2015 Philippines Independence Day Parade

Last year, we went to the 50th annual Celebrate Israel parade and it was only later that we found out that the Philippines Independence Day parade had been held at the same time, a few blocks away. We told ourselves that this year we would try to make it to both, which wouldn’t be as hard since they were held on different days this time. We almost did! Unfortunately, when we were getting ready for bed on Saturday night, “Man on Fire” with Denzel Washington started playing on the TV, and before we knew it, we were still up at 3 AM, drinking Stella Artois and eating Salt & Vinegar Kettle chips. So, we didn’t make it out of the house early enough to get downtown and see the parade. Maybe next year? There was a cultural festival after the parade, though, near Madison Square Park, so we checked that out.

Emergency Access Area, Wider Than Walking Area
Emergency Access Area, Wider Than Walking Area

The tents for the food stalls, advertisers, recruiters, and organizers were set up on Madison Avenue, next to the park. It was very, very tight. About half of the road was sectioned off by barricades, which I assume was meant for emergency vehicles, though I question the logic there. The restricted walking space was so packed with people that I’m surprised it didn’t cause an emergency of some sort. I was surprised by the number of people attending the fair in general. There were tour buses that looked to have been chartered by groups of Filpinos from nearby towns or cities. The lines were long for everything, including the port-a-potties on the northeast corner. There was a constant flow of people walking between the stalls and the park.

People grilling barbecue meat on sticks.
People grilling barbecue meat on sticks.

We showed up hungry and the smell of grilling barbecue was everywhere. I was more than a little annoyed, having to fight through that crowd and then stand in a huddle in front of the food vendors, trying to catch someone’s attention to place an order, only to find out there was apparently only one stick of chicken barbecue left at the fair. I guess it’s popular! Anyhow, I bought that, some pancit (a vegetable stir fry type of dry noodle dish) and a few pieces of turon (banana wrapped in a pastry dough and fried in brown sugar, I think). We managed to find a bench in the shade to sit on in the park and once we were full, we were able to relax and take in the sights.

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Madison Square Park looks great! There’s some sort of art installation with hanging glass set up throughout the park that reflected the light and people. It isn’t really clear in the pictures I took. I think it was a little overcast at the time. The breeze was cool and it wasn’t too hot or humid. It’s been a really cool start to summer this year. Not that I’m complaining. I’m sure it’ll be too hot soon enough. There were plenty of people. Kids were playing, families were hanging out, the muffled sound of performers at the Filipino cultural fair was booming over loudspeakers on the street behind us. It was great. I kind of wish I had a book with me, so I could lean back and sit there for a few hours. But, then again, the park didn’t have a public bathroom (5 dirty port-a-potties don’t count) or my coffee pot. So, after wandering around for a while and doing some people watching, we headed home to relax.

 

50th Annual Celebrate Israel Parade

My wife and I went to the 50th annual Celebrate Israel Parade on 5th Avenue on the 1st. It was a lot of fun. I was particularly struck by the amount of pride and patriotism that the participants displayed. It stands in stark contrast to the attitude Americans seem to have about America.

We didn’t realize it at the time, but the Philippines National Day parade is held on the same day, one street over, every year. We missed out. Next year we’ll do a double-header and catch two parades in one afternoon.

We didn’t stay for the entire Celebrate Israel Parade. It runs from 11 AM until 4 PM. We were there until about 1:30 and then took a walk through Central Park before heading uptown to a nice a Indian food dinner in the neighborhood. It’s amazing how many cultures one can partake of in a single afternoon in this city!

Please check out the rest of my photos of the parade in full resolution in my Flickr Gallery: 50th Annual Israel Day Parade – 2014

2010 Chinese New Year Home Decorations

Another big holiday in Singapore (other than Christmas, where they go berserk with decorations) is Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year.  Last year we missed it, but this year we’re planning on being front and center at whatever celebratory event Singapore has to offer.

With the holiday upcoming people are already starting to decorate.  I’ve seen some decorations up at malls, but nothing too serious, yet anyway.  The family we live with has also pulled out their decorations, which are pretty cool looking.  I took some photos to share.