KICK off summer and Philippine Independence Day festivities this weekend with a two-day celebration of Filipino American culture and talent at Los Angeles’ MacArthur Park!
After a year-long hiatus, FilAm ARTS — the multi-award winning community organization that mounted the annual Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture (FPAC) for over a quarter century — returns to its arts presentation roots with ‘Manila 2 MacArthur Park’ as part of Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles’ free summer concert series.
On Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9, expect a comprehensive lineup of Filipino and Fil-Am entertainment, ceremonies, local businesses, and of course, food led by a collaboration between FilAm ARTS and Kalayaan LA. Both days are sure to attract all ages and those looking to learn more about Filipino culture, in addition to the local Fil-Am community.
Giselle “G” Tongi, FilAm ARTS’ newly-appointed director of programming, excitedly shared that the spirit of FPAC will continue this summer through an event like ‘Manila 2 MacArthur Park.’
“FPAC is a community legacy well worth preserving and the partnership with our friends at Levitt Pavilion provides an exciting opportunity to once again allow for much-needed space for talented Filipino American artistry and our rich culture to shine and be shared with our Southern California neighbors,” Tongi told the Asian Journal.
The festivities begin at 1 p.m. with Kalayaan LA’s parade starting from the Philippine Consulate’s office on Wilshire Blvd. and ending at MacArthur Park. Until 7 p.m., the program includes Bagyo, children’s ensemble from the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO), a fashion show, Jinu Park, Bowie, and Cecille & Mighty Magic.
The 7 to 10 p.m. performance block begins with a performance by Rani De Leon, a DJ for over 20 years who has a solid reputation for his signature blend of eclectic and accessible worldly sounds, jazz textures, and feel-good roots and soul music. From 8 to 9, Gingee — a DJ, producer, percussionist and vocalist who has performed all over the country and at major music festivals — will play a set showing her unique take on global bass. Gingee has incorporated her Filipina heritage and LA upbringing into her music.
Of her set, Gingee said, “It’s like coming full circle. I got my start performing in the Filipino community as a teen spoken word poet and have been a participant ever since. Having a sense of home and context is so important to our evolution as a community so I’m glad I get to be a part of events like this where we can all get together!”
The night caps off with renowned Filipina American rapper Ruby Ibarra and The Balikbayans who will deliver a nostalgic hip hop performance that captures the Fil-Am second-generation experience. Catch songs like her Filipina anthem “Us,” Playbill$, Broken Mirrors and more from her acclaimed full-length album, ‘Circa91.’
“This Saturday, the crowd can expect a new song or two in the set! Additionally, we’ve also been working hard on refining the older songs to help enhance the live experience,” Ibarra, who will be coming down from the Bay Area, said. “We are truly humbled and excited to play for Los Angeles again as we had such an extraordinary time playing there earlier this year.”
The fun doesn’t just stop on Saturday! Come back on Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m. with a full afternoon of programming that includes finalists of Tawag ng Tanghalan, a singing contest, a fashion show with Ms Philippines USA, soprano classical artist Louise Marie Cornillez, jazz performers Charmaine Clamor and Ric Ickard, Kayamanan Ng Lahi, Rocksteady Rondalla, Bibak, Winston Raval and a closing set by DJ Joel Quizon.
“Curating the lineup perhaps was the hardest part because of the condensed schedule, so in inviting performers, we wanted to showcase the wide range of world-class talent of Filipino American traditional and cultural artists combined with music that showcases the different eras from Rocksteady to Winston Raval to DJ Joel Quizon and his ‘70s Philippine disco lineup,” Tongi added. “FilAm ARTS has always had the honor of providing a platform for our talented people through FPAC and so Manila 2 Macarthur Park will be no different. Come out and be part of our lively, engaging Filipino American artist community.”
This two-day event is one of 50 concerts part of Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles’ summer of free music programming to give Angelenos access to the arts. Two parking lots, each located less than two blocks away from Levitt LA, that will stay open late every night during the concert season. The MacArthur Park venue is also fully accessible by Metro rail and bus lines.
MacArthur Park is located at 2230 W. 6th St., Los Angeles, CA 90057. Programming on Saturday, June 8 is from 1 to 10 p.m. and Sunday, June 9 at 12 to 7 p.m.