July 25 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, August 18, 2013
An annual celebration of Filipino culture in Norfolk has been described as the best event of its type in the UK outside London.
Hundreds of people enjoyed the sights, sounds and tastes of the Philippines at a Barrio Fiesta, meaning village fair, at East Tuddenham, between Norwich and Dereham, on Saturday.
The event, being held for the third time, saw people enjoy traditional Filipino dancing, music, colourful costumes and food.
It is organised by Pinas (Pinoy in Norwich Aksiong Samahang) an organisation established in 2005 to enhance social cohesion and promote healthy living.
It was covered by The Filipino Channel (TFC), the biggest television network in the Philippines.
TFC correspondent Carol Panday said: “People in the Philippines love to see their culture well represented around the world.
“I have seen this Barrio Fiesta develop and grow over the last three years.
“It has become better organised each year and I believe it to now be the best Barrio Fiesta in the UK outside London.
“It is something Norfolk should be proud of.”
Nationally there are some 300,000 Filipinos living in the UK.
There are many Filipinos in Norfolk, with more than 500 working at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
There is also a Filipino basketball league, run at City Academy in Norwich.
Amongst the special guests at Saturday’s Barrio Fiesta were Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, Gene Alcantra, from European Network of Filipino Diaspora, a networking organisation, and Maria Fe T. Pangilinan, deputy chief of mission for the Embassy of the Philippines in London.
She said: “I’m very excited to be here. Barrio Fiestas, like this, are important to show people that Filipino culture is unique and we are not just like any other Asian country.
“They also enable Filipinos living here to integrate with one another and to help young Filipinos who were born here to learn about where thy came from.
“I would encourage them to visit the Philippines to see how much the country has economically and medically over the last 30 years.”
She added: “Filipinos living here make a positive impact on the communities in which they live. They always want to help people and contribute to local communities. I’ve never heard anything negative about Filipinos living in the UK and events like this help to show people what we are all about.”
Pinas vice-president Tess Ward, who has lived in Norfolk since 1994, said: “We are very pleased with how our Barrio Fiesta has gone this year.
“Lots of people have come to enjoy themselves and experience Filipino culture.
“We are very proud of this event and want to keep doing it for many years to come.”