Dubai, UAE – The celebration of 119th Years of Philippine Independence in Dubai was held on Friday, 12 May 2017 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
The Zabeel Hall 1 was packed with exciting activities the whole day, leaving no room for attendees to feel bored. Food stalls selling Filipino dishes and delicacies raked profit from hungry attendees.
A young girl stood still while a bespectacled Tom Alvarado was sketching her image.
On the backdrop were the “On the Spot Painting” contest participants in full concentration transferring their design interpretation of Philippine Independece to the white canvass. “On the Spot Painting” contest 1st place winners in Category A, Chrisantha Samontez, Category B, Tyrone Aragones, and Non-Pro Category bagged by Reynaldo Tambon.
Students of Far Eastern Private School, United International Private School, The New Filipino Private School and St. Mary’s Catholic High School showcased the Philippines’ rich and colorful culture through their performance of Filipino folk dances.
The love of music is truly in the heart of Filipinos made evident with the popularity of the “OPM Singing Competition Grand Finals” with the Zabeel crowd. Ten finalists battling it out for the coveted title “OPM Champion” which was snatched by the crowd favourite, Norynelle Hernandez, Christian Encelencia, 1st Runner Up and Elton Bautista, 2nd Runner Up.
Hair stylist from ten beauty salons participating in the “Pinoy Hair Style Competition” proved that hair is the crown and glory of a woman. Models sporting a long and limp hair were transformed into a glamorous and edgy look. Hair Stylist, Maricar Martos of Infinity Beauty Lounge and Spa bagged the “Champion” title, Antonatte Gonzales of Antonatte Ladies Salon, 1st Runner Up followed by Nova Bueza of Beautiful Butterfly Ladies Salon.
The history and culture of the Philippines are weaved with beauty pageants. The obsession is real in fact, the hall was packed with boisterous crowd cheering for their favorite “Mr. & Miss Teen PID 2017” candidates. Mr. & Miss Teen PID shared their two cents worth on relevant issues and displayed wit as they respond to the question thrown at them by the judges during the Q&A portion.
Miss Teens regaled the crowd as they sashayed in stunning evening gown while Mr. Teens looked dashing and dapper in their suits. The panel of judges composed of Dr. Yasmin Balajadia-Cortez, Chairman Filipino Ladies in Dubai and Northern Emirates, Atty. Felicitas Bay, Labor Attache – Dubai and Northern Emirates, UAE, Jef Anog, Dubai Photographer, Michael Del Mar, Casting Director of Dubai Fashion Forward, and Cebuano Fashion Designer, Harvey Cenit.
Shutterbugs were quick to take photos as Dr. Balajadia-Cortes fitted “The Miss Teen PID 2017” crown on the head of pretty and witty Raila Des Neri Tomakin. Robert Blackburn was crowned Mr. Teen PID 2017 by the equally dashing debonair Consul General, Paul Raymund Cortes.
Dubai based music artist, Rannie Raymundo entertained the crowd with Original Filipino Music (OPM) songs and hit song “Why Can’t It Be.” He gamely posed for selfies with adoring fans. Filipino pop rock band of the 90s, Nexxus hit the stage to open the “Kalayaan 2017 Battle of the Bands.” The group won the heart of ladies with the performance of their first single from the debut album Pictures in My Mind, released in 1994.
Ten competing bands performed a heart-pumping music to the delight of the crowd. Pearl Joy Moreno, Perlipinas vocalist did a modern rock twist to Freddie Aguilar’s soulful rendition of “Anak.” The band snatched the 1st Runner Up place, Tech Penz, led by vocalist, Andy Abis hailed as the “Champion.”
Kudos to the program committee coordinators headed by Ericson Reyes, Committee Head and The Filipino Community Dubai & Northern Emirates Overall Vice Chairman. The 119th Independence Day in Dubai ended leaving a malaya ka smile and joy in the hearts of the Pinoys who attended the event.
Cathy Hizo is a Dubai-based event blogger, photography enthusiast, and travel junkie. She believes the challenge of photography lies in seeing beauty beyond the ordinary and unexpected.