Manassas Journal Messenger | Community celebrates Asian heritage

Asian folk dancers, musicians and singers met with an appreciative audience Sunday at the Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Auditorium for the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2005 Celebration.

The performers from around the region said they felt it was important to come to the celebration in Woodbridge.

“America is a melting pot and Cambodia made that melting pot beautiful too,” said Amrong Chey, a 35-year-old Cambodian folk dancer from Great Falls.

Joseph deLeon, the guitar player for the Filipino choir Kababayan Pangkat Sining, said he performs “to share our culture with other people.”

DeLeon also shares his performances to be an example to other Filipino-Americans.

“As a young adult I like to show other young adults that I still keep my heritage,” the 34-year-old Woodbridge man said said.

He said he’s sure his sentiments go for all of the people in the group.

Elvira Della said folk dancers in the troupe, BIMAK, come to the celebration from all over Northern Virginia and Maryland.

BIMAK stands for Benguet, Ifugao Mountain Province Apayao Kalinga, a region in the northern Philippines

“We want to introduce our culture and tradition and every year we come here to perform,” the 34-year-old registered nurse said.

The celebration included Asian arts and crafts exhibits and an information and networking fair in the lobby at the Ferlazzo building.

Guest speakers included Phyllis Aggrey, Prince William Human rights Commission, County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sean T. Connaughton, Dr. Rosario Guanzon Laserna, author of “Health is Wealth,” and Dr. Manuel Belandres, author of “Nutrition Against Diseases.”

The celebration opened with the “National Anthem” and ended when the audience sang “America the Beautiful.”

Staff writer Keith Walker can be reached at (703) 878-8063.

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