KUALA LUMPUR: With a cup of halo-halo in one hand, and a commemorative flag in the other, Filipinos in Kuala Lumpur gathered to celebrate the 116th anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence.
More than 2,000 of them paraded in the streets here, with music in the air and floats.
The parade was a sea of blue, red and white – the colours of the Philippine flag – and featured bagpipe players, Harley Davidson bikers and smiles all around.
Alden Richards, 22, was one of the big stars featured on the many floats that traversed the city.
“I’m having so much fun. It’s very nice to see our own people when we’re away from home,” said the Filipino TV star.
Other celebrities present at the parade were The Apprentice Asia winner Jonathan Allen Yabut as well as singer of the iconic Malaysia Truly Asia jingle, Maria Jazsmine.
Both music and colours were important themes throughout the parade and a feast awaited at the Philippine Embassy.
A popular item was halo-halo, which translates to “mix-mix”, a traditional Filipino dessert similar to the Malaysian ABC ice kacang.
Coraçon de Leon, 54, and Mamy Lidia, 57, have been making halo-halo for decades.
“Many miss the food from home. This parade brings us together so we can not only enjoy each other’s company, but also enjoy food from back home,” said de Leon.
The halo-halo stall was by far the busiest, the mix of sago, beans, sweet corn, sweet potato, assorted syrups and leche flan (creme caramel) being a clear favourite.
Philippine Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya said there was a deep sense of pride in the parade.
“We are so happy that so many different Filipino communities across Malaysia have come.
“From the elderly to children, Muslims and Christians. It’s a wonderful mix,” he said.