Inquirer – May 20, 2016

San Francisco Bay Area gets set for big PH Independence Day bash

12:28 AM June 6th, 2015


Celebs including Gab Valenciano and Jessica Sanchez entertained Philippine Independence Day revelers in San Francisco last year. CONTRIBUTED

SAN FRANCISCO – Once again, the Bay Area’s Filipino American community will be out in full force for the celebration of Philippine nationhood, with a host of activities set to mark the 118th anniversary this year of the archipelago’s Independence Day.

The first event organized by KalayaanSF will be held on Union Square on Independence Day itself, Sunday, June 12. The outdoor program will feature pop diva and Las Vegas singing star Lani Misalucha and heartthrob Martin Nievera.

The second event will be a full-length piano concert to be held on Friday, June 24 in the evening at the Herbst Theater at the War Memorial & Performing Center in San Francisco featuring world-renowned classical pianist Cecile Licad.

On June 12, from 12 noon to 8 p.m., as in the past years, the public will be entertained by the event’s signature “street” performances on all corners of the Square and main stage. There will be folk dances representing the different Philippine regions, martial arts, visual arts and musical performances.

Attendees can browse and purchase Philippine products and sample authentic Filipino cuisine at a “MarketPlace” pavilion.  Corporate booths of major sponsors can reach out to members of the Filipino community.

Along with the festivities is a time to honor both known and unheralded heroes in the community. Each year, Kalayaan Hero Awardees are introduced to the public in a formal ceremony. KalayaanSF seeks to provide inspiration by honoring and presenting the accomplishments of these select individuals who have exemplified the highest ideals in the fields of sports, politics, arts, business and community service. Last year’s dozen awardees included tech pioneer, Dado Banatao, Golden State Warriors CFO, Jennifer Cabalquinto, and Emmy-winning broadcaster, Lloyd LaCuesta.

The festival will close with a free, full-length concert produced by ABS-CBN/TFC (The Filipino Channel), at the Union Square’s main stage. The concert will be headlined by the popular Martin Nievera and Las Vegas songbird Lani Misalucha.

‘Spark, Connect, Empower’

This year’s theme is “Spark. Connect. Empower.” “We hope to empower the generations of Filipinos abroad by igniting a deeper interest in their culture and history, fostering a deeper sense of identity, and strengthening and expanding connections with one another and with the homeland,” stated Consul General Henry S. Bensurto Jr.

Conrad ‘Radi’ Calalang, chairman of KalayaanSF remarked, “This year’s celebration is especially significant following a very spirited Philippine election season. Looking ahead, it’s now time to build and foster unity among our kababayans, and a joyous community celebration of our national holiday is the perfect place to come together as one.”

Concert & Gala

On Friday, June 24, world-renowned Filipino classical pianist Cecile Licad perform at the refurbished Herbst Theater at the War Memorial & Performing Arts Center in San Francisco. This black-tie gala will bring together concert aficionados, City and State officials, consular representatives from various nations and members of the Bay Area Filipino American community.

A formal reception will follow at the elegant Green Room. Aside from featuring gourmet food, guests will be entertained by top Filipino artists including classical/pop phenom, Matthew John Ignacio. The traditional formal dance, Rigodon de Honor, will be performed by community leaders and dignitaries.

KalayaanSF is a San Francisco Bay Area that includes the Philippine Consulate General of San Francisco, non-profits, and community groups.

For more information on these and other KalayaanSF events in the month of June, or for inquiries on sponsorship, volunteer and vendor opportunities, please visit,, or email

Read more: