'Araw ng Kalayaan' brings Dutch-Pinoys together

By Loui Galicia, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Jun 18 2010 01:22 PM | Updated as of Jun 19 2010 08:12 AM

HOLLAND - This year’s biggest gathering of Filipinos in Holland took place yet again on the 112th anniversary of the Philippine Independence Day.

“Ito’y talagang kahanga-hanga sapagkat akalain mo pwede pa lang ipunin ang ganitong karaming Filipinos nitong Independence Day, 12 of June. Alam mo naman dito, ang mga Pilipino kalat-kalat pero pwede naman pa lang ipunin,” said Philippine Ambassador Cardozo Luna.

In fact, Philippine Independence Day is the only day when Filipinos coming from the different parts of Holland flock to the Spaarnwoude Park to see each other.

This year, more than 7,000 Filipinos came to celebrate the Philippine Independence Day. Filipino families set up tents and held barbeque picnics in the park. Bigger stalls also offered almost everything from food to clothing to bags and fashion accessories.

A cultural show entertained Filipinos and guests and even earned the admiration of the Mayor of Haarlemerliede and Spaarnwoude.

“We really see that Filipino people in Holland, not only in Holland but also in Germany or Belgium, they are really part of society and still they are keeping their culture without any problem,” said Mayor Bruijn.

Pinay diva of Holland, Nhelly dela Rosa, was the event’s emcee. “Nage-emcee ako for nothing. Ito na lang ang pwede kong maitutulong sa mga kababayan natin. So I actually encouraged each and everyone lalo na yung mga sikat dito na tulungan natin ang community natin,” she said.

Dela Rosa is a well-known singer in Holland, having won a national singing competition here.

Meanwhile, the highlight of the celebration was the concert of Randy Santiago which produced a pack of swooning Pinays.

At the closing of the celebration, current organizer United Filipino Dutch Association (UFDA) passed on the torch to Baranggay Sa Holland after 2 years of service.

UFDA had been organizing the event under the Kalayaan Fiesta Foundation (KFF) and its term has ended this year.

According to UFDA, there would be a lot of changes and improvements, such as a bigger involvement of the youth that will be seen next year.

“Introducing the youth, step-by-step, one-by-one they will be taking charge…maybe after two years. We will see how they will go,” KFF outgoing president, Jimmy Munoz said.