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Filipinos in Virginia mark PH Independence Day with festival, fashion show

The Filipino community in Norfolk, Virginia marked the 125th Philippine Independence Day with a festival that included a fashion show.

The celebration was led by the Norfolk Sister Cities Association – Cagayan de Oro Chapter.

Its highlight was the first-ever fashion show in the Hampton Roads Area, which showcased Philippine traditional clothing from indigenous and ethnic groups mostly from Mindanao.

“The theme we have chosen this year is unity among tribes,” said Raylene Baumgart, chair of the NSCA – CDO. “And because of that, we did for the first time in history, a fashion show depicting the ethnic tribes around the three big islands in the Philippines.”

Baumgart added: “I am just amazed at how the ladies came up, showing off their costumes. Most of the contestants are actually from Mindanao. It’s a combination of our ethnic Muslim tribe, Manobo, Tausugs and of course, our famous Filipiniana.”

Visayas, meanwhile, was represented by an entry from Bohol which depicts the treasures of the island, such as the Chocolate Hills and the popular delicacy Kalamay.

Luzon was represented by the Ifugao and the Igorot tribal clothing, among others.

“It really showcases how diverse and fun the Filipino community is,” said Iric Arribas, the Philippine consul general in Washington, D.C. “There’s a lot of activities which really show the multiculturalism of our society.”

The NSCA is part of the Sister Cities International.

The group is a non-profit citizen diplomacy organization which fosters partnerships between Norfolk and its international partner communities such as Cagayan de Oro City.

Baumgart hopes that with the success of the celebration, more communities and Filipino-American groups will participate next year and in the years to come.



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