JERSEY CITY, N.J.: For 21 years, thousands of Filipino Americans in New Jersey and the nearby East Coast area gather together in June at a park in Jersey City to celebrate Philippine American Friendship Day.

The event consists of a parade: a procession of colorful floats and marching bands, culminating in a festival celebrating traditional food, music, dancing and culture of the Philippines. The event has been happening since 1991 and is organized by the Philippine-American Friendship Committee (PAFCOM).

In an effort to attract a younger Filipino-American generation, this year’s June 24th parade (the 22nd time this outdoor party will take place) will host the grand finale of a talent competition that begins in April.

On Sunday April 15, PAFCOM is going to sponsor a PAFCOM STAR SEARCH at Hudson Catholic High School in Jersey City NJ. The event will be facilitated by Maureen Javier, Jeanette Mojares and Rosemarie Flores.

PAFCOM is calling all Filipino American talents to compete on April 15, 2012. Submissions of CDs and other registration materials must be sent in by April 7. Click here to read the rules and guidelines.

PAFCOM is opening this year’s competition to all talents. As stated earlier, finalists selected on April 15th will get a chance to compete in the grand finale competition set for Sunday, June 24th during the PAFCOM Parade and Festival at Lincoln Park in Jersey City.

PAFCOM STAR SEARCH
PAFCOM STAR SEARCH

In a press release, PAFCOM offers details about its “star search”:

Singers,dancers, jugglers, violinists, comedians, ventriloquists, magicians are all invited to compete in this 4 category competition. Contestants will be divided into 4 categories: Girls / Boys / Over 30 / Group. Each group will have two (2) winners, a first-place winner selected by a prestigious judging panel and a People’s Choice winner determined by the audience’s applause.

PAFCOM Star Search gives Fil-Am contestants a platform to showcase their talent and bring their family and crew to push them through the next level of competition.

The PAFCOM Star Search competition will take place from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. on April 15th at Hudson Catholic High School in Jersey. Winners for each category that will be moving to compete at the Grand Finale will be announced on April 15th. These finalists will complete for the crown of PAFCOM Star Search Winner and cash awards on June 24, 2012.

PAFCOM has selected a panel of prestigious judges that have background and expertise in dance, music and entertainment. If you are interested in showcasing your talent, you need to register by April 7th.

A registration fee of $25 for a single act or groups. There will be a $10 entrance fee to see your favorite talent compete.

For more information, please visit www.pafcom.org or  contact Maureen Javier – alyssajade722@msn.com, Jeanette Mojares – jmojares@gmail.com or Rosemari Flores – flores.rosemarie@gmail.com.

The group also maintains a Facebook event page for those who prefer to link in via social media. –RG

Young Fil-Am child celebrates 2011 Phil-Am Friendship Day | Photo by Richard J McCormack (Jersey Journal)
Young Fil-Am child celebrates 2011 Phil-Am Friendship Day | Photo by Richard J McCormack (Jersey Journal)

Historical sidenote:
Between 1898 and 1946, the Philippine was a United States territory. Until the early 1960s, July 4 was the date on which the Philippines celebrated its independence day (the date of the country’s liberation by joint Filipino and American forces from the Japanese occupation at the end of World War II).

President Diosdado Macapagal moved the independence-day date to June 12, the date on which the Philippines proclaimed its liberation from Spain in 1898. In its place, Filipino-American Friendship Day was created on July 4, which happens to coincide with the United States’s Independence Day.

In the early 1900s, American missionaries, notably the Thomasites, and professionals arrived on Philippine shores to lay the groundwork for the formal educational system and the building of basic infrastructures. Early Filipinos migrated to the U.S., many to work in farms in California and Hawaii. Their contributions to U.S. labor and technology have since expanded, and Filipinos are now a significant part of the workforce in medical, engineering, information technology, education and other fields of endeavor. The bond continues to grow as friendship between the two countries is shored up by over a century of strong cultural relationship, in their sharing of a common language (English) and development in the arts, education and history. –RG

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