The annual KalayaanSF Festival


SAN FRANCISCO — Filipino Cultural performances and art were displayed last June 16 in the heart of San Francisco at Union Square, culminating with a free concert in the early evening featuring Platinum awardee and Philippine “R&B King”, Jay R, and “Asia’s Queen of Soul”, Jaya.

The concert was proudly presented by TFC/The Filipino Channel in partnership with the Philippine Consulate General of San Francisco and KalayaanSF, to celebrate the 120th Philippine Independence Day.

The annual KalayaanSF Festival at Union Square started at 12 noon and ended at 8PM. The public experienced the best of Filipino culture. There were signature “street” performances on all corners of the Square, where traditional and modern dances, martial arts, visual arts, and musical performances were delivered up close. The Marketplace Pavilion featured vendors offering Philippine-themed and Philippine made merchandise, while various exhibitors, from corporate sponsors to non-profits reached out to the public. There were also food booths to satisfy craving palettes.

Kalayaan Hero Awards
One of the highlights of the KalayaanSF Festival was a formal presentation of known and un-heralded heroes in the community. Each year, a small group of hand-picked community influencers and leaders are introduced to their constituents, allowing awardees and the community to know and interact with each. 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, medicine, and community service. This follows perfectly Consul General Henry Bensurto Jr.’s mantra to “Spark, Connect and Empower!“

This years “Bayani” or heroes are: George Gange, founder and project director of Pagyamanin Likas Musika (San Jose), Jese Viscosho PhD, community and public service advocate (Alaska), Dr. Julieta Gabiola, global health service, and specialist in Biosketch forTelemedicine (Stanford); Atty. Melba Cawit, legal service to underserved (East Bay); Appointment Secretary to Gov. Gerry Brown, Mona Pasquil (Sacramento); Nellie Hizon, proponent of Simbang Gabi, highlighting Filipino culture (San Francisco); Norma Placido, social and political advocate (Solano County), Polly Cortez philanthropist and community leader (South San Francisco), and Rosario Benipayo, journalist, educator and social activist (BayArea).

Last June 9, a piano concert featuring world-renowned Filipino pianist, Raul Sunico was held at the Marines Memorial Theater. The San Francisco Boy’s Choir was featured as well as the “Rigodon de Honor” performed by community members and consular staff. A formal reception followed at the Philippine Center.