Philfest draws thousands to Tampa

While walking through the Philippine Cultural Foundation's Enrichment complex, people from far and near basked in the scents of sizzling Filipino street food, watched traditional dances, and attended Palm Sunday mass at the 27th annual PhilFest.

"I think what's happened is, people now know what Phil Fest is," said Dr. Abby Hamilton, Senior Vice Chairman for the PCFI "it's a destination, people are here from all over the country, even Canada because this is the embracing of our culture here in the United States." 

Ten thousand people attended on Saturday alone. Dubbed one of the biggest Filipino Culture Fests on the East Coast, business owners like Philippine-born Richard Demesa were eager to participate.

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He and his crew traveled from NY and Miami to share the sensational flavors of fresh-made Filipino street food you can't get anywhere else. 

Traditional dances at Philfest 

"We serve ish balls, squid nuggets, Quail legs dipped in batter," Demesa explained. "We do cater to the Filipinos to give them a little taste of home, but at the same time, it feels amazing to see other people from other cultures who are trying the food and loving it."

The Philippine Cultural Foundation is an umbrella organization is made up of smaller entities that work to keep their heritage alive in Tampa Bay year-round through art, dance & music.

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"If you're not in the Philippines, you won't miss it because when you come to our facility, you get the ambiance, you get the feel," said chairman Arnell Biglete. 

Mark your calendars because next year's PhilFest will be from April 5-7.