SAN FRANCISCO – For Consul General Henry Bensurto Jr. the Philippine Independence Day gala and concert is a culmination of celebrating Filipino pride throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in the month of June.
Congen Bensurto has been in the community witnessing Fil-Am talents in all its forms from food to various performing arts at local Philippine independence celebrations.
“The Filipino community here in the Bay Area is very active and they are very much part of the society they have integrated and embraced,” said Bensurto. “And at the same time while doing that they have never forgotten their heritage, their character as a Filipino.”
The annual celebration entitled Kalayaan SF was held at the historic San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center which featured a full-length concert from world renowned, virtuoso pianist, Cecile Licad.
As the Philippines celebrates 118 years of independence and a new president, Licad says she is optimistic of the future of the country.
“I think it’s exciting,” said Licad. “I think people are opening up and being open as we are as Filipinos.”
The event also recognized Pinoys, who have and continue to contribute to the community, as “heroes”.
Among them was Rudy Corpuz, Jr., the founder and director of United Playaz, a San Francisco youth anti-violence program.
Corpuz says that he is humbled by the recognition and says that he is one of many more Filipinos who make positive contributions to the Bay Area.
“We have made a tremendous amount of steps getting to where we need to get. I think we have a lot of work to do,” said Corpuz. “I know there’s so many Filipinos who are hardworking who probably don’t get acknowledged. And you know us Filipinos are the hardest working people on the planet, period. I’m very glad and very prideful to be Filipino.”