LA’s Fil-Am community braces for twin Independence Day fetes

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Words and photos by Dionesio C. Grava

The squabble about the date changing of our day of independence from July 4 to June 12 has been muted with the passage of time. In Los Angeles, an aspect of the yearly independence celebration involving the glitter and pomp of the dinner-dance gala has always been a touchy episode among presumptive leaders of the Fil-Am community.

Some consider it the crowning glory of their self-centered importance to become skippers of the yearly commemoration such that a few are known to have made it a lifetime passion of cultivating pools of supporters as preparations when the appropriate time comes around. Then it would be “hakot” to the polls to have themselves elected as chairpersons of the gig.

Then there are those who just want to dedicate valuable time for our country’s cause. Sometimes they find themselves engulfed in a maelstrom of conflicting intentions. In 2007 more than a dozen board members of the Kalayaan group were said to have opted to resign because of such a situation.

In last year’s Kalayaan 2011 eight of them — Dr. Rey Landero, Dr. Carlos P. Manlapaz, Darna M. Umayam, Trinity Foliente, Jojit Paredes, Lini Teal, Cora Aragon Soriano and Zeny Zoleta — also resigned reportedly under identical circumstances. They had since formed another group that revived the name of the Philippine Independence Coordinating Council of California (PICCSC). PICCSC spearheaded the centennial celebrations from 1996-1998, it was said.

Kalayaan, Inc. (it was reportedly incorporated in 2007 as the Kalayaan of Southern California, Inc. without the group’s mandate) has since ceased to be the exclusive gathering place regarding community celebration of Philippine independence anniversaries in the Los Angeles area. Understandably talks are rife about possible animosities between the two groups. To verify if this is true, this writer emailed identical messages to the known email addresses of Antero Pagunsan and Gil Mislang, current president and board secretary, respectively, of Kalayaan, Inc.

“This is to respectfully inform that the community publication PinoyWatchdog (Print and Online editions) will feature the coming celebration of the 114th Anniversary of Philippine Independence Day.

You being involved in the said activity, may we solicit from you a few words regarding same particularly touching on the significance of the event, the progress of preparations/how your group is doing so far, the reaction of fellow Filipinos and how you may compare your group’s efforts with other proposed events in this area honoring our people’s day of freedom.

Thank you so much and more power.




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