Apr 06

Diverse performance lineup highlights this year’s Piyesta


CHICAGO, Apr 5 — Chicago’s favorite Filipino American festival returned to Navy Pier for a smashing fifth year on March 20, 2016. Piyesta Pinoy sa Chicago is the Philippine Celebration for Navy Pier’s Neighborhoods of the World series, filling Crystal Gardens with Filipino songs, dances, businesses, food and crafts; attracting record crowds numbering about 2,500 and bringing the Philippines closer to immigrants and expatriates. This year’s Piyesta featured very diverse group of dancers of all ages from the kids from PACF Performing Arts, to the high schoolers of Lane Tech, the collegians from Divine Rhythms, Loyola and UIUC to the seniors from PASAC. We are also honored to have singers who traveled from miles away just to perform for Piyesta, from the Bay area in California, the Philippines and all the way from Australia.

Attendees welcomed the spring like turn of the weather at the lakefront, turning the Gardens downright balmy inside, matching the memories of Filipinos born in the homeland and calling Chicago their new adopted home. “The Filipino community is a vibrant and important part of Chicago and Illinois, and its wonderful culture, including music, dance, food and folk art, will be enjoyed by thousands during this popular annual festival” says Attorney General Lisa Madigan in a message sent to PACF. Click here to view the full message from  Attorney General Madigann.

The festival opened with a colorful Parade of Costumes from the Pier’s first floor marketplace, paired with beloved folk songs rendered by Piyesta mainstay Chicago Angklung and Rondalla Ensemble. Visitors were treated to traditional Filipino dance by veteran performers PACF Performing Arts, the youth group of festival sponsor Philippine American Cultural Foundation. PACF Perf Arts showcased three dances – Binoyugan, Galway Gaway and Tinikling. Lane Tech High School and  Divine Rhythm returned with two versions of the crowd favorite, the Tagalog dance Sayaw sa Bangko, known for the demanding technical skill required of dancers leaping between wooden benches stacked three tiers high. New this year is the much anticipated participation of the Pilipino American Seniors Association of Chicago. The seniors did not disappoint us as they did very well entertaining the mixed crowd of Pinoys and mainstream with two Philippine rural dances – Subli and Alitaptap wearing very colorful and beautiful costumes.

The festival’s dance component would not be complete without college groups fresh from the 2016 Battle of the Bamboo: Loyola Kapwa Cultural placed second with the Legend of Muslim Dances, depicting legendary routines from the Muslim tribe, in Mindanao. First place winner University of Illinois Urbana Champaign PSA Barkada recreated their winning dance depicting a story from the B’laan tribe of Mindanao.

The festival would not have been complete without our singers: actress, model, singer, Via Times and F Magazine reporter Jovie Calma sang first with a very beautiful rendition of Ako ay Pilipino, 16-year-old Kayla Tejero performed the song, Open Arms by Journey to the delight of the audience.; singing soon-to-be priest Paul M. Aquino SVD did two original Philippine music Nais ko and Muntik n kitang minahal, and Davao-born Cebuana Divine Aleonar serenaded popular tunes in Cebuano – giving audience a rare glimpse into the vernacular pop culture of a major Visayan language.  This year’s Piyesta were honored to have featured special guests who travelled to Chicago just to perform for us – from San Francisco, California – Emil Nicolasin who came with his wife Alpha as our emcee;   from the Philippines – Alegria Ferrer, soprano and professor from the University of the Philippines College of Music; and all the way from Australia – Mary Ann Van Der Horst, a pop singer who made it to the second round competition of Australia’s X-Factor. All of them gave us outstanding and amazing performances, reminding all that a festival of Piyesta’s caliber is all about Filipino pride and quality.

Emcees Alpha Nicolasin and Mark Dinglasan’s doubled as entertainers themselves as they tried out the Philippine national dance Tinikling, inviting audience to brave the clapping bamboo poles for which the dance is known. For the finale, well known Fil-Am fashion designer Victor Miller presented Fashion in Fashion featuring over 20 models wearing contemporary dresses designed by Miller, inspired by the Filipino arts, fashion and culture.

Piyesta Pinoy returns in the summer in Bolingbrook! Join us for a massive 11-hour festival, Saturday, June 11, 2016 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the sprawling Bolingbrook Performing Arts Center, next to the Bolingbrook Village Hall and Town Center! Applications for sponsors, donors, business and cultural booth tables are now open. Please visit us online at http://piyestapinoy.org/ for details. Kitakits po tayo doon!

