‘First New York, then the world.’
Philippine Independence Day Council Inc. (PIDCI) has been working on inviting Dinagyang to come to New York since 2005 but never materialized till Joji Jalandoni became the President in 2011, then the stars aligned and the rest was history.
What made her decide to bring Dinagyang to the Big Apple? “Why not ? I saw the opportunity to showcase our culture, tradition and heritage to the next Filipino American generation. Why not bring Dinagyang to New York to dazzle the New Yorkers with the beats of the drums. New York first, then the world,” stressed Jalandoni.
The big gathering was a reunion for Fil-Ams celebrating culture in their “second” home.
“It opened hope and brought families and friends together from all walks of life, from different states and globally to celebrate the commemoration of Philippine Independence especially Ilonggos. They all came and answered the beats of the drums “Hala Bira!” she exclaimed.
“The coming of Dinagyang not only to New York but also to Washington DC in 2011 gave hope to all that nothing is impossible. Dream it and let it happen,” shared Jalandoni.
“And most of all we are able to share our festivities to the generation who cannot or not able to go back home. It is a priceless memory for the happy bank. It is a story that can be told and repeated a thousand times.”
Dinagyang bridges Iloilo City and Ilonggos to the global arena.
“The US tour was a vehicle to introduce to the next Filipino-American generation the treasures and richness of our culture, tradition and heritage. The PIDCI event happens first Sunday of June every year The stage is set. This is an opportunity of a lifetime for the kids and performers to visit New York City and see the world. And for tourism this is a win-win. It takes a village to make it happen but it is worth knowing that the next generation will benefit from it all,” Jalandoni affirmed.
For the 50th Dinagyang celebration, Jalandoni came home and brought with her some friends to join the revelry.