Declaration of Philippine Independence

     110 years ago -  June 12, 1898,  Kawit, Cavite


UP Betans in Philippine Independence Day Celebrations

by: Cheryl Hutchins (guest correspondent and Betan friend)



The Filipino community in Northern California successfully held a "Fiesta sa Sacramento" last June 8, 2008 in celebration of the Philippine Independence Day. The occasion was attended by several thousands of Californians, various ethnic groups and guests that included luminaries like Board of Supervisors Roger Dickinson and Jimmy Yee; Filipino West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon; Filipina Mayor Pro-Tempore of Davis City Ruth Asmundson; and Vice Consul Santos of the San Francisco-based Philippine Consul General's Office.


Many of my personal friends who belong to the Beta Sigma of the University of the Philippines were among those who contributed to the success of this grand occasion. Some of them are at the same time officers of the UP Alumni Association of Sacramento and Vicinity. Overall Planning Committee member Willie Vergara, president and chairman of the UP Beta Sigma Fraternity International, Inc. put up an art exhibit featuring some of his oil paintings of American landscapes mostly the sights of the Yosemite National Park. Willie also chaired the Documentation and Photography Committee. Willie’s services to the Fiesta were done on behalf of the UPBSFI, Inc. and some of his photographs are shown below. He will soon produce a slide presentation of the event. UPAA of Sacramento President and UPBSFI Board Director Johnny Regadio paired up with fellow UPBFSI Elder Dr. Fred Aquino DVM as chair of the Parade Committee. Two other UP Betans, Dr. Cecilio Felix, DVM and Dr. Billy Monteagudo DVM, were among the judges of the Independence Day Parade. Dr. Aquino, one of the most ubiquitous persons among Filipinos in Sacramento, likewise represented the Filipino Community of Sacramento and Vicinity, an organization he used to head until recently. This year’s Fiesta prides itself with more than 20 corporate sponsors, over 65 food, community resource, retail vendors and 22 participating organizations that include the UPBSFI, Inc.


This year’s celebration was in keeping with the tradition of recognizing the community service of a particular sector. This year’s uniqueness came along with its theme: “Youth Bridging the Gap”. Looking back, the first generation of Filipinos in the counties of Sacramento and San Joaquin were mostly agricultural workers who were born in the Philippines. Most of their children were nurtured into a completely different culture here in the United States, much more with the third and fourth generations who are now in their teens or early twenties, and who have been born, schooled, and raised like most Americans. In his photographs, Willie captured the essence and vibrancy of the youth during the festivities in the form of songs and dances. But the most awesome and beyond description are behind-the-scene contributions of the youth organizations in ensuring the success of the Fiesta with their energy, enthusiasm, bayanihan spirit, and the sheer number of youth who turned up to volunteer their services. They worked with precision up to the mopping-up operations after most of the people have gone, and it was truly a pleasant surprise to see the whole Rizal grounds so neat and dandy within a few minutes after the Fiesta.


Following photographs of the occasion were all taken by Willie Vergara of UPBSFI, Inc.

At left, Willie Vergara (official documentor and photographer and UPBSFI exhibitor)  poses with the officers of the

 Roseville Association. At right, UP Betan Dr. Cecilio Felix and wife Anita sit in front of the exhibit (oil paintings of Willie).





The globe-trotting Sining Kumintang ng Batangas stunned the crowd with their beautiful songs, exquisite choreography

 and colorful, tastefully designed costumes. Their spectacular performance drew ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’ from the throng.







Sining Kumintang has been performing all over the USA (New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, Sacramento) and other cities of the world (Beijing, Paris, Vatican City, Venice, Tel Aviv, Hongkong, London, etc.).


Two Filipino-American ladies at the Youth Beauty Pageant


Several thousands joined the merrymaking and view the Philippine Independence Day Parade led by the Manongs (Filipino Veterans). They also came to enjoy the art exhibits, variety shows, food booths, and partake in youth and children’s games.  



Another big hit of the affair were the performers of the Sinag-tala Filipino Theatre and Performing Arts Association.



The mission of Sinag-tala is to train community members and promote the theatre and performing arts through

 the study, interpretation, and staging of the works of Filipino musical, dance, literary and cultural artists.


It was a non-stop display of youthful beauty and talent… a whole day of wholesome fun and family entertainment...





and awesome energy, enthusiasm, guts, creativity, physical flexibility and athleticism.


'Press Play' in action: directed by a member of Jabbawokeez, America's Best Dance Crew of 2008 (MTV reality show)


Among the more than 65 booths: GMA, a first-aid booth provided by the Roseville Association and one of the credit unions.


  Members of the UPAA of Sacramento pose for a picture. Shown here are UP Betan DVMs and their  spouses.

From center: Dr. Billy Monteagudo and wife Virgie, Dr. Fred Aquino, Dr. Cecilio Felix and wife Anita.

UPAA of  Sacramento was one of the participating groups.





 The author, Cheryl Hutchins (at center), with the Fiesta Planning Committee 2008 that included

 UP Betans Willie Vergara (2nd left) and Johnny Regadio (rightmost).



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