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The 20th anniversary of PhilFest, one of the country’s largest outdoor Philippine festivals and the trademark three-day fundraising event of the Philippine Cultural Foundation, Inc., in Tampa, Florida, from April 10 to April 12, was a resounding success. It was sponsored by 19 Philippine-American organizations under the Foundation’s umbrella, headed by PhilFest 2015 chairman, Roger Caculitan, assisted by vice chairmen, Ross Balderama and Emil Cruz and 35 different PhilFest committees. Hundreds of volunteers also donated their time to ensure the success of this premier fundraising event. Sixteen food vendors sold ethnic food representing every major region in the Philippines, while merchandisers and exhibitors sold Philippine apparel, accessories, crafts, art work, oils, perfumes and services such as real estate, insurance, TV programming and others. PCFI had six muses representing six of the member organizations vying for the tile of Mrs. PhilFest 2015, based on the amounts raised earned by their organizations for the year for the maintenance and upkeep of the Philippine Cultural Enrichment Complex. The title was won by Mary Yasol, representing PAAT( Pilipino-American Association of Tampa). First Runner-up was Dalisay Allado of Ilocano USA and Second Runner-up was Cora Angeles of the Bicol Association of Southern Florida. Different cultural presentations were featured by the three cultural arms of PCFI (the Philippine Performing Arts Company, the Philippine Choral Group and the Bamboo Orchestra), together with 24 other performing groups from within Tampa and other cities in Florida. Different singing and dance competitions were also held and all prizes for the winners were donated by generous members of the Tampa Bay community. Cultural exhibits were on display at the Bayanihan Arts and Events Center. Parades and processions featuring beautiful ladies and handsome gentlemen in elegant gowns and Barong Tagalogs with colorful arkos, street dancing with unique costumes and the yearly Philippine Fashion show were all admired by the onlookers.

Well-deserved congratulations go to PCFI on the occasion of its memorable 20th PhilFest!

Photos: Nhick Ramiro Pacis and C.K. Lau