The Virtual 35th annual Pagdiriwang Festival in Seattle
JUAN PABLO "JP" A. PAREDES
Coordinator, Pagdiriwang 2021
Welcome to the 35th annual Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival in Seattle. My name is JP Paredes, and I’m the President of the Filipino Cultural Heritage Society of Washington that produces the festival. Pagdiriwang is the largest Filipino art and culture festival in the Pacific Northwest. A Philippine Tourism Director once remarked to me that she has been all over the United States as a guest of various Philippine cultural events but it is only in Seattle where she experienced a whole range of artistic and cultural events, making Pagdiriwang arguably the largest Philippine festival of its kind in the continent.
Pagdiriwang is traditionally held at the Seattle Center with the support of the City of Seattle and its instrumentalities such as the Seattle Center and the City’s art and culture sector as well as private sponsors. Traditionally held in late spring during the first weekend in June, Pagdiriwang offers about 20 hours of programming at each sub-venue in the Seattle Center or more than 100 hours of content that cover dance and song performances, martial arts, exhibits of fine arts, artifacts, textiles, photography and history, readings of poetry and plays, a film festival, culinary arts and cooking demonstrations, workshops, children’s games and other child-friendly educational activities, booths offering information or selling hot and packaged food and dry goods, bands and many other events that offer Filipino and Philippine artistic and cultural content.
This year as in 2020, Pagdiriwang will be held virtually because of the challenges posed by the pandemic. Of course, it need not be said that festivals offer a deeply satisfactory experience to the attendee when experienced in person. Despite the challenges, we believe that the art and culture content offered by Pagdiriwang in person can be experienced virtually when seen and heard online although compressed within 6 hours throughout the weekend. We remain hopeful that we will be able to return to the in-person format in 2022, in time for the 35th anniversary of Pagdiriwang that started in 1987 at the Seattle Center.
While there are limitations and other challenges posed by the virtual format, there were opportunities as well. One great development is the infusion of overseas talents that would have been prohibitively expensive and logistically challenging had we invited them to perform in person. With the virtual format using advanced video and audio technologies and social media, we can request anyone in the world to perform. As in last year’s visual fine art exhibition by Philippine artists led by Grandier Bella and with the use of the ArtStep app, the viewers were treated to a virtual tour of an art gallery featuring several paintings by Philippine artists, as well as real-time sketching workshops that would not have been possible to stage in person.
As you will see from the program we prepared for you, we will be presenting 3 hours of content on each day of Saturday and Sunday, June 5 and 6, starting at 1:00 pm, Pacific time. This year’s event will be a compressed program that is representative of the wide range of our in-person activities.
I am extremely proud to introduce this year’s excellent quality performances by Philippine legendary violinist John Lesaca, vocalist Timmy Pavino, the dance performers of the Filipino Performing Arts of Washington State (FPAWS) and the FCS Kalahi Dance Company, the Koleksiyon Artifacts presentation by John Paredes, the Cooking Demonstration by Silvain Alarilla of Snor’s Kitchen, Words Expressed of Filipino poets coordinated by Bob Flor, the Photography exhibit of Leia Maminta-Smith, the community and Senior Services presentation by the IDIC, the Kulintang of Titania Buchholdt, the webinar by eminent author Peter Bacho, the art exhibit of Grandier Bella, the performances of various artists of Musika at Iba Pa coordinated by Teza Mendoza, the workshops on Ancient Filipino writings by Kristian Kabuay and the Traditional Kalinga Tattoo Art by lane Wilcken, previews of the Diwa Film festival of Adrian Alarilla, the dance performance of the Singkil by the SAYAW of the University of Washington’s Filipino American Students Association (FASA), Filipino Table Art of Violet Noriega, and the serenades by Los Angeles artist Herome Bolisay.
Thank you to Seattle Center and its staff, the City of Seattle, the Pagdiriwang performers, event coordinators, artists and sponsors. Again, welcome to the 35th annual Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival to commemorate the 123rd anniversary of Philippine Independence!