Vancouver block party to celebrate Indigenous Filipino hero Lapu Lapu

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  • In a historic proclamation last spring, the province of British Columbia paid tribute to the first national hero of the Philippines, Lapu Lapu—an Indigenous warrior and chieftain.

    On April 27, 1521, Lapu Lapu courageously led local Indigenous fighters to victory, thwarting Spanish colonization in the iconic Battle of Mactan in what is now the modern-day Philippine province of Cebu.

    To honour this legacy, Filipino BC, in collaboration with the Sunset on Fraser Business Association, is thrilled to announce the Lapu Lapu Day Block Party. Set against the vibrant backdrop of Vancouver’s multicultural Sunset neighborhood on Fraser Street, this multi-block festival promises an unparalleled celebration in spring 2024.

    The festivities will showcase a rich tapestry of Filipino culture through captivating performances, engaging exhibits, delectable food stalls, unique gift markets, and an exciting basketball tournament.

    Rob Nijjar works as the Executive Director of the Sunset on Fraser Business Association, whose mission includes promoting the area as a safe and friendly business, dining, and shopping district.

    “The Sunset area is a major hub for the Filipino community, and we engage members of the hardworking community every day in our shops and businesses,” Nijjar says.

    “The Lapu Lapu block party is our way of celebrating and sharing the rich culture and heritage of Filipinos,” Nijjar adds.

    Kristina Corpin-Moser is the Project Director of Filipino BC and event organizer for the Lapu Lapu Block Party.

    “Lapu Lapu Day is a reminder that our story is not one of colonization but one of resilience and resistance. We are thrilled to bring this hallmark event to South Vancouver, a community which is brimming with diversity and has long included a significant Filipino population,” Moser notes.

    “Lapu Lapu Day is not only a significant event for the Filipino community, but an opportunity to celebrate all cultures which call Sunset on Fraser home. We could not be more happy with the support and partnership of the Sunset on Fraser Business Association and are looking forward to making this a stand-out event for 2024 and for years to come,” Moser states.

    Recognizing the significance of Lapu Lapu, the provincial government declared April 27, 2023, as Lapu Lapu Day in British Columbia.

    Philippine Consul General Arlene T. Magno, together with members of the Filipino community, received the proclamation signed by Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of B.C., and Attorney General Niki Sharma, during a ceremony held on that day at the Legislative Assembly of B.C. in Victoria.

    Before the proclamation, Mable Elmore, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Vancouver-Kensington and Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, rose on the floor of the House to deliver a statement about Lapu Lapu and his role in Philippine history.

    “The legacy of Lapu Lapu runs deep in the psyche of Filipinos. It lives in their deep-seated value of bayanihan, which is made up of two words: bayan, which means community, and bayani, which means hero. Bayanihan is the communal desire and act of helping one another, of being connected with others,” Elmore said.

    As a side note, Elmore noted that her mother originally came from the province of Cebu, where Lapu Lapu struck a blow against European colonization.

    “The history of the Philippines is a saga of unrelenting resistance against foreign colonization and domination. It is an unbroken epic of struggle for freedom, self-determination, independence, and national sovereignty,” Elmore went on to say about the tradition that started with Lapu Lapu.

    Joe Tuliao is well-known choreographer and director. The Vancouver-based artist is also a member of the board of Filipino BC and will serve as the Creative Director for the Lapu Lapu block party.

    “Embrace the rhythm of unity and the vibrant colours of our heritage at the Lapu-Lapu block party,” Tuliao says as he gives a foretaste of the event.

    “As the Creative Director, I invite you to savour the richness of Filipino culture through tantalizing cuisine, the creativity of local vendors, and the artistry of Filipino Canadian performers. This monumental day is more than just a festival; it’ s a canvas where we paint the significance of highlighting culture and heritage. Let’s weave memories, dance to diversity, and collectively craft a masterpiece of community spirit!” Tuliao says.

    Situated in the heart of South Vancouver, the Sunset neighbourhood, celebrated for its rich cultural tapestry, warmly welcomes everyone to immerse themselves in the vibrant spirit of the Lapu Lapu Day Festival.

    Join us in reveling in the unique and inclusive atmosphere that sets our community apart as the most diverse neighbourhood in Vancouver.

    For media inquiries:
    Rafael ‘RJ’ Aquino


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