Normally, I'd try to make my posts as chronologically accurate as possible, but my other shots from Atlanta are tucked away inside a desktop that's sitting in storage somewhere up north. Posts and pictures from Atlanta will have to come much later. For the meantime, I'll showcase some of the highlights from my hometown's Filipino Pride Day Festival 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida. It's Jacksonville's 3rd annual Filipino cultural festival honoring the diverse and unique heritage of its Filipino residents and I'm really glad my husband and I went along with his family to enjoy the festivities. As a Filipino-American, I'm down for anything that represents the country my family is from.
Held downtown at the Jacksonville Landing, Filipino Pride Day involves a lot of stands filled with vendors from all aspects of the city's Filipino community; there's representatives for healthcare, banks, insurance, sports, and my personal favorite---food. You can never go wrong with food, especially Filipino food. By the fountain, a stage was set up where the performers could show off their musical skills, such as the three girls from the picture above. I didn't catch their group's name, but I loved how they belted out a few pop songs a capella and accompanied with a Ukulele at times. Amazing young girls with a lot of promise and talent. In my opinion, the best part of their performance was singing a Katy Perry song with some beat box effects. These girls were just awesome. Maybe we'll see them on a talent show one of these days.
As I've mentioned earlier, my favorite thing about festivals of any kind is FOOD. Yes, glorious food. With over 30 different vendors, I think they had about 10 (give or take) selling Filipino food; mostly favorites such as BBQ, lumpia, pansit, and lechon. The stand we picked offered a good number of delicious selections, which I admit, I had gorged myself silly on, but it was worth every penny. Part of the proceeds of that vendor's profits were going to the Philippines to help fund a new medical care facility in Cavite, so although the $10 platter was a little too much, it was going to a good cause.
Since my husband and I don't live here at home, it's very rare that we get to experience a large Filipino cultural event like the one held in Jax. Our son was more interested in the two large bouncy houses and the water fountain, which he immersed himself in, despite our warnings not to go anywhere near the thing, but that's okay. What's important was that we were there to have fun with our family and run into a lot of familiar faces from our school days. It's funny seeing people's reactions when they see you and say, "Oh my God, I hadn't seen you since we graduated high school!"
Oh, and did I mention that tons of people support the festival? It's wonderful to see that the Filipino Pride Day isn't just some inclusive event for Filipinos, but for everyone in Jacksonville's community. While waiting in line for a delicious halo-halo dessert, I met a young woman who recently moved to Florida from New York. She wasn't from Jacksonville, but had drove up from Naples, Florida to attend the event with her Filipino parents. She'd only been living in Florida for a week, but she gushed that she absolutely loved it down here and she'd rather be in Florida instead of California, the Mecca of most Filipino transplants in the U.S. Looking at her, I remembered a time when I used to loathe living in Jax., not because I was young and itching to get away from "home," but because I always felt that there wasn't anything much the city could offer. Obviously, I was wrong. Now that I'm older and have lived away from home all these years, I've learned to appreciate the little nuances that make Jacksonville unique and, surprisingly, culturally diverse. I know deep down that my husband and I would probably never settle back down here, but I know that we'll always be back to visit our family members who remain in the city.
So, here's to a successful Filipino Pride Day 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida! I'm sure it'll be even more successful in the coming years and I hope we can make it back to visit one again. I'm certainly looking forward to it.