‘Everything is inevitable therefore predictable. Everything is predictable therefore inevitable.’ This is the theory of Inevitability. Likewise, with the Barrio Fiesta, we know it will happen every year and we know what happens at Barrio Fiesta, it is both inevitable and predictable…but we love it!
Even when we were told that it had been cancelled, we all knew we would still have our Barrio. Twenty-four years of tradition cannot suddenly disappear, tens of thousands of people cannot be ignored and all that lovely food cannot go uneaten!
This year the Barrio Fiesta was blessed with sunshine and clear skies. The day began early for Philippine Generations as we were due to be part of the parade and with Vincent on stage as one of the MCs, Philippine Generation’s presence was definitely felt. The parade was very positive although early. It is a shame it was not witnessed by the majority of visitors. The Igorot Association UK, as always, were big on numbers and big on culture! They ended the parade with a dance and collected an award for the most people and most entertaining part of the parade and it was well deserved.
The lack of a fun fair actually improved the atmosphere. Kids and teenagers stayed closer to their families, spent more time in and around the stalls and were generally less troublesome. There has always been a case that bad elements congregate in the fun fair looking for trouble, this time around there was nowhere for them to congregate. This year the Park looked humungous! The stage was smaller than usual and the food stalls and remittance/banks/property stalls created a massive corridor for people to congregate and find a space to sit and eat. Aside from the lack of funfair, the more notable lack was of San Miguel! Not even the Spanish version was available. Something maybe to consider next year.
Philippine Generations had its own stall facing the tennis courts greeting visitors as they entered. A major plus point was the presence of Doce Pares, who were plotted right next to us on the corner axis of the entrance to the Barrio Fiesta. Their stall was full of weapons and images of them in action, all very dynamic stuff not only catching the attention of visitors but also the resident police and community support officers! But what was truly dynamic was their live displays throughout both days, with visitors hitting Doce Pares members who were wearing protective gear with sticks and even offering them the opportunity to get the gear on themselves and fight each other. It was all in good spirits and there were smiles aplenty, especially when Doce Pares gave demonstrations of what actually happens when they fight each other!
Doce Pares is a major partner of PG and our aims of promoting Philippines and Philippine Arts are clear for everyone to see. It is only a matter of time until someone approaches World Champion ‘Alex’ to star in a martial arts film, as the Filipino hope, the Chinese have had Bruce Lee and more recently Jet Li and Jackie Chan promoting Chinese Arts, Tony Jaa has done a tremendous amount for Thailand and what of the Philippines? If I were to make a film about Chief Lapu Lapu, ‘Alex’ would be our hero.
To be honest the number of visitors was more than I had expected, even though the majority of my own Filipino friends did not go to this year’s Barrio. It begs the question, how can we get more of our people to truly celebrate being one of our people? Using the model of Chinese New Year, St. Patrick’s Day and the Notting Hill Carnival, an event is most definitely needed closer to Zone 1!
All in all, the Barrio Fiesta was successful, there were more non-Filipino than I remember from previous years. There was no notable trouble and everyone left happy. The food was as always expensive but it’s our food and we don’t mind spending for one day a year!
Inevitably, people came and predictably, people enjoyed themselves. See you all next year at Barrio, we’ll inevitably be there and predictably we’ll see you!