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Watch Bayanihan Festival 2017: Peek into Filipino culture in Dubai

Whether you're Filipino or not, this biggest gathering of expats from Philippines is worth checking out

The Bayanihan Festival took place at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Gulf News' Irish Eden Belleza, Virendra Saklani, Jobannie Tabada and Manuel Almario covered the biggest Filipino event in Dubai. Here is how it all unveiled.


Ivy Grace Paredes, former X-Factor contestant, entertains the crowd

The "singing consul" Paul Raymund Cortes, Philippine Consul General in Dubai, rocks the stage at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Take a peek into the vibrant world of dance, costumes and Philippine culture at the Dubai World Trade Centre. There's non-stop entertainment until 9pm.

Filipino expat heroes awarded

Five modern-day heroes in the UAE will be recognised in the OFW Bayani Award. Find out who they are.

OFW Bayani Awardees. Find out who they are soon

Elaborate costumes and fun, fun, fun as the Parade of Fiestas gets underway. Check out our live stream


'Feels like home'

Filipino expatriates in the UAE are recreating the innumerable Philippine festivities with the Parade of Fiestas at the Dubai World Trade Centre. This is just one of the most colourful segments of the Bayanihan Festival, which organisers said has drawn around 20,000 people on Friday.

Ofw Bayani with their families Ofw Bayani with their families

A big crowd has gathered at the venue and Gulf News' Manuel Almario describes the scene: ''The atmosphere is very warm and full of fun just like living in the Philippines. Seeing some traditional costumes by performers feels like home.'' Irish Eden Belleza succintly describes it in three words: ''Feels like heaven.'' 

Look who just took the floor! It's Filipino soul diva Jaya reverberating so much good vibes!

Filipinos are enjoying Jaya’s performance. Are you watching at The World Trade Centre?

A fiesta a day

It is said that there is at least one festival happening every day in the Philippines. The country has 7,107 islands, with hundreds of towns that celebrate their own festival. This is why the country is often called The Fiesta Islands. One of the most popular festivals is Sinulog. Here in Dubai, the festival of Cebu in the Philippines is represented by this beauty in costume at the Dubai World Trade Centre

Ever wondered what Filipino fiestas look like? The Parade of Festivals is coming up next for a peek into the revelry and grand costumes from each region in the Philippines

Multi award-winning UAE-based artist Ian Tocle dazzles with a flawless violin rendition


Flash mob takes centrestage

Hip hop dancers have formed a flash mob and have now taken the stage


Christmas chorale competition underway

Amateur and professional choirs are competing for the Christmas Chorale Competition. Check out the video below

Song and dance

Filipinos love music and most have a natural flair for singing as well as dancing. Here's a sampler of what's on show at the Dubai World Trade Centre 

Lanterns, Filipino style!

In the Philippines, the parol is an iconic symbol of Christmas. The colourful lantern is traditionally made of bamboo and paper, with a star pattern that is dominant in the design. At the Bayanihan Festival, the best one is going to be awarded today. Here's a few that caught our eye


Key guests

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella, Philippine Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes and consular staff are among the key guests at today's Bayanihan Festival. Soul diva Jaya is also taking the stage later today

Fun beats and moves

The drum and lyre presentation is one of the highlights of today's Bayanihan Festival. Check out these majorettes' baton-twirling skills 

A massive crowd has gathered at the Dubai World Trade Centre for the full-day event

Filipino costumes on show

One of the simultaneous events happening at the Bayanihan Festival is the Parade of Costumes. Here's a sneak peek at traditional and inspired Filipino wear.

94 groups, 1 big event

The Bayanihan Festival has attracted 94 Filipino groups around the UAE this year. It's the biggest show of unity for Filipino expats here.

And the parade begins!

Festive spirit in the air

The festive spirit of Filipinos fills one of the expansive halls of Dubai World Trade Centre as the Bayanihan Festival opens. We spotted young drum and lyre squads, cheerleaders and beauties in traditional Filipino wear. 

Participants gear up for Bayanihan Festival

Why you should check it out

If you want to try something different for the weekend, it is worth checking out, regardless of whether you’re Filipino or not.

Dubbed as the “biggest and grandest” gathering of expatriates from the Philippines, the annual Bayanihan Festival organised by FilClub, a Filipino community group in the UAE, definitely has  it all – from music to dance, to food, arts, crafts, shopping and so much more.

Taking place from 7am to 9pm, the whole-day community festival, which is a celebration of the spirit of cooperation and unity among Filipinos, is jam-packed with fun activities all in one venue, from a free concert to a host of talent showdowns to shopping bazaars.

Those who are heading to the festival can witness the ultimate showcase of Filipino talent. There will be groups of expatriates battling it out for the best acoustic band. There will be a cheerdance competition and a dance showdown, a choral competition, a drum and lyre showdown and a lot more.

Participants gear up for Bayanihan Festival

As if these showdowns are not enough, there are loads of other competitions lined up as well, including painting, photography, fruit and vegetable carving, and hair and make-up contests.

The event is open not just to expatriates from the Philippines. Non-Filipinos are encouraged to check it out as well and when they do, the will not only get to enjoy Filipino talent and creativity, they will be able to sample a wide variety of authentic Filipino dishes and shop for local products and bargains at the same time.

Bayanihan is the local term for the old practice of Filipinos coming together to help a neighbour relocate. It is now more commonly used to refer to the act of working together for a common goal.

According to Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes, today’s festival puts the spotlight on everything Filipino. “Bayanihan allows Filipinos to reconnect with their culture and tradition and art, at the same time provide other ethnicities a glimpse of how we as Filipinos embrace the cultures of the UAE and that of the other expatriate communities.”

Entrance to the event is free. It is happening at Shaikh Saeed Hall 3 of the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Here are just a few of the activities to check out at the Bayanihan Festival:

Battle of the bands (Tunog Akustic)

Music fans will get to see Filipinos performing acoustic songs. The elimination round has already taken place, so today, the remaining bands who made it to the finals will vie for votes to secure the last three spots.

Clash of Pinoy Deejays

The UAE is home to a number of Filipinos who work as disc jockeys. Watch out for some of these music spinners tweaking controls on the deck.

Fruit and vegetable carving

Filipino chefs who work for hotels have one hour to carve their masterpiece out of fruits and vegetables.

Hip hop dance showdown

For those who have a penchant for hip hop, today’s a great time to witness Filipinos taking to the dance floor to show off their moves.


Looking to find something unique or different to gift the loved ones this Christmas? The stalls at the Bayanihan festival may just have the perfect present for you. The Bazaar is set to showcase local  goodies, including handicraft.

CV Drop Box

And if you’re on the lookout for new job vacancies, you’ve come to the right place. The festival has set up a special box for expatriates to conveniently drop in their applications/CVs.


Inputs from Irish Eden Belleza, Videographer; Virendra Saklani, photographer, Manuel Almario, Community Editor; Florence Pia G Yu, Web Editor, and Cleofe Maceda, Senior Web Reporter