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The Making of BONIFEST 2023

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The Making of BONIFEST 2023

Nothing beats the satisfaction of seeing one’s event preparations completed. Nonetheless, unexpected circumstances inevitably arise in the days leading up to and on the day of the event. Furthermore, you should make an effort to be prepared for these unanticipated complications. This occurred during the planning stages of BoniFest 2023. Although the event planning process was only seven days long, every effort was made to save time by collaborating on the script, collecting prerecorded videos, and closely monitoring the technical aspects of the event.

BoniFest 2023 was organized with the belief that it was possible. The persuasion that it could be done in such a short period of time came during a dinner party at Manasan’s house. Mila Garcia, managing editor of the Philippine Reporter, speculated, “Perhaps Bonifacio Ilagan is prepared to accept the challenge and be the keynote speaker at BoniFest 2023.” Boni received a phone call around 10:00 p.m. that evening in Manila, bringing the BoniFest 2023 to life, much to the delight of all: Ricky Caluen, Ricky Esguerra, Agnes and Rex Manasan, Hermie Garcia, and Lui Queano. Each component—poster, program, script, and promotion—was done in seven days.

The zoom event went off without a hitch on November 30 at 8 p.m. in Toronto.  The technical aspects of the program, on the other hand, were managed by Mikael Jagan of the Canada Philippine Solidarity Organisation (CPSO) and Leandra Gamboa of Anakbayan Toronto. Without their technical skills, the prerecorded audio and video would not have worked. The prerecorded cultural videos failed to play on November 29, during the dry run; thus, a zoom discussion with Boni Ilagan was planned in the absence of any cultural videos. However, Jagan and Gamboa were able to seamlessly integrate everything and bring the program to life.

The annual BoniFest, organized by the Filipino Canadian Writers and Journalists Network (FC-WJNet), is not your typical event. An annual commemoration is held to honor the life and legacy of Andres Bonifacio, a hero who selflessly and sacrificially defended the independence and sovereignty of the Philippines. Bonifacio, like other historical figures of his time, distinguished himself by leading the Filipino revolutionaries in their struggle against foreign aggression and dominance.

We had presented BoniFest every year for the previous four years, and as always, we hoped for a show that would highlight its relevance to the ongoing struggle for Philippine independence. That, despite the odds, we continue and are determined to bring to the public the story and narrative of Bonifacio’s life in the present era, where the struggle continues until our country is truly free.

Sa patuloy na paglalahad ng kwento at kadakilaan ni Gat Andres Bonifacio, magpapatuloy din ang paglulunsad ng BoniFest sa lahat ng panahon!###(Reprinted from The Philippine Reporter The Philippine Reporter – The making of BONIFEST 2023)