Parade during Kalayaan 2018 the 120th Philippine Independence Day Celebration taking place at the Dubai World Trade Center Zabeel Hall 1, Dubai. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: All the facets of Philippine culture and heritage will be on display in the UAE through light and fire shows, theatre productions and special community events as part of the 121st Philippine Independence Day celebrations this month, an official said.

The Philippines’ blood-bought independence was declared on June 12, 1898 after more than three centuries of Spanish colonial rule.

With it, the Philippines became the first republic in Asia.

Celebrations in the UAE began as early as April with community competitions.

The climax of the three-month celebration is happening this month, specifically this week, as the Philippine missions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and Philippine Independence Day (PID) organising committees collaborate to bring the most festive and most inclusive celebration so far.

“The blanket theme of the Independence Day celebrations now is to celebrate our heritage and culture but in the context of a larger global community such as the UAE,” Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes said.

Are Filipinos really free? What OFWs think about Philippine Independence Day

Starting with a simple flag raising ceremony on Wednesday at the embassy and consulate, a host of other events plus fireworks shows are in store for the public to get a glimpse of the rich culture of Filipinos, some 750,000 of whom call UAE their second home.

Laser show

190611 imagine show
The colours of the Philippine flag will be displayed in a customised ‘Imagine’ show at Dubai Festival City Mall to mark the Asian nation’s 121st Independence Day. Image Credit: Supplied

On Wednesday evening, the record-breaking laser and light show ‘Imagine’ at Dubai Festival City will present a unique show tailor-made to tell the story of the Philippines’ rich history on a 360-degree field across the mall’s waterfront that spans more than 20 acres.

“This is a joint initiative between the consulate and Dubai Festival City. They are going to customise the show with the history of the Philippines. We coordinated with the Dubai Festival City on the submission of the files, what music to play, photos, and movies to project,” Cortes said.

The laser and light show will run every night from 7pm until June 15 at Dubai Festival City.

On Friday, a special community event has planned for the community that will be punctuated by a fashion show called ‘Ystilo at Moda’ (Style and Fashion) in the evening.

Philippines Independence Day Celebration at the World Trade Center Exhibition Hall, Dubai. Image Credit: Antonin Kelian Kallouche/Gulf News archives

“The event features six rising superstars of the fashion industry in Dubai and the Northern Emirates. The UAE is also a breeding ground for artists, particularly fashion designers, which is why we have the Dubai Design District to showcase the amount of talent that has come from all over the world and to look to Dubai as the place where they could nest this talent, expertise and artistic experience.”

Jason Roi Bucton, Vice-Chairman of the PID Organising Committee in Dubai, said this year’s celebration is a reboot of what the PID is all about.

“We will focus on flag, history, arts, culture and fashion as our guide for most of the cultural presentations. We have removed the yearly competitions/contest. We believe that everyone is willing to devote their time and talent, not to compete, but to showcase Filipino ingenuity to the younger generations and to other ethnicities,” Bucton told Gulf News.

Bucton said independence day celebrations will also be held in other emirates for the first time, such as Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.

Philippine Independence Day monthlong celebrations

Flag raising ceremony and Short Programme
When: June 12, 7am
Where: Philippine embassy and consulate (Abu Dhabi and Dubai)

IMAGINE Laser and light show
When: June 12 9pm; June 13 to 15 7pm onwards
Where: Dubai Festival City
Admission: Free; open to all

Philippine Independence Day Community Event
When: June 14, 9am to 8pm
Where: Zabeel Hall 5, Dubai World Trade Centre
Admission: Free; open to all

Grand Show by the PID Organising Committee
When: June 15
Where: Rajmahal Theatre, Bollywood Park, Dubai Parks and Resorts
Admission: This is a ticketed event. Filipinos can get tickets to the park for as low as Dh39. Free tickets will be given away at the Community event on June 14.

Philippine Independence Day reception
When: June 16, 7pm
Where: Dusit Thani Dubai
Admission: Invitation only

Renowned Filipino artist Manuel Valdemor
When: June 18, 6pm
Where: Philippine Consulate-General
Admission: Free; open to all

Commemoration of Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal’s 158th birth anniversary
When: June 19, 7pm
Where: Philippine Consulate-General

Philippine Independence Day Celebration by the Philippine Embassy
When: June 21
Where: Abu Dhabi Breakwater Theatre
Admission: Free; open to all

A Soiree of Saga and Songs with guest Ryan Cayabyab
When: June 29, 8pm
Where: Emirates institute of banking and Financial Studies Auditorium, Academic City
Admission: Invitation only