Thursday, September 08, 2005

Milton Keynes Filipino Festival

A few weekends ago we braved the traffic strewn expanse of the M1 motorway to trek to Milton Keynes for a Filipino festival. Yes people, the thought of eating (what else?) halo-halo, bopis, dinuguan, pork barbecue, among others, is enough incentive for us to endure more than an hour’s drive to there. We thought after hurdling the M1 and once inside Milton Keynes it would be a cinch to find the festival park. How wrong we were! After going round and round endless roundabouts and avenues that look eeriely the same, we had to call for SOS from a Filipina friend who lived nearby. While shouting down at her mobile phone, she directed us (husband was driving) by pointing out landmarks –

'Pagnakita nyo yung estatwa ng taong baligtad kumanan kayo. Tapos pag nakita nyo yung building na yung bubong parang baked beans can na nakatumba malapit na kayo!'

Her instructions were colourfully descriptive ;) it did not take long for us to find the place.

Milton Keynes Filipino Festival groundsFirst time I saw it, I liked it. The park was built like an amphitheatre with the stage located down low in the centre of concentric graduated grassy levels where people can sit picnic-style. At the upper level are some fairground rides plus lots of space where kids took advantage of the lovely sunshine and biked around or flew kites. (Next year we’ll make sure to bring kites). On stage, the regular mainstay of Filipino festivals – Europhil – did their singing and dancing although they stuck to an all-Filipino repertoire here. There were other performers like the group of teeners who did an excellent street dance – very very good!, several kids who sang, a kids beauty pageant, a beauty pageant for married ladies, and another one for gays which only had 2 contestants and judging from the looks of the 2nd gal/guy there who looked like he/she just entered for a laugh, essentially there was only 1 contestant – who would automatically of course is the winner. Why do we have these inane beauty contest in festivals?

Filipino Fest Food 1   Filipino Fest Food 2

There are the usual food and goods stall. But most of all there were none of the hoards of people we encountered in Hounslow. The crowd size was mercifully just allright. Not too much not too thin. I hate crowds … really. I go out of my way to avoid them. That’s why when we went to Disneyland Paris in a Christmas weekend it was like a holiday from hell for me. But I digress…

There was also this photogenic colourful jeepney that kids and adults alike loved to see and board.

Pinoy jeepneyThe food was the typical festival fare but we spied several that we don’t normally see in these festivals. The likes of – itlog na pula, green mangoes, daing na bangus, among other things. Needless to say, we enjoyed our brief stay there so we’ll definitely be back next year !