It was a grand show. It was like all-you-can-eat buffet style entertainment. For this special day, it was not about the plight of the poor or endurance of political turmoil back home, but a day of opening ourselves to the richness of the moment. The day was carefully hosted by Benito Miranda and Anjanette Abayari, marvelously produced by Vics Perez and the benevolence of Ms. Trini Foliente. The program started with the Holy Mass officiated by Fr. Robert Victoria, with music from the Philippine Chamber Singers-Los Angeles. Edmund Perlas composed and sang the ‘Filipinotown Song.’

Awards — handed out by Councilman Mitch O’Farrell — recognized Silverlake Medical Center, ABS-CBN The Filipino Channel and the Filipinotown Community: Burlington School, Rampart Village, Jesus is Lord Church, Manila Terrace, Our Lady of Loreto, Filipino Christian Church, Villa Ramos, FASGI, Legion of Mary, SIPA, Filipino Martial Arts Nick Papadakis and the North Hollywood Dog, Cambodian Cultural Group, Cambodian Singer Rithy Hanh.

The musical guests all gave stellar performances, but when Bagyo and Geneva Cruz went on stage, the audience grew wild and started dancing.  For competitions, there was a Young Artist Singing Champion Competition sponsored by Center Stage Vocal Academy and Jon Paul Puno and the mouthwatering Kare-Kare Demo Hosted by Louis Eguaras, sponsored by Cook for Less Salad Master and Island Pacific Supermarket and hosted by Garie Concepcion.

The Children’s Fashion show gave birth to stage mothers, grandmothers and relatives, outdoing one another. But the Fashion Show by designers Carl Andrada, Mul Tayoba and Lou Razon capped the program, with the most applauded, breathtaking ensembles.

A group of photographers, with the opportunity to work together in collaborating to celebrate the Festival, took these beautiful photos: Andy Tecson of the Asian Journal, Marc Pijuan, Bobby Crisostomo, Jimmy Hernandez, Bobby Saddule, Oscar Arenas, Rick Gavino, Louie Garcia and the ubiquitous Art Garcia to capture the moments of the day.

In 2013, the Philippine Town Inc. (PTI) after 13 years was renamed Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council  (HFPC). Then a quiet, unassuming activist Jerome Esguerra of ANSWE-LA, who abhors war, assumed leadership and decided, among his firsts acts was acknowledging Filipino Americans who were genuinely involved  with the community, from their different areas of competence. Those individuals are not big time celebrities or people of power and authority, but simple, dedicated men and women.

But why not Jerry Esguerra, mayor of Historic Filipinotown? Everyone wondered.

Dr. Veronico Agatep explained to us with a smile “mayor denotes a symbolic authority of a municipality or city — this is just a term of endearment, not a title that flaunts its clout.”

Thank you, Mayor Jerry, for what you’re doing for our community.

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