Tampa's 27th annual Philfest, a celebration of all things Filipino, returns next week

Pinoy pride, baby.

click to enlarge Tampa's 27th annual Philfest, a celebration of all things Filipino, returns next week
Philfest Tampa / Facebook
It's that time of the year where Filipinos from all corners of Florida  flock to Tampa for its annual Pinoy celebration.

This year’s rendition  of Philfest runs from Friday-Sunday, March 31-April 2. Friday’s festivities happen from 5 p.m.-11p.m., then 10 a.m.-11 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday.

As always, Philfest is organized by Tampa’s Philippine Cultural Foundation and will take place at its Bayanihan Arts and Events Center, located at 14301 Nine Eagles Dr. on the western edge of Hillsborough County.

According to the foundation’s website, this year’s Philfest will boast all of the expected festivities—from traditional dances and cultural exhibitions to talent shows, singing competitions, and of course, a full spread of Filipino eats.

Tickets to Philfest cost $10 at the gate or $8 if you purchase advance tickets at the Bayanihan Arts and Events Center—online ticketing is not available.  Since there’s limited parking at the events center, you might want to bring some extra cash for that, too.

Attendees can expect all of the Filipino fiesta favorites at Philfest, from lechon kawali and lumpia to pancit, halo-halo,  barbecue skewers and kwek-kwek. Non-food vendors will also be present slinging their best apparel, arts and crafts, and other wares.

And for the first time in several years, Mata’s Philippine Cuisine—a brick and mortar restaurant that started as an annual Philfest vendor—won’t be serving its legendary Tagalog-style sisig at this year’s festival. But the family-owned restaurant will sling  Pinoy eats at the inaugural Tampa Bay Food and Wine Fest, also happening next month.

Philfest organizers promise "nonstop" programming at the three-day festival, and its multitude of folk dances,  talent shows,  dance competitions,  Elvis impersonators, pageants, fashion shows and a performances from Pinoy celebrities will certainly fulfill that pledge.

According to its website, Philfest garners over 12,000 attendees each year, boasting itself as “one of the major Philippine festivals in the southeastern United States.”

For the latest information on 2023's Philfest, head to @PhilFestTampa on Facebook page or pcfitampa.org.

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Kyla Fields

Kyla Fields is the Managing Editor of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay who started their journey at CL as summer 2019 intern. They are the proud owner of a charming, sausage-shaped, four-year-old rescue mutt named Piña.
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