FAAE virtual festivities celebrates culture, builds community during pandemic

FAAE president Al Perez gives welcome remarks during this year’s virtual festivities.Photo courtesy of FAAE

Global event promoted Stop Asian Hate efforts, gave tributes to Filipino frontline workers

SAN FRANCISCO – The 28th annual Pistahan Parade and Festival hosted by the Filipino American Arts Exposition (FAAE) drew thousands of viewers worldwide with its virtual showcase of Filipino history, culture and art.

Livestreamed on Facebook, YouTube and Kumu — the Philippines’ number one social media platform — this year’s Pistahan was chock full of traditional and innovative Filipino and Filipino American entertainment from eight pavilions that showcased the talents, skills and expertise of Filipinos from across the globe while celebrating this year’s theme “Renew, Recover, and Rise Together.”

Special celebrity guests Broadway and West End star Lea Salonga, boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, comedian Rex Navarrete, singer Russell Reyes, author Danabelle Gutierrez, Jeppy Paraiso a.k.a Tita Che, and many more joined in the festivities.

Beyond entertaining cultural dances, art, music and cuisine, Pistahan 2021 touched upon timely and relevant issues impacting the Filipino and Filipino American communities. The “PistaHands Challenge” featured community members and politicians like California Attorney General Rob Bonta showing support for Pistahan’s message to Stop Asian Hate.

“The Filipino community is rooted in resilience. We are motivated by our pride in our rich cultural traditions and history,” said FAAE President Al Perez. “When we uplift one another and work together, we can do great things.”

Performers in traditional folk gear get ready to dance as part of the entertainment offerings at Pistahan. Photo courtesy of FAAE

A tribute to frontline workers during the pandemic was streamed at the festival, paying homage to the Filipino American nurses and medical staff. Through the  “Kamayan Kwento” project, Pistahan highlighted the resilient journeys of local Filipino-owned businesses and restaurants.

And as part of the festival’s heritage pavilion, Ann Reginio, a community organizer with the Santa Clara Valley chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society, hosted an informative discussion about the history behind San Jose’s new Delano Manongs Park.

Recently erected, the park is dedicated to the history of the Filipino farmworkers who, with Mexican farmworkers, led the first labor strikes in the grape fields of Delano, CA.

“Larry Itliong and Phillip Vera Cruz were the main manongs that led this movement that shaped the history of America,” said Reginio. “It’s just recently that we have gotten to tell the stories of our Delano manongs. And yes, they are a real part of U.S. history.”

Perez also delved into the rich Filipino history that Pistahan is connected to, as the parade and festival was founded in San Francisco 28 years ago after 4,000 Filipino families were displaced during the redevelopment of the Moscone Convention Center and the Yerba Buena Gardens complex.

“Pistahan was created out of the community’s activism to honor, preserve and celebrate the legacy of the Filipino American community’s struggles, triumphs and deep roots in the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco,” Perez said. “Still, to this day, Pistahan is a testament to our commitment to rise together and overcome any challenge that comes our way.”

Watch videos from last weekend’s Pistahan festivities at www.pistahan.net. Also, check out the full-length Day 1 and Day 2 streams of the festival and parade.

The Filipino American Arts Exposition (FAAE) is a vital part of the rich tapestry of cultures and ethnic communities of the San Francisco Bay Area through its promotion of Filipino American art, music, film, and dance. FAAE celebrates its ancestral heritage and contemporary traditions, broadening awareness and deepening the understanding of Filipino history, achievements, and culture. Founded in 1994, FAAE is a grassroots, nonprofit organization that contributes to the artistic and cultural pride of the Filipino American community and strives to be a meaningful community tradition among the many great ethnic institutions of San Francisco. Follow FAAE at www.pistahan.net and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Kumu is a powerful livestream platform that prioritizes the voices of over 100 million Filipinos around the world. Kumu allows many users to create authentic connections. It is an outlet where you can reconnect with your Filipino roots. Users create friendships with others who share a common interest, you can discover great talents, and win cash prizes by playing live game shows. (FAAE Release)

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