With Filipino-American History Month underway, communities across the United States have planned events throughout October, such as parades, literary fairs and food fests, to showcase Fil-Am influence in the country.
In Los Angeles, one of the most-anticipated celebrations is the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture (FPAC) organized by the Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts and Culture (FilAm ARTS) on Saturday, October 14 at Echo Park Lake in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.
FPAC was first conceptualized in 1990 as part of the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department’s Festivals Program, an arts program designed to address the multicultural constituency of the city.
Organized by about 100 artists and community leaders, the first festival took place at Los Angeles City College on Mother’s Day, May 14, 1992, where 3,000 participants braved the aftermath of the LA riots that occurred the week before. FPAC has only grown stronger and bigger, moving to Cabrillo Beach in 1994, then to Pt. Fermin Park in 2001. Since 2014, FPAC has taken place at the official birthplace of the City of Los Angeles where Fil-Ams can trace their heritage in the city to its founding.
FPAC found a home at Echo Park Lake in 2016, strategically located near Historic Filipinotown and other LA neighborhoods where many Fil-Ams call home. This coming Saturday, the day-long affair returns.
Now on its 26th year, FPAC is considered the largest and longest-running Fil-Am festival in the country. What makes FPAC a treasured gathering each year is the mix of art, cultural performances, mainstream Fil-Am talent, culinary delights, and multi-generation attendees that come together for one day.
“Twenty-six years later, we are still that authentic cultural festival that bridges generations,” shared FilAm ARTS interim executive director Tina Salonga-Bulchand. “The festival is inclusive, bringing those layers of multiple generations and levels of immigration to one place. It’s something that lolas, second-generation Fil-Ams, and even non-Pinoys, can enjoy.”
Cultural, mainstream talent and appearances
This year’s theme is Salin-Lahi (“Bridging Generations”), which can be reflected in every facet of the festival, from the food to performances.
“With well-thought-out curated events throughout the day, the traditional aspects of Filipino culture merge with the modern Fil-Am experience. FPAC is also authentically LA, creating a type of culture of its own. For Fil-Ams who grew up in the city, this festival connects them to their Filipino roots,” Bulchand continued.
Among the headliners of FPAC are Black Eyed Peas’ Apl.de.Ap, who has appeared at the festival throughout the years, and Jordan Clarkson, the point guard of the Los Angeles Lakers.
FPAC will be Clarkson’s first public appearance at a Fil-Am event in LA, reflecting his commitment to connect with his roots and the community at large. R&B singer Jessica Reynoso, who was part of Apl.de.Ap’s team of vocalists in “The Voice of the Philippines” Season One, will also perform on the FPAC stage on Saturday.
FPAC will also feature other headliners like DJ Virman of the Far East Movement, Kronika of Soulection, Anatalia Villaranda from The Voice Season 12, Bella Fiasco, and Joel Quizon (Disco Manila).
The talent ranges from traditional and modern dance, classical and contemporary music, martial arts, and other art forms like stand-up comedy and practical magic. Festival goers can also expect musical genres like funky Manila Disco, Hip-Hop, R&B, Pop, Electronic, Reggae, Funk, and OPM, according to FPAC’s programming director, Richie Menchavez of TRAKTIVIST.
Other acts slated to perform include: Ryan Africa, Gingee, Katipunan Poetry Slam, Kayamanan Ng Lahi, NAK, Alfa, Buhay Cali, Samantha Mendoza, Rocky Sandoval, Ranella Ferrer, Malaya Filipino American Dance Arts – Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble, Erwin & Jake (Harana Men’s Chorus) – Culture Shock LA, Erik Escobar, DreMagix, Shekinah Paguirigan, BIBAK Dance Ensemble, Rocksteady Rondalla, PaaMano Eskrima, Lyda Harlan, Nicco, Featured FPAC DJ – Achilles Aurelius.
A special Community Arts Block will also feature the likes of Jeserey Sanchez of ISAtv,
Karen Joyce of Tuesday Night Project, Matt Almodiel of Kollaboration, Jeremy Crooks of Our Mic, and Sunday Jump.
FilAm ARTS continues to recognize individuals, organizations and businesses who have made an impact in the Fil-Am and greater Southern California communities. This year, there will be five awardees: LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis (Public Service Award), Pilipino Workers’ Center (Community Service Award), Philippine Expressions Bookshop (Literary Award), Martial Arts Guru Richard Bustillo (Excellence in Arts Award), and actor Reggie Lee (Excellence in Arts Award).
Since FPAC takes place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, there will be programming throughout the day to entertain and engage attendees of all ages.
From 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., the festival will have its first-ever Wellness Pavilion, featuring fitness and wellness-related activities, like a walk/run around the lake, yoga hour, and a talk by Herbalaria.
Other areas of the park include a Seniors Pavilion, Youth Pavilion for young attendees, Tinikling Battle, Literary Pavilion, and the Pilipino Artists Network (PAN) Pavilion showcasing the visual art of local Filipino artists.
Curated by Sunday Jump, the Literary Pavilion (from 11 a.m. to 6:20 p.m.) will feature events such as: a two-hour block of imaginative performances and readings, a poetry wall to write a collective poem, an interactive area to meet and greet with artists, and the annual poetry slam. Continuing the work of those who have paved the way before us, from Jose Rizal to Jessica Hagedorn, the Literary Arts Pavilion provides a platform for us to showcase the variety of voices and points of view amongst Filipinos and Fil-Ams today.
Featured artists at the pavilion include Phylizia Carrillo, Janelle Paule, Andres Paul Ramacho, Zosimo Quibilian, Jr., Navor, Jensen, Cherisse Yanit Nadal, F. Douglas Brown, Abigail Adriano Aseo, Gio, and Miranda Tsang.
Of course, it’s not a Filipino party without food. With the array of options available at FPAC, festival goers will surely not leave hungry.
The vendors have been thoughtfully organized to show the best in Fil-Am entrepreneurship and cuisine. Confirmed food vendors include Neri’s restaurant, Benaddictz, Grublife, Kapamilya Restaurant, Baboys of Carson, Ensaymada Project, Crepe Life, Stoked! BBQ, The Parks Finest, Ramar Foods, Rice and Shine, Baked Dessert Bar, Drizzle Food Truck, Tasty Block Food Truck, Lobos Food Truck. Achara Food Truck, and White Rabbit Food Truck.
“We are really excited to showcase the creative side of these Fil-Am culinary entrepreneurs,” Salonga-Bulchand said. “With the way they create these beautiful foods, they are as much of artists as they are entrepreneurs.”
Benaddictz – a wordplay on “eggs benedict” and “addict” – is known for its uniquely Pinoy take on brunch. Its Chicken Adobo Eggs Benedict recipe is one of the most sought-after items at its brunch pop-ups all over town.
“FPAC engagement is important because it brings so many years of a cultural following. In my generation, it’s the original Filipino festival in Los Angeles,” Justin Foronda, founder of the Fil-Am brunch favorite, said.
On Saturday, Benaddictz will be serving Sarap’y Joe (a Filipino Spaghetti-style Chilli served on Garlic Buttered Pan de Sal) and Elote Waffles (corn-infused batter with lime cream and salsa powder).
Festival goers can also expect treats such as Ube and Thai tea crepes from Crepe Life or an array of ensaymada flavors — like queso de bola, dulce de leche or Ensaymatcha™ chocolate — from Ensaymada Project.
The Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture is a free event from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. No admission fee is needed for entry. It will be held on Saturday, October 14, 2017 at Echo Park Lake in Echo Park, Los Angeles. For more information, please visithttp://www.filamarts.org.