Celebrating Asian unity in a racetrack

Filipino comfort food drew long queues. Photo by Bing Branigin

Filipino comfort food drew long queues. Photo by Bing Branigin

By Maricar CP Hampton

This weekend, Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland hosted the 10th annual Asian Festival filling the “Raceway by the Beltway” with the colors, the music and culinary aroma of cultures from countries like China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines

The September 28-29 festival with the theme “Unity of Asia” drew hundreds of vendors hawking everything from Thai jewelry to Chinese herbal medicine to Filipino home-cooked food.

“This is great,” said lawyer Regina Domingo. “This is a good venue for Asians to be together and celebrate their culture.”

Nurse Cherry Bassi said, ”It’s really fun to learn about the different cultures and taste their food.”

Filipinos showcased their rich heritage through booths selling traditional delicacies, such as ‘lechon kawali,’ ‘dinuguan’ and various ‘kakanin.’ The ‘tinikling’ bamboo dance got the crowd pumped and in awe of the tricky footwork between bamboo poles. In the evening, singers Stephanie Reese and Enrico Pobre took the stage to the audience’s delight.

Ambassador-designate Philip Goldberg dropped by the Philippine Village for a brief look-see, as he awaits his confirmation as the next envoy to Manila. He was seen chatting with community leaders and sampling some of the Filipino food laid out in ‘bilao’ trays.

Prince Georges Delegate Kris Valderrama said she was pleased to know this year’s festival is being held in her district.

“I am an avid supporter of the festival,” she told The FilAm Metro D.C. “This is the 10th anniversary and I have been attending maybe half of it. But it has always been held In Virginia. It is a pleasant surprise to have it in Maryland, not only in Maryland but in Prince Georges County not only in Prince Georges County, but my legislative district the 26th district.”

Her father, Judge David Valderrama, offered a bit of historical perspective. He said September 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln signing the emancipation proclamation freeing the slaves.

“I love to point that out because it paved the way for equal rights for Americans of Asian descent,” he said.

“There was a time when we were not allowed to vote or own properties or practice our profession but today we have what we call the Asian Festival, and I think that is fantastic. And this to me is confirming and affirming the rights of Asian Americans to be treated as American as apple pie.”

US Ambassador designate Philip Goldberg with Maryland Delegate Kris Valderrama. Photo by Bing Branigin

US Ambassador designate Philip Goldberg with Maryland Delegate Kris Valderrama. Photo by Bing Branigin


A mini Bahay Kubo was a favorite backdrop for picture taking. Photo by The FilAm Metro D.C.

A mini Bahay Kubo was a favorite backdrop for picture taking. Photo by The FilAm Metro D.C.


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