Piyesta Pinoy sa Chicago (Philippine Fest) is brought to you by Navy Pier, Inc., the 501(c)3 Philippine American Cultural Foundation, and the Philippine Consulate General of Chicago. We would like to thank our sponsors: Platinum – GMA Pinoy TV and GMA Life TV; Silver – Creative Impressions Plus, Mark A. Tan with T Capital Management LLC and UMAC; Bronze – Futurity First and The Filipino Channel (TFC); Media sponsors – CPR TV, MegaScene, One Philippines, PINOY News, VIA Times; and Food donor Val’s Asian Mart. Navy Pier’s Neighborhoods of the World series is sponsored by ComEd.

The 2016 Piyesta Pinoy sa Chicago would like to thank the following special guests, Consul General Generoso Calonge, Hermano Mayor Aeron Lancero, our Hermana Mayor Teresa Samara De Guzman, Hermana and Hermanos: Jovie Calma, Lain & Nell Frias, Veronica Leighton, Joe Mauricio, Darwin & Imelda Posadas, Mariano & Merlinda Santos, and Bert & Yoly Tubalinal, Ninongs and Ninangs: Rudy & Carmen Garcia. Cornelio & Evelyn Natividad, Ph.D., Illinois government officials Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, Thomas Choi, public affairs manager from the office of Illinois State Comptroller Leslie Munger, Nettie Lasko, immigrant assistance program coordinator from the office of Illinois State Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Dennis Jung, outreach coordinator from the office of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner

Festival volunteers would also like to thank the following for their partnership, gift donation and table participation : Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment Chicago, Alpha Phi Omega Midwest Chicago, the Asian American Law Enforcement Association, Cirera Express, Darlene’s Accessories & Etcetera, Filipino American Association of South Dupage, The Field Museum, the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago, the Filipino American Community Health Initiative of Chicago, the Filipino American Network, the Filipino American Historical Society of Chicago, Gawad Kalinga, International Society of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting (ISFFA), LBC, Museum of Contemporary Arts, Omega Alpha Caregivers, Inc, Philippine Nurses Association of Illinois, The University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Greater Chicago, and Susan Sivano (Artist).

Maraming salamat to our performers: Divine Aleonar, Paul M. Aquino SVD, Jovie Calma, Chicago Angklung Rondalla Ensemble, Divine Rhythm, Alegria Ferrer, Lane Tech Kapamilya Habang Buhay, Loyola Kapwa Cultural, Victor Miller Fashion In Fashion, Emil Nicolasin, PACF Performing Arts, Pilipino American Seniors Association of Chicago, Kayla Tejero, Mary Ann Van Der Horst, UIUC Barkada, Zumba dancer sponsored by FACHIC, emcees Alpha Nicolasin and Mark Dinglasan.

Maraming salamat to our program booklet advertisers: GMA Pinoy TV and GMA Life TV, Creative Impressions Plus, UMAC, Mark Tan with T Capital Management LLC, Susan Sivano (Artist), Futurity First and The Filipino Channel (TFC), PACF Performing Arts, Salerno’s Rosedale Funeral Chapels, RJ Jewelry, Asian American Law Enforcement Association.

Maraming salamat from the volunteers of the 2016 Piyesta Pinoy (Philippine Fest) sa Chicago: overall chairperson Ruben Salazar; PACF president Adeline Fajardo; PACF directors Evelyn & Ely Natividad, Letty Eclavea, Merle Perricone, Rudy & Carmen Garcia, production and stage manager Michelle Delson; program booklet AnnaGina Millan; programme/emcees Alpha Nicolasin and Mark Dinglasan; social media committee Iris Kay Strauss and Mark Tan;  food vendor coordinator Jan Paul Ferrer, VIP coordinator Michelle Lura White, and food committee Merle Salazar, Angie Malonzo, and Brenda Vins, Jocelyn Ho, Christine Yang, Norma Albiola; parade committee Emil Nicolasin, vendors/exhibitors committee and all-around volunteer/model Cindy Lopez; volunteer coordinator and all-around volunteer/model Telly Yumping; photographers Frank O. Armea, Ihman Basas Esturco and Rudy Garcia.  Maraming salamat to our student volunteers from Northside College Preparatory High School headed by Christian Luciano and our security volunteers headed by Allen Desiderio.