Three Days of “Freedom” Celebration

Our family was able to enjoy the short Eid break witnessing what was by far the best event organized by the Filipino community in Qatar – the Philippine Independence Day Celebration 2017 (PIDC17). Their efforts and dedication, judging from the preparations up to the wee hours just before the event opened on the early morning of June 25, were compensated with beautiful smiles and heartfelt pride from every Filipinos who were coming out from City Center Rotana Hotel.

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Filipino expats in Qatar took advance of the Eid holiday to join the PIDC17 festivities.
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Philippine Ambassador to Qatar – Mr Alan Timbayan delivering his keynote speech during the opening of the Philippine Independence Day celebrations at the City Center Rotana Hotel last      June 25, 2017

As a sign of brighter things to come, this year’s PIDC saw several firsts including the grand presentation of Lakan and Lakambini ng Kalayaan (talent and beauty pageant), the AFJQ’s Gawad Parangal Para sa Natatanging OFW (recognition for outstanding Filipino expats in Qatar), and several other minor activities spread over the last three days, a concept which was also another first.

With the idea of fully maximizing the 3-day event and our break from work, our 2-nights stay at the beautiful City Center Rotana Hotel made it possible for us to enjoy 5-star conveniences: comfortable room, fun-filled pool and playground access for our very active toddler, breakfast from 6am to 10:30am, as well as access to the exhibit and activity areas for PIDC17. It was definitely a good decision to avail of their special promotions (make it a habit to visit City Center Rotana Hotel facebook page for more exciting offers in the future).

And it was one of those moments when you really feel proud of being a Filipino – not only during a Pacquiao or a Miss Universe win. It’s one of the best ways to celebrate our independence as a nation and as a people, and to rekindle our nationalistic side – especially teaching all these things to kids who were born and raised here in Qatar.

Day 1 – Freedom of Assembly

As an OFW father, I’ve been following a lot of events here in Qatar. And as always, Filipino events come close to my heart as I see our “bayanihan spirit” (cooperation) coming alive. It was also a great feeling that even in a place far away from home, we are still given an opportunity to assemble being a respectable group of expatriates in Qatar. Additionally, it was indeed a venue where different organizations displayed their team spirit and even their creative talents. As the Chairman of the Organizing Committee mentioned, it was through the collective efforts of the 200 Filipino organizations in Qatar which made the event a success.

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A traditional dance from Mindano
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A tribal dance from the Northern part of Luzon

Day 2 – Freedom of Information

Lectures and seminars on various topics were held simultaneously during the PIDC17. Located at the 2F of the Rotana Hotel (right through the bridgeway of City Center Mall), many OFWs were given a   chance to attend insightful sessions on subjects that matter to them (financial awareness, business, hobby/interests, and many others). Even the access to some Embassy services and membership to different groups and organizations in Qatar were also made available during the 3-day event.

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Food and non-food bazaars, as well as booths for participating Filipino oprganizations
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Different lectures and seminars are conducted all throughout the 3-day event

Day 3 – Freedom of Expression

As time evolve and a lot of creative ideas are popping up from all directions, the organizers brought color to the already festive mood of the celebration. The launch of the first ever Lakan and Lakambini ng Kalayaan showcased not only the personalities of the candidates but moreover, the creativity of our world-class Filipino fashion designers in Qatar. From the Zambali Festival of the Northern Luzon, the Pintados of the Visayas, and the Tuna Festival of General Santos in Mindanao, are just some of the vibrant festivals featured during the pageant. As it brought excitement to the audience… everyone would agree that it was a show of international caliber.

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The Lakan and Lakambini ng Kalayaan candidates on their colorful Festival Costumes
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The pageant also showcased the world class talent of Filipino fashion designers in Qatar

 The future is bright!

Hats off to the organizing committee! They are too many to mention: from the event think-tanks, to the choreographers and performers, to the hosts and program coordinators, the media and photographers, and all the nameless volunteers to whom we can only repay with our respect and sincere appreciation. MARAMING SALAMAT PO!

I blogged the previous year’s PIDC and said that those were incredible events. But this year’s PIDC has set a very high benchmark for the succeeding Filipino events.

The title Three Days of “Freedom” Celebration is the writer’s creative way of presenting the highlights during the recently concluded PIDC 2017 in Doha, Qatar. (For more photos, visit the official facebook page of AFJQ – the official media partner of PIDC17)

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