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Arts & Culture

Maraya Winter Arts Festival to feature entertainment and life-saving education

There is a holiday season festival this weekend, not only offering entertainment but also a life-saving opportunity. KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez has more on the event celebrating San Diego’s Filipino community.

Maraya Performing Arts is creating a community in the South Bay through programs of dance, music and theatre for all ages and abilities.

This Sunday, the nonprofit organization will host a winter arts festival of multidisciplinary performances. Among the cast of 80 people, from ages 3 to 78, are members of the Filipino American Women's Club of San Diego County.

They are a group of a dozen women who have been rehearsing in a garage at the Chula Vista home of one of the members.


"I am proud that I am a Filipino and I can show our culture through dances," said Regina Garma, the group's president. "Filipinos are resilient and we want the world to know we exist."

The group will be part of Maraya Performing Art's original dance theatre production titled "Bayanihan," a tribute to folk dances from the Philippines.

The all-day event will also include children with special needs from the organization's arts academy.

"As we are becoming stronger, so is our younger generation. I want them to be more united and stay focused on what they can do to support the South Bay," Agarma said.

Anjanette Maraya-Ramey is the founder and CEO of the arts group. She is a first-generation Filipina-American, a South Bay native, and a leukemia survivor.


She said she is alive today because of treatments that required the generosity of blood donations.

According to the San Diego Blood Banks 2021 Impact Report, “The best blood type matches are often found between people who share blood type and ethnic origins. ”

During the Sunday festival, audience members will also be able to donate blood. The hope is that many more Filipinx Americans and San Diegans of other ethnic backgrounds will donate.

"Ethnic origin is a big factor in saving lives. We want to use the arts to bring people together and then educate them and give them the opportunity to save lives," Maraya-Ramey said.

The Maraya Winter Arts Festival and Blood Drive will be held at the Wilson Middle School Performing Arts Center in City Heights on Sunday, Dec. 17, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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