29 years
Community Service
News Magazine
Operated by couple Eddie Flores and Orquidia Valenzuela
News and Views of the
Filipino Community Worldwide
A Chronological History / Pictorial of
The Philippine Independence Day Picnic of the Filipino Community in The Netherlands 1988 - 2008

Munting Nayon News Magazine
The Netherlands
May 31, 2009

No other event in the Filipino community of The Netherlands can aptly be tagged as THE event of the year…more than The Philippine Independence Day Picnic.

THE picnic that began in 1988 became the community’s biggest annual reunion and showcase of Philippine culture, and for 20 years until 2008, organized by THE COALITION.

June 2003 -Picnickers at the Philippine Independence Day picnic
MN archive photo

Philippine Independence Day Celebration: The Beginning and How it all started
1960s – Mid-80s

During the late 60s, the practice, following protocol, was to give only a reception for members of the diplomatic corps in celebration of Philippine Independence Day, with Ambassador Eduardo Quintero, then Philippine’s envoy to the Netherlands. Filipinos and Dutch friends and businessmen were invited by the ambassador to his home on that occasion. It was a small Community then, comprising mostly of scholars, around five Filipinas married to Dutch and a small group of nurses.

June 1963 -Cultural presentation-Philippine Independence Day celebration
Philippine Embassy – The Hague
When the Dutch government during the term of Ambassador Delfin R. Garcia contracted the first batch of nurses to work in the hospitals in Leiden and Utrecht followed by Berghaus recruiting groups of young Filipinas with Filipina social workers to work in their factories and offices in Gendringen, Ulft, Wehl and Amsterdam. … the list of invitees grew in number.

June 1965-Oriental Evening-Philippine Independence Day celebration
Philippine Embassy-The Hague
It was easy to reach people during that time as evey Filipino(a) who came to the country registered at the Embassy. They were contacted by Orquidia Valenzuela who was then the embassy’s secretary…. for a private gathering in the home of the ambassador.

The first Philippine Independence Day celebration held in The Netherlands for the Filipino community was organized by the Philippine Embassy when Rogelio de la Rosa was appointed Ambassador to the Netherlands in 1971.


In 1973, in celebration of the Philippine Independence Day, the community’s first-ever picnic, was held in Openluchtmuseum in Arnhem and was organized by the Philippine Embassy, followed in 1974, which was held in ZuiderPark in The Hague.
Philippine Independence Day Picnic 1974 Zuider Park – The Hague

In the years that followed, till the mid-80s, one organization, DUTCH-PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION (DPA) had a yearly celebration of the Philippine’s Independence in their annual Cultural Evening, then held in June.

The Philippine Independence Day Picnic- 1988 - 2008

In June 11, 1988, three organizations, Barangay sa Holland (BSH), Samahan sa Netherlands and United Filipino Dutch Association (UFDA) held their very first Independence Day Picnic. The event, attended by members and friends of the three organizations was held in Gaasperplas Park in Amsterdam.

1989-Two groups, DAMAYAN and CFMW joined the original three organizing members. The June 10, 1989 Picnic, as in previous year, was held in Gaasperplas-Amsterdam.

In June 9, 1990, BSH held its Philippine Independence Day Picnic, alone.

In June 8, 1991, following the success of their joint celebration of 1988 and 1989, the three organizations, with participation of Filipino Sports Club of The Hague (FSC) for the third time held the event, The picnic with picnickers now growing in numbers, was held in the same venue, Gaasperplas.


1992: Four groups, Barangay sa Holland (BSH), Samahan sa Netherlands, Filipino Sports Club of The Hague (FSC*) and United Filipino Dutch Association (UFDA) during its brainstorming meeting in preparation of the 1992 Picnic Celebration introduced for the first time the name COALITION as the collective name of the four organizations, with the annual Philippine Independence Day Celebration Picnic as their main activity.

