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Filipinos in Austria felt a deeper meaning of the word community as they celebrated the annual Barrio Fiesta organized by the Council of Filipino Associations in Austria (CFAA), in cooperation with the Embassy of the Philippines in Vienna on 19 July 2014, at the Sportplatz ATV Liesing, Vienna.
Barrio Fiesta, which means neighborhood celebration, is a gathering of Filipino culture in which different Philippine neighborhoods celebrate their patron saints. The celebration of Barrio Fiesta is nevertheless a part of the Philippine Independence Day Celebration here.
Beginning in the early 90’s, Barrio Fiesta celebration in Austria sought to educate the Filipino community about the richness of the Pinoy culture.
Each year the event has become increasingly popular.
“Every year the Barrio Fiesta has gotten bigger and bigger,” said Jomari Segura, one of the organizers of the celebration.
The celebration included a buffet-style lunch and dinner featuring an array of Filipino dishes and traditional and modern dances.
In her opening remarks during the celebration, Council of Filipino Associations in Austria Chairman, Bong Segura said the purpose of Barrio Fiesta is just showing unity and expressing our Filipino heritage to inform the rest of the Filipino community in Austria.
Segura further commented that the Barrio Fiesta gives participants a sense of camaraderie.
Philippine Ambassador to Austria Lourdes Yparraguirre extended her gratitude to the leadership and active community members who made the annual Pinoy celebration a successful event.
Thousands of Guests
Thousands of the Filipinos from all over Austria attended the spectacle of typical Filipino parade and dances. Hours before the opening, a line of spectators stretched from the streets of Pellmanngasse to the entrance of the ATV Liesing ground in anticipation of the traditional fiesta in Austria.
This year’s Barrio Fiesta included more than 50 Filipino organizations and establishments.
Dance and stage, performances and operations committees came up with ideas and choreography for the presentation.
The Barrio Fiesta integrates group effort and dedication from each member of the CFAA and other interested groups.
Fiesta’s top attraction
The fiesta’s top attraction was the food bazaar, where mouth-watering dishes gave Filipinos and other guests a savory treat of native Filipino dishes. Other stalls offered groceries, souvenir items, real estate investment opportunities in the Philippines, tours and travel packages, cargo-forwarding and money remittance services.
Paaralan sa Pasuguan
Another highlight of the Barrio Fiesta was the graduation ceremony of the annual Páaralán sa Pásuguán (Schule in der Botschaft). Running on its 8th year, this year’s crop of graduates was composed fifteen Filipino-Austrian children. The graduates performed two folk dances.
The Philippine Embassy booth displayed posters of popular scenic spots of the country, including the city of Vigan, which is among 21 finalists in 7 wonder cities race.
The Embassy also took the opportunity to campaign for the Overseas Absentee Voting Registration and responded to consular queries during the event.
Barrio Fiesta is more than a festivity. It is a means to educate the host country and other nationalities about the richness of Filipino culture usually celebrated with food, music and dances. Thus it provides a sense of unity and understanding towards better integration of new communities.
The down-to-earth attitude of strong will and optimism is best expressed by many overseas Filipino migrants and workers who introduced the spirit of Barrio Fiesta to destination countries. Such event has become increasingly popular in Austria, drawing thousands of participants every year.
With thousands of festival enthusiasts including Austrians and other nationalities attending the barrio fiesta, the cultural and social event turned into a fun-filled, overwhelming introduction to Filipino culture and an open invitation to all nationalities to travel and see more of the Philippines.
Hector Pascua, ABS-CBN News, Austria
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