New Taipei, June 13 (CNA) Around 5,000 people turned out for a concert headlined by Taiwan-based Filipino rapper Angelito Victoriano Penuaga in New Taipei Sunday to mark the 124th anniversary of Philippine independence.
The "2022 Fun Run Joint Philippine Independence and Migrant Worker's Day Celebration," the first large-scale Philippine independence celebrations in Taiwan, kicked off with a fun run, followed by a hip-hop dance competition, musical performances, and speeches from both New Taipei City and Philippine government officials.
In an interview with CNA after the show, Penuaga, who moonlights as a factory worker in New Taipei, said that as an overseas Filipino worker, he was extremely grateful and blessed to be able to be given an opportunity to share his talent and love for music.
CNA video June. 13, 2022
"We are so overwhelmed and proud as Filipinos to be performing for our Independence Day event, showing our country that no matter where we are we still give presence for it, whether it rains or shines," Penuaga said.
Penuaga first came to work in Taiwan in September 2014 and has since made a name for himself in the local Filipino hip-hop community.
After Penuaga was hospitalized Nov. 20, 2019 for high blood pressure following an earlier series of strokes, Filipino events and concerts organizer Allan Viray held a battle of the bands to raise funds for the rapper.
New Taipei Labor Affairs Department Commissioner Chen Jui-chia (陳瑞嘉), who greeted the crowd in Tagalog, praised the 27,000 Filipinos who call New Taipei home for their contributions and hard work in both the industrial and domestic caregiver sectors.
"Most of them left their homes to come to Taiwan, working in productive industries or taking care of elderly or disabled persons in households or institutes. Because of the efforts of migrant workers, their employers can then go to their jobs and work without worries," Chen said.
Chen also commended the new immigrants in New Taipei for helping to make the city more multicultural than before.
In a video message shown at the event, Wilfredo B. Fernandez, chairman and resident representative of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, called on Filipinos to unite by moving forward together in harmony.
"This is the essence of the independence inherited from our great ancestors. It might have been over a century since we were liberated from the bondage of foreign control but the spirit and fervor in celebrating that freedom is as intense as it was 124 years ago," Fernandez said.
In a separate video message, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said the occasion is a reminder of how the country's heroes fought for freedom, adding that he hoped Filipinos around the world would take inspiration from their courage.
"This occasion is a testament to how our forefathers fought for the freedoms that we enjoy today. May it inspire us to take after the courage of our heroes as well as encourage us to use our ability, skills, and knowledge for the benefit of our community," he added.
June 12 is a national holiday in the Philippines to mark the country's independence in 1898 after over 300 years of Spanish colonial rule.