The Mabuhay Festival in National City is celebrating the 115th anniversary of Philippine Independence on Saturday, June 8, four days prior to the country’s actual Independence Day.
Ditas Yamane, CEO of the Mabuhay Festival, said having the festivities early allows the community to celebrate the freedom of the Filipino people, while they quietly observe it June 12.
The festival held annually at Kimball Park is the biggest Filipino-American celebration in San Diego County.
This year, Yamane said, she is expecting the event to be even bigger because former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos is the guest of honor.
The Philippines’ 12th president was the country’s president from 1992 to 1998.
Ramos was originally on a film and book tour on the East Coast, but when he heard about the Mabuhay Festival, Yamane said, he had to be a part of it.
“When he learned that there is a huge celebration of Philippine Independence here in San Diego, he opted to come here to San Diego first before he goes to the East Coast,” Yamane said.
The festival will highlight the many Filipino men and women in the U.S. Navy.
“Because of the sailors’ help in the United States Navy, we got our independence, so we are going to honor some of those sailors who have Filipino heritage,” Yamane said.
The celebration will have plenty of entertainment for everyone, Yamane said.
Seniors will get to show off their talents in a talent competition, aspiring singers will compete in a Star Search-type of contest, and arts and crafts will be available for the family.
A Taste of The Philippines features some of the most authentic Filipino cuisine.
Yamane said because National City is a cultural hub for Filipinos, National City is the perfect place to host this event.
“National City is the place where Filipinos come to shop, come to eat because most of the Filipino restaurants are here in National City,” Yamane said.
Yamane said everyone in the community is welcome celebrate the independence of the Philippines at the Mabuhay Festival.
“When you go to the event, you’ll find a lot of fun, exciting activities for the entire family that’s prepared for the community, not only in the Filipino-American community but we’ve invited everyone so we can have an education of culture,” she said.
Kimball Park will host the free event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.