Text by Rhea Topacio-Rogacion
Image courtesy of LHR Photography for Kalayaan Fiesta Foundation in the Netherlands
After 3 years of waiting, Kalayaan Fiesta Foundation in the Netherlands, represented by Ms. Maricel Manalo (President) and Mr. Jason Muñoz (Project Head), received full support from the Philippine Embassy in the Netherlands, and geared up for this year’s celebrations of the Philippine Independence Day Picnic. This year’s team consisted of Pedro, Charlie, Ian, Mara, Joseph, Mary-Ann, and Rhea. They were tasked to organize the program, event grounds, entrance, parking, and promotion of the event.
June 11 came, and as soon as the gates of Spaarnwoude Houtrak, Halfweg, venue of the KFFN Kalayaan Picnic opened at 7am, entrepreneurs, sponsors, vloggers, and guests arrived, and set up vendor stands and personal tents for their barbecue picnic with families and friends.
A mixture of Filipino goods, clothes, beauty products, services and of course, Filipino food, were available for sale during the event. Lines crawled to buy tapsi, ice cream, halo-halo, sisig, bananacue, barbecue, and other Filipino food favorites, across the huge green field. Barbero (for haircut), massage service and real estate offers were also present that day.
The festivities successfully gathered between 7,000-7,500 Filipinos and different nationalities, which is a first for KFFN since 2015. This day-long, fun-filled fair also featured Netherlands-based Filipino talents, from kids, teens, bands, dancers, and singers. There were also cultural workshops conducted for painting, photography, arnis, pangalay dance and hilot. On site, the first Filipino Independent Film Festival in the Netherlands premiered with 15 finalists from various parts of the world and reviewed by prestigious global juries of directors, actors, and entrepreneurs.
Major sponsor Beagley Copperman, a leading Asian food distributor in Europe, even set up a basketball court in the middle of the field (Filipino’s favorite sport) where kids and adults won prizes and took home giveaways. Other sponsors also had their own games and fun activities where guests won cash, karaoke, phone, and grocery gift packs. A bouncy castle beside the stage where kids enjoyed the entire day was also a plus at the event. Amid the picnic, people went near the stage and witnessed the exhilarating Paro Paro G dance contest. The audience wailed and cheered to vote for their favorite dancer. The crowd favorite Walter’s team, with his belly dancing and floor-sliding moves, took the grand prize.
KFFN's projects are also instrumental in helping Filipino communities back in the Philippines. This year's beneficiary is Stichting Sparrow (www.stichtingsparrow.nl), a foundation that gives children in poverty the opportunity to discover and develop their talents. Through their study house, with a team of teachers and social workers, they provide tailor-made study guidance. Their goal is a college degree for every scholar. They also sell a Filipino cookbook in Dutch called “Masarap!”as part of their efforts.
With perfect 20°C weather, tasty food, fun vibe, entertainment, family reunions, friends meet-up, shared food at the picnic tents, good cause and smiling faces, this day is a milestone for the KFFN Team, volunteers, performers, sponsors vendors, and the whole Filipino community in the Netherlands. A true celebration with a cause. Visit KFFN via kffn.nl or Facebook and Instagram pages for more information.