The Art of Costume and Masquerade – Manila Bulletin


Singapore’s Filipino community shines in 50th Chingay Parade

Singapore-based Filipinos Karina Mae Bacsain, a preschool teacher, and Kelvin Justo Garcia, a hotelier, proudly represented the Philippines at the 50th Chingay celebrations (Chingay50)Singapore’s annual street parade in early February.

Bacsain donned a white, fully embroidered and beaded modern Filipino dress designed by Kenneth Omar Perez of Batangas Province, while Garcia wore the colorful tribal costume usually featured at the Dinagyang Festival, a famous religious festival and cultural festival held every January in the central city of the Philippines Iloilo.

Both Bacsain and Garcia relished the rare opportunity to represent the Philippines in this year’s edition of Chingay50, alongside representatives from other local expatriate communities, such as those from India, Indonesia, Japan , Mexico, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

“Representing the Philippines is an opportunity to show the modern Filipina, someone who is confident to face adversities and challenges that may arise,” according to Bacsain. Dinagyang’s costume, according to Garcia, “best represents the festive culture of the Philippines and the happy outlook of all Filipinos.”

The main Filipino people who helped conceptualize and prepare Filipino participation in Chinngay50 were Nicole Tumolva, Errol Jave Villalobos and Ton Garcia from the Filipino Association of Singapore (FAS).

STREET PARADE Kevin Garcia and Karina Mae Bacsain in their Dinagyang and Filipiniana outfits

Now in its 50th year, the Chingay celebration was themed ‘Ignite Our Dreams’ in hopes of engaging audiences with innovative displays of arts, culture and heritage and encouraging Singapore’s multitude of races to pursue their passions, unleash their potential and achieve their aspirations.

Due to public health measures in place, the event had a hybrid format with a limited in-person audience at Jewel Changi which included Singapore President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Watch parties have been held at select community clubs across the island.

Now in its 50th year, the Chingay Celebration has engaged audiences with innovative presentations of arts, culture and heritage, encouraging Singapore’s multitude of races to pursue their passions, unlock their potential and achieve their aspirations.

In 2019, LEYTeam youth participants from the Eastern Visayas region spearheaded the Filipino participation in the Chingay Parade by performing the traditional Filipino war dance called “Dance of the Pintados” in tribute to Singapore for providing a humanitarian aid to the region affected by the typhoon. Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) in 2013. LEYTeam’s participation coincided with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations between the Philippines and Singapore.

The Chingay Parade began in 1973 to celebrate Chinese New Year in Singapore. Since then, it has grown into one of Asia’s largest annual street performances and float parades, a colorful embodiment of the country’s multicultural society, of which the Filipino diaspora is a part. The word Chingay is equivalent to Mandarin zhuang-yi’ (妆艺), which means “the art of costume and masquerade” in the Hokkien dialect.

Those who missed the Chingay50 webcast can still watch it on local channels on Sunday, February 27 at 7 p.m. and March 6 at 1 p.m.

STREET PARADE Kevin Garcia and Karina Mae Bacsain in their Dinagyang and FIlipiniana outfits



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