Florida Filipinos raise thousands for needy children at annual fiesta

KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA – From traditional Filipino dances to a taste of a variety of sumptuous Filipino dishes, kababayans in Kissimmee, Fla. showed off their Filipino pride at the Fiesta mo sa Florida 2015.

Jacksonville resident Mary Jane Villavicencio said, “Napakasaya ang Fiesta mo sa Florida. Halina kayo dito!”

“It’s my second time coming here. My magandang asawa she loves to come here too,” said Gary Thielen of Kissimmee. “All of these vendors here, you feel like you’re going from province to province — Ilokano, Bicol, everywhere, sample all these different foods from different provinces.”

Now on its seventh year, Fiesta mo sa Florida was created by the Fil-Am Movement International to serve and promote the interest of the Filipino American communities in the Sunshine State.

Fil-Am Movement International’s Fernando Solis said,”We want to unite the Filipino communities all around Florida. We’re trying to reach every kababayan, kapamilya natin, sa lahat ng Floridians, so we have one place to get together.”

Fiesta mo sa Florida is also about giving back.

The highlight of the fiesta is a beauty pageant for a cause that raised thousands of dollars to benefit ABS-CBN Foundation’s Bantay Bata rescue and rehabilitation programs in the Philippines.

“The proceeds will help specifically the medical patients of Bantay Bata who are now waiting for funding for them to get through the medical conditions that they currently have,” ABS-CBN Foundation Managing Director Jo Ann Kyle said. “I’m very happy and overwhelmed that the community continues to support us.”

The kapamilya fiesta crowd went wild when acoustic heartthrob Sam Milby went on stage during the TFC Hour. A Tagalog duet with the Crystal Voice of Asia Sheryn Regis also brought the house down.

The fiesta is now over but organizers say the fun will continue when a bigger and better Fiesta mo sa Florida comes back next year.

You may contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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