Pinoys in England brave stormy weather for fiesta

by Patrick Camara Ropeta, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Jul 04 2012 11:08 AM | Updated as of Jul 04 2012 07:08 PM

Bad weather did not deter Filipinos in Newcastle to celebrate their annual Filipino festival/Patrick Ropeta, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau
NEWCASTLE - Despite heavy rains and strong winds, hundreds of Filipinos from northeast England persisted to come out for the annual Newcastle barrio fiesta offering Philippine food, shopping, and live performances.

Determined Filipinos from Newcastle and nearby areas were impervious to the unstable British weather as they gathered to celebrate Philippine culture and traditions at the Blaydon Rugby Club field near the city’s largest shopping and leisure centre.

Crowds donned raincoats and Wellington boots as they met friends and acquaintances from across the region, swapping stories and sharing Filipino food under tents and umbrellas.

“Rain or shine, we’ll still go out and celebrate,” said Maria Payumo, a 17-year-old student spending time with her friends and family at the fiesta.

Filipinos in northern England braved the weather for a taste of Filipino food and salu-salo in Newcastle/Patrick Ropeta, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Antonieta Kalabria, a 43-year-old care assistant from the area, said: “We miss Filipino food. It’s all here, and we can also get some Filipino groceries as well.. We want to feel at home, and we want to see our kababayans having fun.”

Pinoys at the Newcastle Filipino Festival 2012 were also treated to live performances on a purpose-built stage showcasing local talents, from singers to dancers, as well as special celebrity guests from the Philippines including Viva Hot Babe Sarah Lopez.

“I like watching Filipinos. It brings back my memories. The Filipino people are very nice,” said Fabriona Jones, who works at the nearby University of Durham and has been in the UK since 1986.

Filipina housewife January Deliuen came with her British husband to the wet Newcastle fiesta/Patrick Ropeta, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau
Filipinos married to Englishmen, who are used to the turbulent British weather, also took their husbands to the fiesta to mingle with the Filipino community and to share their Philippine heritage.

“We’re used to this weather. We’ve been looking for a Filipino community for a long time since we’ve been living here for 2 years. This is the first time we’ve attended this,” said January Deliuen, who came with her British husband, Wayne.

He said: “This is typical English weather. I wanted to bring my wife along to meet the rest of the Filipinos here.”

Staff from the Philippine Embassy in London also braved the weather and made the trip to the northern city for an outreach consular mission in the region, in a bid to help fellow Filipinos who may otherwise not have access to their services.