With its ever-increasing attendance in numbers…so was the expenses required by the COALITION. The 1992 picnic for the first time got its first sponsors... PNB and PCIB providing Free Soft Drinks to all picnickers. Munting Nayon (MN) for its part, in solidarity with the organizers and support of the PICNIC sponsored prizes for the celebration’s main event...The Tug-O-War. To augment the organizer’s financial burden, they also (for the first time) requested the food stall holders to contribute a token amount.

Gaasperplas Park, getting “smaller” for the picnic, the organizer moved the venue to the Spaarnwoude Rekreatie Park, Houtrak area, in Halfweg. With ever bigger public participation, the venue for Picnic 2007 and 2008 was held in a much larger area…the sprawling Evenement Terrain of Spaarnwoude Rekreatie Park that can accommodate as much as 10,000 crowd.

The Philippine Embassy through all the years has given its full support, cooperation and participation in the celebration, notably during the term of Ambassador Romeo A. Arguelles who never missed a single picnic during his first posting in the early 90s and when he returned for his second posting in The Netherlands in 2002.

(*) note: FSC’s last year of organizational PICNIC participation was in 2003

Sponsors for the PICNIC

In 1996 PICNIC, with the organizer’s burgeoning budget requirement, Munting Nayon was requested to assume the task (on behalf of the COALITION) of soliciting sponsorships to finance the event’s Raffle Draw, the proceeds to be used to augment the event’s expenses. Until PICNIC 2006 MN shouldered the responsibility of leading the fund-raising efforts of the Coalition. MN requested sponsors, for administration purposes, to direct their pledged amount to Samahan Account, COALITION’s designated PICNIC finance administrator. MN’s fund-raising in all these years was a success.

To generate more cash for the Picnic’s sky-rocketing expenditures the EURO 2,= per car parking fee was introduced in PICNIC 2004.

PICNIC 2000, attendance broke all records…an estimated of 1500 people were at the picnic. The PICNICs that followed until 2008 drew more and more participation from the community. The Cultural Bazaar was added in 2006. Every year there was an increase in stall holders. The PICNIC attracted various groups from the community and started participating in stage presentations. More and more people came with the introduction of professional artists like Nhelley dela Rosa, Mary Ann Morales, Mary Amora, Ruth Galura, Alyss Andico, Spy Honrado, ABS-CBN’s Rachel Alejandro and Randy Santiago.

Independence Day Picnic 2008

Attended by thousands…Picnic 2008 crowd was estimated to be no less than 7000, held in Spaarnwoude Rekreatie Park in Halfweg-The Netherlands. THE picnic provided a day of entertainment, fun, and above all…bonding for old friends and an introduction for newcomers in a community that has grown by leaps and bounds since the pioneers arrived in the 60s.

Requirements from Municipal Authorities

Picnic 2008’s attendance caught the attention of the Municipal and Park authorities.

With the crowd’s safety in mind, the authorities imposed all sorts of precautionary measures to be implemented during the event…ie licensed traffic regulators, complete First-Aid facilities manned by licensed personnel, fire extinguishers in food stalls, steel maats for ambulance / police car / fire trucks passage / x-number of eco-toilets / garbage containers….etc…municipal requirements / permits that carry cost amounting to almost 60% of budgeted expenses….. these expenses that must be met…before D-day, in addition to the cost of soundsystem/stage to be provided as well as token amounts for x-number of volunteers.

PICNIC 2009: “ CANCELLED”, but new foundation organizes its own picnic???

MN has always been welcomed in all Coalition Picnic preparations from the very beginning since 1988, helping in the fund-raising, covering the event as media, and giving practical suggestions to the organizers, MN present in almost all of its preparation picnic meetings.

