BARRIO FIESTA 2013
11 October 2013 – Blessed with two days of good weather, the Philippine Festival Barrio Fiesta 2013 was successfully held at the famous Yamashita Park in Yokohama City on 28-29 September 2013. The event was organized by the Filipino Community in Japan, with the co-sponsorship of the City of Yokohama and the support of the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA).
Around 100,000 visitors thronged to the Barrio Fiesta, which was held for the second year in a row in Yokohama, the sister city of Manila. It was intended to be a showcase of the best of Philippine culture, promoting friendship between Filipinos and Japanese and bringing together members of the Filipino community from different parts of Japan.
The Festival’s opening ceremony was graced by a number of dignitaries led by the Former President of the Philippines and Mayor of Manila Joseph Ejercito Estrada, Deputy Mayor of Yokohama Nobuya Suzuki, MOFA Deputy Director General Kenji Kanasugi and Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel M. Lopez. Ambassadors and diplomats from member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) were also present.
In his welcome remarks, Ambassador Lopez expressed appreciation to Mayor Estrada for coming all the way from Manila for the Barrio Fiesta. He thanked Mayor Fumiko Hayashi and the City of Yokohama for co-sponsoring the Barrio Fiesta and lauded the Filipino community for its able organizations of the event.
MOFA Deputy Director General Kanasugi delivered the message of Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Fumio Kishida. The Minister’s message touched on the importance Japan places on diplomacy with ASEAN countries and Japan’s “four initiatives” vis-à-vis the Philippines, which include people to people exchanges.
Mayor Hayashi’s message was delivered by Deputy Mayor of Yokohama Suzuki. The Mayor’s message highlighted the mutually beneficial cooperation between the Philippines and Yokohama in various fields. On his part, Mayor Estrada expressed great pleasure at being in Yokohama. He acknowledged all the officials present as well as the members of the Filipino community who worked hard to make the Barrio Fiesta happen.
The Barrio Fiesta was declared officially open by Executive Committee Chairperson Jenavilla Shigemizu.
The two days of the Barrio Fiesta provided visitors plenty of opportunities to appreciate Philippine music, dance, entertainment, games, fashion, food, products and services. The first day began with a parade featuring various Filipino groups in Japan. The stage program on both days saw exceptional performances by Japan-based Filipino talents and celebrities from the Philippines. Visitors particularly appreciated the cultural presentation segment of the program, which consisted of traditional dances and a fashion show of traditional and contemporary Philippine clothing.
The 64 booths featuring Philippine cuisine, products, services and tourism destinations were widely patronized by visitors. Many of the booths were decorated in the Philippine style. Games and activities for children were also available in the park grounds for free.
The Barrio Fiesta 2013 truly brought home the message that “It is more fun in the Philippines.”