mabuhay Phil­ippines Festival, is set to deliver another extraordinary addition to Toronto’s summer festival line-up with the theme for this year being “Pagdiriwang” or Cel­ebration. The event will be on August 23 and 24 2014. Activities will start at 12:00pm to 10:00 pm on Saturday and 12:00pm to 6:00pm on Sunday.The festival is proudly presented by the Toronto Do­minion Bank at our new lo­cation, David Pecaut Square (215 King Street West) in the heart of Toronto’s Entertain­ment District, sandwiched between Roy Thompson Hall and Metro Hall. The square is easily accessible by public transit with plenty of parking. It is also at the pulse of week­end events and is bustling with people. Steps away from Rogers Centre, MTCC, Air Canada Centre and Ripley’s Aquarium, it was also the site of this year’s Luminato Festi­val.

    Expect to see some of the best local Filipino-Ca­nadian talents with segments such as “Return of the Cham­pions” with Jasmine Ragual, Candace Santos, Roy Tugbong and Glen Montero. Join in the fun with students from the JDL School of Performing Arts in their show called “Halo-Halo”. Relive your favorite daytime Phil­ippine soap operas with Chyrell Samson and friends in “Mga Mahal Kong Teleserye”. Former and current PIDC pageant con­testants are renowned for being beautiful and talented; catch them perform in a segment called “PIDC Pageant All Stars”. Follow in the hilarious story of one man’s path to discovery that leads him to Filtown. Don’t miss the comic book illustrator group “Spent Pencils” in the veranda of Metro Hall as they highlight Filipino super heroes. Other fea­tured performers include Belin­da Copuz, Martina Ortiz, Victoria Marie, Ryan Flores, The Fiesta Filipina Dance Troupe, Folklori­co Filipino Canada and more.

    The highlight of this year’s Mabuhay Philippines Fes­tival is something people will not want to miss. PIDC is bringing some of the most famous Phil­ippine Festivals to life. Morio­nes, Sinulog, Maskara, Panag­benga, Dinagyang, Kaamulan and Flores de Mayo are just a few of the celebrations that will be seen at this year’s event. Ex­perience the sights and sounds of authentic Philippine street parades right here in Canada. Transport yourself to different regions like Marinduque, Cebu, Baguio, Bacolod and more to partake in their annual celebra­tions. To make the parade even more spectacular, costumes for these featured fiestas are being flown in from the Philip­pines and created by world-re­nowned designers Renee Salud and Shannon Pamaong. In ad­dition, Randy Guevara will be choreographing the march to make the presentation magnifi­cent. Groups and associations are invited and encouraged to join in the fanfare. If you would like more information on how your group can be a part of this unique event, please contact Parade Chair, Gene Elamparo at jeanpardo28@gmail.com.

    The Mabuhay Philip­pines Festival has something for every member of the family including vendors with various products and 6 of the top Filipi­no restaurants serving their best dishes. No need to buy tickets because the entire Festival is FREE! Sponsorship and a limit­ed number of vendor opportuni­ties are still available. For more information about becoming a festival vendor, please contact Minda Neri atvox999@gmail. com or call her at 416 621- 4985. Alternatively, you can also contact Evelyn Pagkalinawan atevelyn2013@yahoo.com. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Tom Tan at tom­or call him at 416 846-4272.

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