March 19, 2009: The Last COALITION meeting

On March 19, 2009 (about 2-1/2 months away from D-day, representatives of member organizations SAMAHAN, UFDA and BSH, (with participation of Eddie Flores (MN) as an observer) met to discuss PICNIC 2009 preparation progress, as well as the formation of a foundation. It was in this meeting where an exchange of opinions ensued between Samahan and UFDA., with UFDA insisting on the immediate establishment of a "Kalayaan Fiesta Foundation" to take over the COALITION, and SAMAHAN taking the view that the setting up of this new foundation can wait until after the scheduled Picnic on June 6 so that the organizers can give all their attention to Picnic preparations. To ease the tension prevailing in the room, Eddie Flores (MN) raised his hand on two occasions to make some suggestions, only to be shouted at by an UFDA representative, “ Eddie…be quiet.... you are just an observer in this meeting!”
Last Coalition Meeting Attendees:

L-R: Jimmy Munoz(UFDA), Peter Payoyo (SAMAHAN), Zaldy Manalo (UFDA), Lany Elleswijk (BSH), Erning Dalusong (BSH), Scarlet Brusola (BSH), Baby Gonzales (SAMAHAN), Cena Nieuwenhuyse (UFDA) and Jun Ortega (UFDA).
Not in photo-Eddie Flores (MN) as an observer.
Hoofddorp – March 19, 2009

March 20: THE COALITION, (organizer of The Picnic for the last 20 years) reported about March 19 meeting issued a press release about the meeting to Munting Nayon and published in MN 227 (March 28, 2009 issue): “ ………With some new faces and some novel concepts, the setting was truly cozy although a bit of adrenaline sometimes inched up in the midst of lively discussions……..”

April 10: MN received an email from Samahan inviting Eddie Flores to participate in the next Coalition meeting scheduled on April 18, saying "... your participation as observer is one way of showing Coalition appreciation to MN, which has always played a very important role in the preparations/publicity of the Picnic……"

April 12:
MN received an email from UFDA canceling the invitation issued by Samahan and saying "This is not the right time for you to come as observer. We will solve first our problem within the group before we invite you….."

April 18: MN received two press releases, first from UFDA and then later from Samahan. Both were published in MN’s April 30 issue (MN228) as headliners:

SAMAHAN Press Release: Picnic Cancelled

“ It is the sad duty of Samahan to inform our entire community that the Independence Day Picnic, scheduled for 6 June 2009 at the Spaarnwoudepark, has been cancelled.

The park authorities who assist Samahan in overseeing the safety and security of all picnickers every year, have advised the Picnic organizers to cancel the event…….….”


UFDA/BS H Press Release: Picnic to Push Through

“ The community is deeply saddened by the unexpected decision & announcement without notice made by our co-organizer, Samahan. With due respect, UFDA & Barangay sa Holland are strongly opposing the cancellation!

On this ground, UFDA & Barangay sa Holland are determined to mobilize all means & efforts to push through the Independence picnic on June 6…….”


No Picnic 2009 Announcement in MN229 (May Issue) ??

May 7
: On holiday, while in the middle of a guided tour of the Carthagenean ruins in Tunisia, MN received a text message from an officer of UFDA:

“Ed…..… we want to publish on may issue assuming mn is still supporting ufda n bsh on june 6 picnic…….pls confirm if u can accommodate our request otherwise we will find another solution about our publicity issue salamat n happy holiday we need your confirmation today asap!”

The ultimatum was noted. In the midst of a holiday, Eddie decided to attend to UFDA’s message as soon as he arrives in Holland.

May 10: Upon arrival in Holland, MN turn on its PC to check emails…and MN’s nightmare of all nightmares happened…….the PC crashed!!! Lost messages….lost files !!! … However, since the deadline for submission of materials from the public was well known (announced in MN228-April Issue) as May 20, MN was assured that all materials to be published were submitted.

May 20: With PC repaired (thanks to Julian and Jeroen)……and just out of pure luck that MN made a stickmemory backup for MN229 materials, layout for the May issue was finished on May 20…! MN’s deadline.

May 21: MN received an email from UFDA:

“Ed……We would like to place if possible some announcement on your MN May issue about the progress of the picnic…..”

