CITRUS PARK – The culture of the Philippines will be celebrated in a three-day festival that also will raise funds for the upkeep and maintenance of the 10-acre Philippine Cultural Enrichment Complex.
The event, Philfest, is open to the public Friday through Sunday at the complex in Northwest Hillsborough County. It will feature authentic cuisine by local vendors; music, dance and performances in authentic Philippine attire; a beauty pageant; crafts; parades; and a singing competition.
This the 19th year for the festival, said Nick Pacis, the complex's music director who is overseeing the entertainment. He said usually 12,000 to 15,000 visitors attend each year.
“It is entertainment nonstop for three days,” Pacis said.
A highlight is the Saturday night “hip hop competition” where “Filipino folk dancing is infused into hip hop,” Pacis said. “We get a lot of participants from the universities – from Tallahassee, from Miami, from the University of South Florida.”
The foods available must be Filipino dishes; no hamburgers and hotdogs like most festivals, he said.
“There are a lot of noodles, desserts and delicacies,” Pacis said.
There are an estimated 15,000 people of Filipino descent in the Tampa Bay area, according to authorities. The number is growing, Pacis said, because so many work in the medical field and are drawn here by relatives and friends.