Gainesville’s Filipino population celebrates independence day

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)-- For the Philippines, Saturday was independence day and residents in north central Florida were not going to miss out on the chance to celebrate their culture.

The country was ruled by Spain from nearly 400 years, which is where the name came from, from Spain’s King Phillip II.

On June 12, 1898, the county declared independence from Spain and became a United States colony for another 30 years until before declaring final independence on July 4, 1946.

To honor history hundreds of people turned out to take part in art contests, cultural fashion shows and classic food and drink.

“We tried to make sure it encompasses a lot of what makes a Filipino, Filipino,” said Galileo Encabo, an organizer for the event. “We want to instill in our second generation children a pride in their original and cultural-historical heritage.”

Saturday’s festivities also included an essay contest for different age groups to describe why they are proud to be a Filipino.

Vendors offered a variety of good including traditional herbal medicines and clothing. There were special flat rate boxes made available so people could send trinkets back to family members overseas.