May 21: MN’s response to UFDA’s email:

“hello to all…. Our May issue layout is already finalized…already past the deadline….because of our PC crash…. not possible to make changes……

Eddie will be there on this day….”

May 28: MN229 (May 30 issue) was mailed…. without any Kalayaan Fiesta Foundation announcement.

MN photographer-Independence Day Picnics from 1988 to 2008


Munting Nayon, as in the last 20 years, was all set to cover the Independence Day celebrations in the community ……..until May 26 when it read by chance in Kalayaan Fiesta’s blogsite…..

"….. During their recent meeting, the organizers [Kalayaan Fiesta Foundation] have agreed that only ABS CBN will do the exclusive, official media coverage of this event in coordination with KFFN's Officers.”

….. this statement by its organizers thereby explicitly disallows MN and other media except ABS-CBN to cover the KALAYAAN FIESTA in celebration of the 111th Philippine Independence Day.

In view of the KFFN’s above statement, MN therefore will not cover this picnic event.


see Independence Day Picnic Pictorial report – 1988 - 2008

    Write a Comment
    Tom Tañada
    Sat 11th June 2011
    Eddie, we have not known each other long enough for me to comment or say anything but from what I have read (pardon) that is barbaric. MABUHAY KA! MABUHAY AND MUNTING NAYON
    Jose De Los Reyes
    Thu 11th June 2009
    Dear Eddie,

    Nagpapa-salamat ako sayo nang taos puso dahil sa nabasa ko ang mga balita diyan sa Netherland at gayon narin ang nagaganap sa ibang lugar na kinaroronan nang mga iba nating kababayan.Ang totoo ay wala akong alam sa Munting Nayon.Maliban nalang noong napunta ako sa bahay ng pinsan ko na ipinakita sa akin ang kopya ng Munting NAyon sa computer niya na ipinadala sa kanya nang asawa nang kanyang kamag-aral sa high school na taga Vallejo,California. Kaya mula noon ay nakiki-basa nalang ako sa kanya para naman maka-balita ako nang tungkol sa ating mga kababayan na nasa ibang dako nang Mundo tulad ninyo diyan sa Netherland.

    Isa lang din akong pangkaraniwang Filipino na nag-nasang umalis at makipag-sapalaran dito sa ibang bansa para magkaroon nang magandang kinabukasan ang aking pamilya katulad nang mga iba nating mga kababayan.Dangan lang nga ang naganap na pangyayari sayo tungkol sa Independence Picnic ay hindi ko napigil ang sarili ko na magpadala nang komentaryo sa Munting Nayon...na para sa akin ay napakasakit nang ginawa nila sayo.Talaga marahil ay nasa dugo na nating mga Pilipino ang pag-uugaling ito na hindi dapat na ipagmalaki na ang dapat ay alisin at kalimutan.Hindi lang ikaw ang nakadanas nang bagay na ito sa kamay nang ating mga kababayan...Marami na diyan ang inabot ang naging kapalaran mo sa kamay nang ating mga kababayan.

    Hindi ko mawari at maunawaan ang ugali nating mga Pilipino na bakit tayo gayon ? Saan natin ito nakuha ? Sa mga Kastilang sumakop sa ating bansa ? Bakit pa natin ito dinadala at pinaiiral...samantalang nasa ibang bansa na tayo at wala na sa ating Inang Lupa.

    Dapat sana ay magtulungan tayong lahat para sa ikauunlad at ikabubuti nang nakararmi nating mga kababayan.Wala na yata tayong pagbabago...kahit saan sulok nang Mundo ay may mga kababayan tayo subalit ang ugaling yon ay nananalaytay parin sa ating mga dugo...kailan kaya tayo magbabago ? Samantalang nilisan natin ang ating Inang Lupa para makipag-sapalaran sa ibang bansa...Ano ang dapat nating ipagmalaki sa ating mga kababyan samantalang pare-pareho lang tayong lahat na umalis nang Pilipinas na Isa O Dalawang maleta ang dala-dala.Mukha yatang nakakatawa at parang Uwak na Ibon na katungtong lang sa Kalabaw at mataas pa sa Kalabaw kung umasta.

