The Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture, otherwise known as FPAC, celebrated 21 years as Southern California’s largest and longest-running Filipino community tradition this weekend with a theme of Saysay ng Kalinangan (Voices of Home). A wide variety of vendors, entertainers, and community organizations came out to participate in the two-day event, held annually in San Pedro and presented by FilAmArts. As talent such as apl.de.ap, Rex Navarette, Jason Farol, Legaci, and Cheesa graced the stage throughout the weekend, visitors also had the opportunity to visit various booths throughout Point Fermin Park.
At the Health and Wellness Pavilion, run by Pilipinos for Community Health (PCH) and Kappa Psi Epsilon’s Delta Chapter from UCLA, wellness workshops were provided that included free blood pressure screenings and information about portion sizes and the effects of smoking. “We outreach to Filipino communities in Los Angeles such as Panorama City, Carson, Cerritos, and Filipinotown that have a good amount of people with no access to benefits or who don’t see a doctor annually and we give free high blood pressure screenings and try to implement new projects every year,” said PCH Preventative Health Co-Director Jaycee Lim.
Nearby was the booth of the Philippine Expressions Bookshop, which also makes its presence annually at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. There, various Filipino authors participated in book-signings, including Leslie V. Ryan, author of I Am Flippish, a book that was inspired by Ryan’s son who is half-Filipino and half-Irish. The story follows a child whose classmates question why his father looks so different than he does as he comes to understand his dual heritage. “I’m very proud to be here at this festival because I get to meet a lot of different people and just be back in touch with the Filipino culture,” said Ryan. “It’s a privilege to sell my book here today.”
On the other end of the park stood the Barangay LA tent, which also featured an art exhibit for the Malaya Project, an ongoing photography series that was started by two Barangay LA members and highlights empowered individuals in the Filipino LGBT community. “We’re here to show that we are Filipino and we do take pride in our heritage, but we are also LGBTQ and we’re a part of our Filipino community,” said Barangay LA Director of Public Relations and Marketing Jeremiah Abraham. Barangay LA also showcased dresses worn as part of their Sagala, a traditional Filipino parade of beauty queens, at the Los Angeles Pride Festival. “All these Filipino-inspired dresses walked down Santa Monica Boulevard,” said Abraham. “It’s really inspiring for people in the crowd to see a bunch of Filipinos walking down, representing their culture through our dresses, though whatever we are doing, and also seeing a big Filipino flag walking down such a major street in Los Angeles.”
Visitors could have also stop by other areas such as the Babaylan Pavilion, which gave attention to indigenous practices and beliefs from the Philippines, and the Senior’s Village, which exhibited entries in its 13th annual vegetable competition. All in all, on this busy weekend that began on the 47th anniversary of the start of the Delano Grape Strike, FPAC attendees had a lot to experience and enjoy at this year’s FPAC celebration.
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