From left: Aga Muhlach, Derek Ramsay, and Sharon Cuneta
From left: Aga Muhlach, Derek Ramsay, and Sharon Cuneta

NEW YORK CITY — The Big Apple became the setting of one of the biggest gatherings of Filipinos held in the U.S. in recent years. On June 2, 2013, over 10,000 Filipinos from the East Coast and surrounding states flocked to Madison Avenue to witness the grandest-ever Philippine Independence Day parade mounted in New York City.

It was a momentous event made even more remarkable by the first ever participation of the Philippines’ fastest growing network — TV5. Excitement was palpable when three of the Kapatid Network’s brightest stars — Derek Ramsay, Sharon Cuneta and Aga Muhlach – took to the streets, riding in a huge, red-and-white TV5 float while greeting the ecstatic Filipino crowd. But that was all but a prelude to the jam-packed, star-studded affair.

After the parade, Derek Ramsay kicked off the program with a special song number during which he distributed roses to members of the audience.

As if his serenade didn’t make the crowd swoon enough, the Kapatid hunk also facilitated a game which required the participation of four girls from the audience.

Die-hard fans of Sharon Cuneta also had a field day when the Megastar appeared on stage to belt out her signature classics “Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko”, “Maging Sino Ka Man”, and “Sana’y Wala nang Wakas”.

The audience became even more delighted when she was joined by matinee idol Aga Muhlach in doing a duet of the classic ballad “Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang?”

TV5 demonstrated innovation by setting up an augmented reality booth, the first of its kind done by any Filipino network. The new technology placed US-based Pinoys in a virtual, augmented environment where they were able to interact with a bevy of Kapatid stars, who included screen legends Nora Aunor and Edu Manzano and fast-rising young stars like Eula Caballero and Ritz Azul. It allowed users of the booth to get up close and personal with their favorite TV5 stars without being actually with them. It was truly a grand way to usher in TV5’s participation in the momentous parade, and judging from the elation of Filipinos living in the area, it was a warm welcome.

“We are happy that TV5 is here, and for making this year’s celebration the biggest ever. They said they will bring Aga, Derek, and Sharon, and now it’s a reality,” said Consul General Mario L. de Leon Jr.

It was also a surreal experience for the people behind the scenes as Pilipinas Global Network (PGN)/TV5 International President Claro Ramirez said, “We are delighted to see our Kapatids here in New York, and for bringing our biggest stars closer to them. We hope to be able to do this every year.”

(Filipinos in the United States can enjoy their favorite TV5 programs on Kapatid TV5 and Aksyon TV International which are available via Dish Network.)