    Ipapanalangin ko nalang sa Poong Maykapal na sana ay bigyan kapa nang mahabang buhay gayon narin ang mga mahal mo sa buhay...para mo maipagpatuloy ang maganda mong hangarin at layunin sa pagpapaabot nang mga balita sa ating mga kababayan sa buong Mundo....sa pamamagitan nang Munting Nayon.

    Sana dumating ang araw na mapag isip-isip nang taong ito ang ginawa niya sayo.Mahabang pang-unawa lang Eddie ang kailangan mong sandata pag dating sa bagay na ito.Tulad nang kasabihan nang iba The Show Must Go On.Sila ang mag-dadala nito at hindi ikaw...Patnubayan ka nang Maykapal.

    Jose De Los Reyes
    Ramon D. Naguita
    Thu 11th June 2009
    Greater Toronto Area ( Mississauga) On, Ca.
    Hello there Bro Eddie;
    You were not allowed because giant network is there! the real reason for this is political agenda, the election fever is extremely dangerous than H1N1 virus. Bro the Road to Radiant Life was manifested by the life of Daniel in the Bible ( from poor to shinning and glorious life because of God. ) Leave them alone anyway you are already global and universal, and with a noble desire to update all patriotic Pinoy's about what is happening globally, especially in the Netherlands.
    I am very happy that I have a bisdak-promdi in your newscast team ( Jong ).
    F.Y.I we went yesterday 10th June 2009, to clean the monument of Doc. Jose Rizal in downtown Toronto for this
    Saturday's Philippine Independence Commemoration.
    Mabuhay kaayo diyan, regards to Lalay Noel of Bansalan, Davao del Sur.
    Jose De Los Reyes
    Wed 10th June 2009
    Ontario, Canada
    Dear Eddie,Nakakapang-hinayang ang ginawa nila sayo.Sa tagal nang panahon mong sinubaybayan sila ay ganyan pa ang kanilang ginawa sayo.Kaya ka nga naroroon ay dahil din sa kanilang paanyaya.Bakit kailangan kang pagsabihan nang gayong salita.Marahil talagang wala nang lunas sa sakit nating mga Pilipino pagdating sa ganitong bagay.Mabuti lang tayo kung bago bago palang.Ngunit pag nagtagal-tagal na ay nagbabago na ang hihip nang hangin.Mahabang pang unawa lang ang iyong kailangan na sana pag dating nang araw na kung sino man ang taong nagsabi nito sayo sa meeting sana ay humingi nang paumanhin sayo.Kahit saan dako yata dito sa ibabaw ng Mundo ay laging nagaganap sa ating mga kababayan ang mga bagay na ito.
    Fri 5th June 2009
    it's a shame that difference among groups here in the Netherlands can not be resolve .as what my husband alway say, why do you filipinos still organize groups when at the end , you end up measuring your egos, by separating and building another group which eventually ends up with,fights then they separate again and form another group. why dont we just not lower our heads and bow to each other and make whatever difference we have a measure of humbleness and humility rather than pride and prejudice. after all we are just filipinos... away from home and homesick. and we need each other's.support... so there's no need to have divisions and rstrictions. as long as we do things for the common good for all the filipinos here in Holland. iisa lang naman tayo... filipino community lang kahit anong grupo mayroon ka and regardless sa pangalan ng gropu. kaya baba lang ang kilay hindi tayo taga rito lahat. magunderstand each other naman tayo. ano ba yan.
    Peter Payoyo
    Thu 4th June 2009
    The Netherlands
    Dear Eddie,

    Congratulations for MN’s authoritative documentation of the Independence Day Picnic.

