Filipino Community Gathers at New York State Capitol for Second Annual Philippine Independence Day Celebration

Attendees gather for a group photo at The Well in the New York State Capitol in commemoration of the 126th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence. (Photo by Joselito Paz)

For the second year, the Filipino community gathered at the New York State Capitol in Albany on Tuesday, 4 June, to commemorate the 126th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence. This event, co-organized by the Philippine Consulate General in New York and the Office of New York State Assemblymember Steven Raga, underscores the enduring and strong bonds between the state of New York and the Filipino community.

Assemblymember Steven Raga introduces the Filipino-American community and recognizes the presence of the Filipino delegation during the morning session of the New York State Assembly. (Photo by Nikka Arenal)

Prior to the program was a formal recognition during the morning session of the New York State Assembly. Assemblymember Raga, the highest-ranking Filipino-American official ever elected in New York, introduced the Filipino-American community and recognized the presence of Consul General Senen T. Mangalile and and the delegation from the province of Misamis Oriental. The legislators responded with a round of applause, joining in the commemoration of Philippine Independence. 

Consul General Senen T. Mangalile (right), Assemblymember Steven Raga (center), Deputy Speaker Philip Ramos (left) discuss collaborative opportunities during a meeting with the Philippine delegation at the Capitol's Red Room. (Photo by Nikka Arenal)

A brief meeting with Deputy Speaker Philip Ramos took place at the Capitol’s Red Room after the recognition. During the meeting, Deputy Speaker Ramos shared his affinity for the Philippines and voiced his admiration for the Filipino community. He reiterated his interest in sending a state legislative delegation to the Philippines to explore mutual opportunities. He also proposed forming a task force to address labor market opportunities between the Philippines and New York. In response, Consul General Mangalile expressed his support and willingness to collaborate on this proposal.

The Kuyamis Festival Dancers from Misamis Oriental perform vibrant dance presentations during the cultural program at the New York State Capitol, showcasing the Philippines' rich heritage and traditions. (Photo by Nikka Arenal)

Following the meeting was a vibrant cultural program, which featured performances by various Filipino-American organizations and community members. The program included singing performances by Azia Sky Barao, Carla Mongado, Raffy Tragico (Brown Sugar), and Luz Sanchez, as well as a dance presentation by the 80 Kuyamis Festival Dancers from the Misamis Oriental province. Filipino food was also served, which delighted the attendees and showcased the Philippines’ culinary heritage.

From left to right: Assemblymember Steven Raga, Consul General Senen T. Mangalile, and Gingoog City Mayor Erick G. Cañosa deliver their Opening Remarks. (Photos by Nikka Arenal)

In his opening remarks, Assemblymember Raga highlighted the event’s cultural richness, including art, culture, and food. He remarked, “It’s great to see all our cultures come together and collide at our state capitol.”


Consul General Mangalile emphasized the importance of the theme, stating, “Kalayaan (freedom) represents the hard-won independence our forebears fought and won for us. Kinabukasan (future) signifies our ongoing efforts to build a better nation for posterity. Kasaysayan (history) calls us to honor and learn from our past as we navigate the present and change our future.” He highlighted the contributions of the Filipino community in New York, noting their energy, resilience, and unwavering spirit. He concluded by saluting the community for representing the best of the Philippines and encouraged continuing the struggle to build a better future for all Filipinos.


Gingoog City Mayor Erick G. Cañosa highlighted the importance of tourism in fueling economic growth and fostering cultural exchange. “In Misamis Oriental, we see the soul of the Philippines, a country of resilience, beauty, and unity. As we celebrate our independence, let us remember that our freedom is not just a gift from the past, but a responsibility for the future,” Mayor Cañosa remarked.

New York state legislators deliver congratulatory messages during the program. (Photos by Nikka Arenal)

The program also featured congratulatory messages from several state legislators, namely Deputy Speaker Ramos, Assemblymember Harvey Epstein, Assemblymember and Co-Chair of the New York State Asian Pacific American Task Force (APA Task Force) Zohran Mamdani, Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, and Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. Deputy Director of Asian American Affairs Sibu Nair of the Office of New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Director of Asian American Affairs Adam Chen of the Office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James also delivered messages of support. END