Biggest gathering of Filipinos in UAE kicks off

Annual Bayanihan festival promises a full day of fun activities, talent showdowns

Dubai: Today, Friday, the festive spirit of Filipinos fills one of the expansive halls of Dubai World Trade Centre. 

And if you want to try something different for the weekend, it is worth checking out, regardless of whether you’re Filipino or not.

Dubbed as the “biggest and grandest” gathering of expatriates from the Philippines, the annual Bayanihan Festival organised by FilClub, a Filipino community group in the UAE, definitely has  it all – from music to dance, to food, arts, crafts, shopping and so much more.

Taking place from 7am to 8pm, the whole-day community festival, which is a celebration of the spirit of cooperation and unity among Filipinos, is jam-packed with fun activities all in one venue, from a free concert to a host of talent showdowns to shopping bazaars.

Those who are heading to the festival can witness the ultimate showcase of Filipino talent. There will be groups of expatriates battling it out for the best acoustic band. There will be a cheerdance competition and a dance showdown, a choral competition, a drum and lyre showdown and a lot more.

As if these showdowns are not enough, there are loads of other competitions lined up as well, including painting, photography, fruit and vegetable carving, and hair and make-up contests.

The event is open not just to expatriates from the Philippines. Non-Filipinos are encouraged to check it out as well and when they do, the will not only get to enjoy Filipino talent and creativity, they will be able to sample a wide variety of authentic Filipino dishes and shop for local products and bargains at the same time.

Bayanihan is the local term for the old practice of Filipinos coming together to help a neighbour relocate. It is now more commonly used to refer to the act of working together for a common goal.

According to Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes, today’s festival puts the spotlight on everything Filipino. “Bayanihan allows Filipinos to reconnect with their culture and tradition and art, at the same time provide other ethnicities a glimpse of how we as Filipinos embrace the cultures of the UAE and that of the other expatriate communities.”

Entrance to the event is free. It is happening at Shaikh Saeel Hall 3 of the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Here are just a few of the activities to check out at the Bayanihan Festival:

Battle of the bands (Tunog Akustic)

Music fans will get to see Filipinos performing acoustic songs. The elimination round has already taken place, so today, the remaining bands who made it to the finals will vie for votes to secure the last three spots.

Clash of Pinoy Deejays

The UAE is home to a number of Filipinos who work as disc jockeys. Watch out for some of these music spinners tweaking controls on the deck.

Fruit and vegetable carving

Filipino chefs who work for hotels have one hour to carve their masterpiece out of fruits and vegetables.

Hip hop dance showdown

For those who have a penchant for hip hop, today’s a great time to witness Filipinos taking to the dance floor to show off their moves.


Looking to find something unique or different to gift the loved ones this Christmas? The stalls at the Bayanihan festival may just have the perfect present for you. The Bazaar is set to showcase local  goodies, including handicraft.

CV Drop Box

And if you’re on the lookout for new job vacancies, you’ve come to the right place. The festival has set up a special box for expatriates to conveniently drop in their applications/CVs.




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