    Having been directly involved in the organization of the Picnic for the past 9 years up to 2008, I can attest to MN’s vital and wholesome contributions to the Picnic tradition – a tradition that consists not only of the grand reunion and colorful festivities on Picnic day itself but also the inclusive spirit of friendliness, community unity, and transparency before and after the Picnic. Thank you to MN for being on the side of truth and decency.

    As to elements who deny MN its rightful place in our community, take heart, Eddie, from the counsel of the Italian poet Dante, who in his Divine Comedy advises: “Let us think of them no more. We look at them once, and move on.”

    Mabuhay ang MN,
    Peter Payoyo
    Ching Lansang
    Wed 3rd June 2009
    The Netherlands
    Dear Mang Eddie,

    The Philippines Independence Day Picnic in the Netherlands has been a source of pride for me and my friends. Every year we have experienced it as “The Event” that consistently demonstrates the unity of the Filipino community. I have often remarked to my friends here and in other parts of Europe that in the Netherlands the Independence Day Picnic is well-organized and supported by all groups and organizations year after year.

    We laud the efforts of the Coalition organizers, the Philippine Embassy, the support of our community news magazine, Munting Nayon, the various groups and organizations, sponsors, donors and, last but not the least, every Filipino who comes and invites their Dutch relatives and friends and other nationalities to join this fun-filled event that never fails to showcase what Filipinos can do when we are united.

    Last year no less than 7,000 came together to participate in the Philippines Independence Day Picnic. What an impressive and praise-worthy event that was. It’s unfortunate that it seems this unity will not be realized this year. As leadership expert John Maxwell aptly said “working together precedes winning together.”

    Ching Lansang
    Juan dela cruz
    Wed 3rd June 2009
    Nabasa ko po ang napakahabang artikolo na ginawa ninyo wala po akong ibang masasabi kundi napakaganda po at nailahad nyo ito sa inyong site, this what we called "FREEDOM OF SPEECH" di po ba. sana ipagpatuloy nyo ang inyong magandang nasimulan at wag magpadala sa mga bagay na katulad ng magaganap na kasiyahan sa darating na june 6...
    Bebbette Pajanel
    Tue 2nd June 2009
    Amstelveen, The Netherland
    Dear Ed,

    We live in Europe, we did what we think is right.....you are used to do it for all the years. Why you should allowed yourself to be dictated? No way!!!

    Bebbette Pajanel
    Amstelveen; The Netherlands
    Mary Lou
    Tue 2nd June 2009

    Dear Eddie,

    MN not allowed to cover June 6 Kalayaan Fiesta Event?

    Ironically, the affair is called KALAYAAN and you as a staff member of a pioneering magazine who has been covering up this especial event in the NL is not allowed to cover it? Where do they think they are residing, in a dictatorial state? As far as I know, Independence celebration is open to the public unless the whole affair is now paid by some exclusive organizations and institutions for their own exclusive members for attendance.

    Ay sos, ang mga kababayan nga naman! Hobby na yata yun
    di magkasundo!

    Go there, just take photos...they can't tell people there to stop from taking photos if this is a open to public event. Anong kagaguhan to?

    Mary Lou
    Germany - June 2, 2009
    Dolly I. Magbitang
    Mon 1st June 2009
    Torontom Ontario Canada
    After reading the article that led to the decision not to allow MN to cover the Philippine Independence Day Picnic (after MN's long history of supporting the organizer's cause, and coverage through out), it is quite sad to imagine that MN will not be participating in this yearly event.

    I can't help but think of what we always say "tangkilikin ang sariling atin" - MN being around for the past 20 years as the only, OR, main Filipino newspaper of the Filipino community in The Netherlands
    An MN recipient
    Mon 1st June 2009
    The Netherlands
    dear editor,

    I read the article and it's very good. I salute you for writing it. I think it was very brave and very right of you to decide to put the story out there on the website for people to read and to know the truth because people will definitely be speculating about the absence of your presence in the picnic as well as the absence of any mention of the picnic in the recent MN magazine...
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