Current reigning Diwa Ng Kalayaan Mikaela Alexa Rada.

The Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) will present an impressive array of beautiful, intelligent and talented single ladies of Filipino descent turning 16 years of age up to 25 years old at the Diwa Ng Kalayaan (Spirit of Independence) Selection, Coronation Pageant and Gala.

The highly competitive beauty, brains and talent competition will be held on Saturday, April 11, 2015 from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. at the Grand Ballroom of the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Newark Airport at 128 Frontage Road, Newark, NJ 07114.

The 24th annual Diwa Ng Kalayaan Pageant is the first pre-celebratory event that kicks off the celebration to commemorate the 117th Anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence in New York City organized, produced, directed and presented by the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc., that is now reveling it’s 13th year anniversary.

The Diwa Ng Kalayaan competition, introduced in 1991 by the Philippine Independence Day Committee (that organized the independence events for 12 years under the auspices of the Philippine Consulate General in New York), has been an integral part of the commemoration that builds up to the Philippine Independence Day Celebration considered the largest of its kind outside the Philippines with its trio of crowd-drawing major events — the Independence Day Parade, the Street Fair (a Filipino Food Festival and Mini-expo), and the Cultural Festival, every first Sunday in June.

More importantly, the pageant aims to develop, instill and nurture a greater appreciation among the Filipino-American youth of their Filipino values, cultural heritage, and the history of their ancestral country.

The “Diwa Ng Kalayaan” also bears the responsibility of being the PIDCI Ambassador of Goodwill.

She, together with her court, helps promote the significance of the Philippine Independence Celebration to the second generation and also gets the opportunity to ride on a festive float personifying the spirit of Philippine freedom at the Philippine Independence Day Parade on Madison Avenue; and will be presented during the Cultural Festival, the culmination of the day’s festivities on Sunday, June 7.

The reigning “Diwa Ng Kalayaan 2014” Mikaela Alexa Rada, multi-talented teen from Bayonne, N.J. enjoyed the honor of being the PIDCI Goodwill Ambassador.

Most notably, she cherished the opportunity of touring the Philippines as her top prize during the Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour and represented PIDCI in Tacloban City, Leyte with the Blessed to Bless Foundation that helped the victims of Typhoon Haiyan and affected areas to rebuild churches, homes and feeding the children.

Rada, daughter of Adel and Melissa Rada, looks forward to meeting the new set of candidates, all community-service-oriented, who will be competing for the crown as the next “Diwa Ng Kalayaan 2015” Titleholder; they are Joanna Lizardo, Rianne Avendula-Philips, Jazmine Emmanuelle B. Binag, Andrea Joyce Hermoso, Katherine Campbell and Anne Marie Lim.  

The winner will receive a grand prize of a round trip airlines ticket to the Philippines with the possibility of participating in the Philippine Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour to the Philippines in July 2015.

Other prizes go with the highly prestigious titles.

Joanna Lizardo of Allendale, N.J. is a sophomore at Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale with honors in mathematics and science and aspires to be a cardiothoracic surgeon.

She is passionate with music, arts and theatre; and is a member of the Cheerleading Varsity Team, Lacrosse Varsity Team and its Exclusive Travel Team.

Rianne Avendula-Philips is a Cebuana raised in Manhattan.

She is a junior vocal major at the famed Fiorello H. La Guardia HS of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Lincoln Center.

The athletic honor student plays various instruments and wants to be a lawyer; she is also a member of ARISTA National Honor Society, the ARCHON Student Service Honor Society; president of La Guardia High School’s Filipino Club.

Jazmine Emmanuelle B. Binag of Nutley N.J. was born in the Philippines.

A Dean’s List freshman student at the Stevens Institute of Technology, majoring in biomedical engineering, she envisions to also be a part-time science journalist.

Her hobbies include speedpainting, writing, playing the piano, as well as engaging in tennis and basketball.

Manila-born Andrea Joyce Hermoso is from Bayonne, N.J.

A sophomore at Bayonne H.S. this honor student’s future goal is to be a lawyer.

She keeps herself busy by playing the guitar; dancing, drawing and is very interested in fashion.

Katherine Campbell of Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. will be a graduating senior of Hasbrouck Heights H.S.

She is a member of the National Honor Society, with the National H.S. Scholar Award, Girl Scouts Silver Award to her name and garnered other pageant titles, i.e., National American Miss NJ Teen 2013; USA Ambassador NJ Teen 2014; Top 16th-Ms. Teen USA-NJ.

Sports-minded and musically talented, her goal is to double major in nutrition and business.

Anne Marie Lim, born and raised in Jersey City, N.J., she is a junior at High Tech High School, a selective vocational school for STEM in North Bergen, N.J.

An honors/AP student she plans to study biomedical engineering, do research internships while in school; and envisions doing research in a lab or designing tools for the medical field after graduation.

An avid reader, her hobbies include dance, piano and photography.

She feels blessed to have traveled to Dumaguete, Philippines in the Summer of 2014 to participate in a medical mission with her church group.

For more details on the Diwa Ng Kalayaan Coronation Pageant and Gala, please contact the chairpersons of the Committee - Board Members Maryanne Sanagustin, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 908-456-7063; Beth Manalo, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 551-998-1640; Elvira Reyes, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 551-208-4986; or President Fe Martinez This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 973-222-0085.


The Philippine Independence Day Celebration in commemoration of the 117th Anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence will be held on Sunday, June 7, 2015 on Madison Avenue in New York City.

Scheduled activities include the following:

• 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.: FLAG CEREMONY AND INDEPENDENCE DAY MASS at the Philippine Center, 556 Fifth Avenue.

• 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.: STREET FAIR, 26th Street down to 24th Street and Madison Avenue.

Contact Chairpersons: Tambi Wycoco (212) 477-9005; Gheng Pingol (917) 669-0505.

• 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.: INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE, 38th Street down to 27th Street and Madison Avenue.

Contact Chairpersons: Nonoy Rafael (516) 298-8428; Ner Martinez (347) 837-5853.

• 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.: CULTURAL FESTIVAL, 23rd Street and Madison Avenue.

Contact Chairperson: Elvira Reyes (551) 208-4986; Albert Diala (347) 260-8063.

Other pre-celebratory events include:

• April 25 (Saturday) - MRS. KALAYAAN (Mrs. Independence) PAGEANT

Coronation of candidates for professional women of Filipino descent in the Northeast, U.S.

1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Astoria World Manor, 25-22 Astoria Boulevard, Astoria, NY 11102-2940

Contact Chairpersons: Nonoy Rafael (516) 298-8428; Margie Wisotky (347) 661-5444.

• May 9 (Saturday) - GRAND MARSHAL GALA
Honoring the 2015 Parade Grand Marshal: Reuben S. Seguritan, Esq. (PIDCI founding president 2002)

7 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Leonard’s Palazzo, 555 Northern Boulevard, Great Neck, NY 11021

Contact Chairpersons: Dr. Pros Lim (347) 248-5106; Angie Molina (718) 687-0976.

The culmination of the Independence Celebration:

• June 13 (Saturday) – GRAND INDEPENDENCE BALL

7 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Teaneck Marriott Ballroom at Glenpointe, 100 Frank W. Burr Boulevard, Teaneck, NJ 07666

Contact Chairperson: Ollie David (732) 499-7995.

PIDCI COMMUNITY MEETINGS at the Philippine Consulate, 556 5th Avenue between 45th-46th Streets, New York NY 10036

THURSDAYS, 7 p.m., on April 16, May 21 and June 4.

For all events, please contact PIDCI President Fe Martinez at (973) 222-0085; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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