Sylvia La Torre stars as Independence Day Parade goes for nostalgia

Sylvia La Torre with granddaughter Anna Maria Perez de Tagle

Sylvia La Torre with granddaughter Anna Maria Perez de Tagle

On its 25th year of organizing the Filipino Independence Day celebration in Manhattan, the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) takes a trip down memory lane by inviting Queen of Kundiman Sylvia La Torre to headline this year’s lineup of musical performers.

The “Waray-Waray” and “Sa Kabukiran” singer, who is also a TV, radio and movie legend, is making a rare appearance for Philippine freedom day on June 7 along Madison Avenue, said to be the biggest outside of the Philippines. She will perform with her granddaughter, Broadway star and former Disney artist Anna Maria Perez de Tagle.

“PIDCI is very honored to have Ms. Sylvia La Torre, who is a living treasure, as our headliner,” PIDCI president Fe Martinez said in a statement. “This is an exceptional treat for all the U.S. East Coast followers of Ms. La Torre and the Kundiman, as well as the younger revelers who will be dazzled for the first time by the queen of the traditional Filipino love songs whose genre dates back to the Spanish era.”

Now based in Los Angeles with husband Celso Perez de Tagle, La Torre is the first soprano to successfully cross over into mainstream pop culture in the Philippines. She co-hosted in the early 1960s the popular noontime program “The Big Show” and later “Oras ng Ligaya”, and has appeared in a number of TV sitcoms and films, including “Oh Sendang,” “Tang-Tarang-Tang,” and “Yantok Mindoro.”

The star-studded NYC event, which draws tens of thousands of participants and spectators every year, will also feature top balladeer Nonoy Zuniga (“Kumusta Ka,” “Never Ever Say Goodbye”), Pinoy folk rock superstar Florante (“Ako’y Isang Pinoy,” “Handog”), OPM chanteuse Jam Morales (“Even If,” “A Smile In Your Heart”), Fil-Am jazz artist Mon David, pop/R&B singer and The Voice semi-finalist Cheesa, and stand- up comedian Rex Navarette.

Also performing are international jazz vocalist Kevin Lettau (“Sunlight,” “Bridges/Travessia”), YouTube sensation and Super Selfie King Gabriel Valenciano, FilAm actor/model and “Pinoy Big Brother” housemate Ivan Dorschner, and multi-awarded actor and singer Cesar Montano, one of the stars of the acclaimed Manny Pacquiao bio flick “Kid Kulafu.” Montano is also the lead star of the late Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s internationally-renowned “Jose Rizal” film.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “The Filipino: An Active Partner in Environmental and Climate Change Governance” as Filipinos around the world celebrate the 117th year of the declaration of Philippine Independence from Spain. The NYC parade will feature colorful floats, lively marching bands, dancers in captivating costumes.

The parade will be led by Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia Jr., Permanent Representative to the United Nations Lourdes Yparaguirre, Consul General Mario De Leon Jr., and this year’s grand marshal, lawyer and civic leader Reuben Seguritan.

The event begins with a flag ceremony at 8:30 a.m. in front of the Philippine Center on Fifth Avenue followed by a mass to be officiated by Rev. Monsignor Aquino. The street fair will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., between 26th Street and 24th Street on Madison Avenue. The two-hour parade will start at noon from 38th Street down to 27th Street, to be followed by the cultural festival from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on 23rd Street.

Nonoy Zuniga, Florante, and Jam Morales are also performing

Nonoy Zuniga, Florante, and Jam Morales are also performing

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