Kalayaan Picnic
KALAYAAN CELEBRATION. Several of the 116 balloons are shown in photo about to be released to signal the start of the Kalayaan Picnic which was in celebration of the 116th Philippine Independence Day in Michigan. The Kalayaan Picnic was held last June 7 at its usual venue, the Halmich Park in Warren. The 116 balloons released symbolized the 116 years of freedom enjoyed by Filipinos. (Photo by Bernie Duller)

A colorful parade, a cooking contest, a cultural show and a live band are expected to provide a festive ambiance to the Kalayaan Picnic which will be held on June 3 at Halmich Park in Warren.

Kalayaan Picnic, which is the most attended Filipino event in Michigan, will mark the celebration of Philippine Independence Day in the Great Lakes state. (In the Philippines, it will be celebrated on June 12.)

A flagship project of the Filipino American Community Council (FILAMCCO), the event draws some 3,000 revelers every year.

FILAMCCO President Ryan Rosario said that at least four companies and one individual have so far signed up as gold sponsors. These are Acclaimed Home Care, DTE Energy, JAV CPA, Maple  Manor  Rehab and Neuro Center and Dr. Ernie Mac.

Signed up as silver sponsors are 168 Asian Mart, 168 KTV Bistro, Fuji Japanese Buffet, Council of Asian Pacific Americans, LBC, Modern Dentistry of Royal Oak , NaFFAA, Pangborn Collection, Philippine Chamber of Commerce-Michigan and State Farm

Buenaflor Sitchon, president of KKPM (Kapisanan ng mga Katolikong Pilipino sa Michigan),  chairperson of the overall Kalyaan event committee, said, “We are working our best to surpass last year’s successful event.”

The traditional Parade of Colors will start promptly at 11 a.m. There will be games for kids and adults. Tables for sponsors and vendors will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Organizations joining the picnic will have their own table on which to place foods. The allocation of tables will be done on a first-come-first-served basis.

Sitchon said that in this year’s picnic, we are also bringing in a new live band – the Barkada Band, whose leader promises to keep everyone on the floor during the community dancing. Allen Carter will be again the DJ.

Also, the cooking contest is back. Called “Spamtastic,” the contest requires that the main ingredient is  “Spam.” The rules give high scores for originality, taste and presentation. Sitchon said several awesome prizes are in store for the winners.

For the first time, the Kalayaan committee will hold a mini job fair. The jobs to be offered are in the field of health and allied professionals such as nurses, nursing aides, caregivers, physical and occupational therapists as well as employees at restaurants. Applicants are advised to bring with them their resume.