The historic event last June 27, 2015 started with a solemn yet joyous and colorful parade led by the ati-atihan band of musicians in their native costumes from the Aklanon Sto. Nino Association of BC. They were followed by Rod Belleza, the flag bearer of our national flag. He was escorted by the Knights of Columbus from the Pope John Paul Assembly 2485.
The main group of participants in the parade was led by His Worship. Mayor Malcolm Brodie and several Richmond councilors, Honorable Alice Wong, P.C. member of Parliament, Ms. Linda Reid, MLA representing Richmond East and Mable Elmore.
MLA representing Kensington Riding in Vancouver. The Consul General was represented by Atty. Anthony Mandap, deputy Consul General and his wife. They were followed by the Organizing committee members and volunteers from different non profit organizations in Richmond and the volunteers from the Multicultural Helping House Society (MHHS) in Vancouver. At the tail end of the parade were community leaders and members of different Filipino organizations waving their Philippine flags and exchanging “Mabuhay” greetings with the crowd.
Judging from their smiles and happy faces, everybody who attended this event seemed to have enjoyed watching the parade and the program that followed.
As for me, I felt that we have made the right decision to hold our first ever flag ceremony at the Richmond Plaza Quadrangle. There is no better place in Richmond than this plaza quadrangle. The site is awesome. It has a beautiful and wide open space, an elevated stage and the presence of 3 national flags flying on top of those flag poles gives you a feeling of awe and reverence for the place. It is a perfect fit for our flag raising ceremony.
Mayor Malcolm Brodie in his welcome speech mentioned that when they were building the plaza, they were not sure of any proper usage that would be suitable for the plaza. With our flag raising ceremony, they finally found an excellent example of events that can be held in the plaza.
Our first ever flag raising ceremony was a huge success!! Thanks to all the organizers and volunteers from different organizations in Richmond. We have won the hearts and minds of the city officials in Richmond especially Mayor Malcolm Brodie.
We hope that this first flag raising ceremony will attract and mobilize our Filipino residents in Richmond so that they will come and join us to prepare for a more successful ceremony to celebrate the 118th Anniversary of our Independence Day next year.
Thank you and congratulations everyone for a job well done!!
Photos by Rolly Fortaleza