“This is one of my favorite events of the year as it honors and celebrates the people of our gloriously diverse community. It helps us to appreciate that we have that we have much in common with our neighbors around the world,” said Union City Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci.
“Today, we proudly announce the development of our newest Sister City relationship with Khushab, Pakistan. This is our first relationship in Pakistan but many of our residents hail from that country,” she added.
UCFSC President and former City Council Member Pat Gacoscos said the last celebration was one of the most successful festivals because there were so many guests both local and international.
“I could feel the friendship among the people who attended serving our purpose of educating and entertaining them. Educating means learning our similarities and differences, especially with the current racial tension; hatred against Asians and other people of color. Entertaining is for them to experience the cultures of others through dances and music and stories of our speakers and tasting the variety of food we serve,” Gacoscos said.
In his speech, special guest Philippine Consul General to San Francisco Neil Frank Ferrer talked on the celebration of Union City with two Philippines cities, Pasay City and Baybay City, the capital of Leyte.
“We can share best practices that we have and we can do them in our country also. We can learn from their traditions, culture. This is really an important event for us since we are sister cities for a long time now and this is our first time to visit this festival here in Union City,” Calixto said as she cited the importance of Pasay City being sister cities with Union City.
On the other hand, Baybay City Councilor Rommel Peñaranda came along with other city councilors Filemon Avila and Ramon Veloso.
“Actually, this is my third time. We have been sister cities with Union City for ten years now. We started this in 2013 and I was the first one to come here,” Peñaranda shared. “It started as a proposal from our end, in Baybay City Chamber of Commerce coordinated with some Filipinos here and we came up with an idea to have a twinning sister city and our local government approved the idea.”