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Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Kalayaan 5K Run in New York Held to Celebrate 125th Philippine Independence By Bel Molina

The 3rd annual event gives opportunity to commemorate historic event and brings together several NYC run groups

New York - On Sunday, June 4, 2023, several excited runners in New York City ran through the streets of midtown Manhattan including the Philippine Independence Day Parade route to kick off the Philippine Independence Day celebrations. 125 years ago on June 12, 1898, Filipino revolutionary forces declared sovereignty and independence of the Philippines from the colonial rule of Spain.  

The annual Kalayaan (Freedom) 5K Run was launched in 2021 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic by passionate Filipino runners Anthony Galsim, Bel Molina and Ruby Lagare. Their goal was to raise awareness of Filipino culture among the NYC running community while promoting health and fitness. The event is open to all: Filipinos and non-Filipinos. 

The Honorable Deputy Consul General of the Philippine Consulate General of New York, Adrian Cruz, formally commenced the event by welcoming and thanking all the runners for their enthusiasm and participation in the 5K. He then spoke about the importance of the Philippine Independence as well as preserving and promoting the Filipino culture within NYC. Co-founders Molina and Lagare were then invited to meet with Philippine dignitaries who were present at the Philippine Center, including the Philippine Ambassador to the United States, Jose Manuel del Gallego Romualdez, Philippine Consul General of New York Senen Mangalile, Philippine Senator Risa Hontiveros and several other diplomats, officials and leaders in the Filipino-American community in the U.S.

Multiple NYC running groups participated in the event sharing the common ideals of health, fitness and community.  These include Midnight Runners NYC, Balut Patrol, UNFRGVN, Adidas Runners NYC, Asian Trail Mix, Coach Medina NYC, Fil-Am Tri, Not So Serious Runners, On Running, Pinoy Runners USA, Pinoy Runners New Jersey, Pinoy Runners New York, Old Man Run Club, Queens Distance Runners, and Run for Chinatown. 

The runners ran the 3.1-mile course, zigzagging through Fifth Avenue from the Philippine Center on 45th Street, up to the iconic Central Park and turning down Madison Avenue to the scenic Madison Park, where the Philippine Cultural Program and Street Fair was being held in light of the Philippine Independence Day Celebration. 

Geb Hilado, a staple of the NYC running community, proudly carried the Philippine Flag throughout the course. Jojo Santiago paced and kept the runners on track. Filipino-owned restaurants Tradisyon NYC, Filipiniana Restaurant and Catering, and The Buren, provided gift cards for the fun trivia games throughout the course. Aaron Rigodon, Elaine Parcutela and Melissa Bhana won the generous gift cards from the event sponsors.

Photo credit: Redford Mancio and Drew Ku


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