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Hundreds of Filipinos gathered at the UNESCO Palace Sunday to celebrate 116 years since their country's independence, with a cultural show featuring folk dances and singing competitions and a food exhibit showcasing the culinary tradition of the Philippines.Ruiz said the Philippines' cultural traditions often blended the influences of the country's neighbors in Southeast Asia with those of Spain and the United States, both of which have ruled the archipelago.Ruiz said the independence day celebrations were crucial to strengthening the feelings of community and camaraderie among the population here, which numbers nearly 30,000 and plays a crucial role in powering the Philippines economy with remittances.Ruiz said the plight of domestic workers was the greatest challenge facing the community here.
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