Florida Pinoys flock by the thousands to 3-day PhilFest

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

April 8, 2014

TAMPA, Fla. – With more than 20,000 attendees, the 19th Annual Philippine Festival or PhilFest in Tampa, Fla. is one of the largest Filipino fiestas in America.

From enchanting musical instruments made of bamboo to authentic Pinoy folk dances such as the Singkil, the three-day fiesta is a showcase of Filipino culture, cuisine and camaraderie.

“This is our first time here,” Doreen Flippin, who came all the way from Jacksonville, Fla., said. “We have heard about it for many many years. It’s again going back to what unites us together – which is being Filipino.”

Rosabel Hill, also from Jacksonville, said: “This is a great place for Filipinos to unite and I think it’s wonderful that all the associations come together.”

Organized by the Philippine Cultural Foundation, Inc (PCFI), board member Emma Barrido said proceeds of PhilFest will be used for the upkeep of the 10-acre Filipino community-owned cultural enrichment complex.

“We want to unite the Filipinos and show the next generation that we’re building a future home for them,” Barrida said. “It is our legacy.”

Meantime, with TFC as a major sponsor, kapamilyas at the PhilFest got to meet Baranggay USA’s Gelo.

Kapamilya star Xian Lim serenaded the crowd at the Philfest’s TFC Hour.

“I think his presence, his appeal, his eyes,” Xian Lim’s biggest fan Justine Anlecss Marquez said, “My heart skipped a beat.”

Star Magic singer, actor and model Xian Lim also had a chance to meet and chat with his fans at the PhilFest.

“Thank you so much to everyone who came out,” Lim said. “I hope they all enjoyed because everyone was just having a wonderful time. Thank you and congratulations for a wonderful event.”

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

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