A scene from last year’s parade.  (Filipino Reporter photo by Manny Caballero)

With this year’s theme, “RETRACING OUR ROOTS, WEAVING OUR IDENTITY, CELEBRATING FILIPINO GREATNESS,” the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) and hundreds of Filipinos, Filipino-Americans and their organizations will beam with pride as they march down Madison Avenue from 38th Street to 27th Street this Sunday, June 4 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.; simultaneously, the 3-in-1 event will have the Street Fair on Madison Avenue and 25th Street and 26th Street turning to Park Avenue; while the Cultural Festival begins early this year at 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

PIDCI held its last community meeting Wednesday evening at the Kalayaan Hall, Philippine Consulate in New York where President Dr. Prospero Lim, now on his second term, addressed a full-house with all vendors, marchers and volunteers, thanking his hardworking Board Of Directors/Chairpersons and committee volunteer members.

Now on its 27th Anniversary, the PIDCI began as the Philippine Independence Day Committee in 1990 under the auspices of the Philippine Consulate General in New York.

Dr. Pros acknowledged the presence and the yearly support of all its past grand marshals (26 of them), its past over-all chairpersons (1990-2002), and its past presidents (2002/2003-2015) upon incorporation.

With him were the 2017 Parade Grand Marshals Drs. Rod and Elma Castillo and the various Chairpersons who did their final reports and announcements for this Sunday’s biggest Independence Day Anniversary Celebration outside of the Philippines.

Consul Arman Talbo also gave his thank you speech on behalf of Consul General Tess de Vega who is currently in the Philippines but will back in time for the parade.

Both Consul Arman and President Pros, asked for a moment of silence to pray for our Muslim brothers and sisters in Marawi City, victims of terrorist act in Mindanao.

Potri Ranka Manis also lead a prayer in her dialect.

Neo Colors Productions And Advertising International Inc. Gina Reyes, COO and Dr. Christine May Daguno-Canoy, President and CEO, were also present and gave a few words thanking the PIDCI, the Philippine Consulate and the PH Tourism Promotions Board and its COO Cesar Montano, for embarking on this momentous occasion in having the International Beauty Queens of the Philippines celebrate in New York.

Headliners for this Sunday’s parade and Cultural Festival include Miss World 2013 Megan Young, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, Miss International 2016 Kylie Verzosa; Concert King Martin Nievera, Asia’s Nightingale Lani Misalucha courtesy of VYNZ-NY Entertainment; and American Idol’s 11th Season 1st runner-up Jessica Sanchez joined by current Grand Champion Global Pinoy Singing Idol, Shane Ericks and Mikey Bustos, our YouTube sensation/comedian.

Latest addition to the Filipino greatness and beauty are: Miss Pacific World 2017 Beatrice Andrada sponsored by the IPEN, the Filipino-Canadian group (based in Toronto) headed by Edgar Sulit who have been diligently supporting the Philippine Independence Day New York parade for four years now.

Beatrice is 25 years old and 5’83 tall.

She was born and raised in Quezon City but at the age of 12 her family moved to Canada and joined the International Professional Entertainment Network (IPEN), now on its 30th year, led by Edgar Sulit who trains and sends beauty queens/kings to international pageants.

Being a part of this group it gave her the opportunity to represent Canada in Mutya ng Pilipinas 2014.

Ms. Republic of the Philippines Fermira Dianne Ramos is also participating courtesy of Romulo Aromin Jr., MD, FAPA (Chair, Miss RP 2017 Search  International Relations Liaison).

Taking the stage by storm are a group of accomplished artists from West-End to Broadway.

Recently confirmed are:

Christine Allado, an accomplished  stage and film actress who studied music and theater at the University of the Philippines and was very honored and privileged to be accepted at the Royal Academy of London.

She appeared in the West End productions of: In the Heights, Wuthering Heights, Here Lies Love.

She is currently rehearsing as one of the cast leads of Hamilton-  London cast.

She was the special guest performer of the world renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli in his 2016 World Tour that included a performance in the Philippines.

The production of Miss Saigon also just confirmed the participation Lianah Sta. Ana who plays Kim as the alternate; and Kimmie Truong, understudy for the role of Gigi.

Lianah Sta. Ana recently made her Broadway debut in the revival of Miss Saigon as Kim, alternate, at the Broadway Theatre.

She’s a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, a YoungArts Theatre Winner, and an Amateur Night at the Apollo Season Champion.

She has performed at major league sporting events at Madison Square Garden, MetLife Stadium, Citi Field and Barclays Center, as well as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and London’s Hackney Empire.

She has even performed in front of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House.

Lianah’s next scheduled performance this month will be at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the salute to the 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars.

PIDCI annually hosts A-rated local performers and newcomers from the tri-state and neighboring areas to give them the opportunity to pursue their music careers by performing in front of the largest outdoor audience in the East Coast.

Leading them are Angel Ram, Maggie K, Michael G Sounds; Sing Pilipinas Winners Mitch Week, runners up Christopher Corro, Desiree Wisotsky and Excelsia De Jesus; and Rasmin Diaz is one of tri-state New York’s favorite local artists.

Originally from Canada, this versatile vocalist moved to the Big Apple in 2015 and is slowly becoming a household name in the Fil-Am community.

She has performed at world-famous Carnegie Hall, the BergenPAC and Alex Theatre in Los Angeles, and has experienced working with iconic composers Ryan Cayabyab and Cecile Azarcon.

Rasmin sings jazz, pop, standards and OPM.

Critics call her the “Jazz Princess” of New York.

Introducing newcomers Anthony M. Samonte, a high school teacher in the Bronx, who has been living and working in New York since 2007.

Despite his busy schedule in teaching, he still finds time to sing and performs on stage.

He has been seen at the promotional cast of NYC Noli Me Tangere, The Musical, Oh La La Filipina and performed recently in Jersey City in celebration of Santacruzan Festival 2017.

Christian Montanez is a Fil-Am from Long Island, N.Y.

At age 20, he decided to go to the Philippines to pursue nursing.

He spent four years in Tagbilaran City, Bohol studying at Holy Name University.

Although he was busy with school, he still found time pursuing his passion with music.

Christian is a singer and rapper who can play multiple instruments like the guitar, piano and drums.

He is working at a hospital as a registered nurse.

He will be performing with his two brothers Mike and Matt who often jam along with him.

Making their rounds in the Fil-Am circuits, the loyal audience and millennials will be entertained by the Arato Brothers Band, Take The Stage Band, Alleyah Kate; MB2NY, Tammy Pattugalan; La Guardia High School of the Performing Arts with Ryan PAqueo and Anne Garana; Hip-hop Dance crews: Epitome of Diversity & The Wannabees; and the Cultural Groups - Kinding Sindaw, Ligaya Cultural Group & MASSKARA Bacolod NY Edition.

Last but not the least, Rianne Avendula (past PIDCI’s Ms. Filipino-American) will make a brief guest appearance singing the American National Anthem; Emcees for the Cultural Festivals are regulars to PIDCI, Grace Rustia, Jonathan Capistrano and Sigh Robes Castillo.