Tuesday, April 3, 2012

PhilFest 2012

The 17th annual PhilFest 2012 gathered thousands of people to experience Filipino art and cuisine at the Philippine Cultural Enrichment Complex in Tampa, Florida last weekend. My daughter marched in one of the signature events in her long gown along with others in traditional Filipino costumes in the Grand Flores de PhilFest parade.

A two faced fairy tale begins PhilFest 2012. My joyful princess Reyna dressed in pink escorted by her sibling prince with a look of disdain woefully walked on stage in front of a captive audience. My daughter's glee in heels painfully contrasted with my son's frown on top of the traditional Barong Tagalog attire. With every camera click, I felt my son's coerced participation.

Colorful arcos elevated above young adults parading around the festival grounds added to the cultural rich atmosphere. Consider my daughter as a veteran of the Grand Flores de PhilFest parade, this is her second time participating. As for my newbie escort son, he reminded me constantly of his discomfort with due diligence.

Just like last year's PhilFest 2011, all parade paths lead to the Sinagtala stage where a series of spectacular music and dance performances such as the Tanghalang Pambata and the Yugyugan amaze the crowds.

This is not a Black Friday Sale or a Justin Bieber Concert crowd gathering in line for discount electronics or front row seats. These are hungry people waiting for an hour for the delicious Filipino dessert, Carioca. What is all the fuss about?

Even with two missing front baby teeth, my son reaps the rewards of bribery with fried sugary dough balls covered with sweet syrup on a stick. Combine a couple sticks of Carioca with the latest Call of Duty: MW3 DLC expansion maps, you have one happy Barong Tagalog wearing 1st grader. The Carioca is as sweet and crunchy as my son's spray and gel cocktail hairdo.

It has been one year and one month since my youngest first visited PhilFest 2011. Compared to last year, Serena can now fully appreciate sugar in many forms and front teeth to take baby bites of fried fish with rice. Soon with walking legs, she will be the future Munting Reyna in the Grand Flores de PhilFest parade. My cameras are ready!

How does this fairy tale end? Well, the princess and her sibling escort survive the onslaught of Filipino paparazzi. With a handful of food tickets, my daughter marches to a tray full of pig blood Dinuguan and fried Lumpia Shanghai. My daughter is now complete.

Serious times calls for serious looks of dashing eyes and brooding eyebrows. Look out George Clooney, here comes Pinoy Power!

At gasoline prices almost reaching $4 a gallon, rickshaw taxis seem practical nowadays. Plus the added benefit of no seatbelts, baby safety seats and more garage space, who needs minivan family trucksters?

You can view more photos and videos in my PhilFest 2012 Gallery shot with the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV paired with the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II and the EF 35mm f/1.4L lenses.

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