San Pedro, CA - While the talented artists and entertainers at the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture put on a show that the attendees would never forget, so did the vendors; who sold one-of-a-kind goods, souvenirs, and collectibles.
From educational books and Pilipino pride T-shirts, to kalinga tribal tattooing and delicious food, vendors gave every attendee an experience to take home.
Need a crash course on all things Pilipino? You could find it here all over the grounds of FPAC, or the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture, which was held for its 19th year in a row on Sept. 11 and 12, 2010 at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro.
For arts and education, there was a tent of Pilipino cookbooks, titles by Pilipino and Pilipino-American authors, and children’s books, not to mention teach-yourself-Pilipino books. Another tent showcased art for sale by Pil-Am photographers, painters, and sketchers.
A few tents down, a group of artists explained kalinga tribal tattooing, a form of indigenous body art that has been practiced for more than 1,000 years. The art form, which tribes like Mark of the Four Waves are reviving, is believed to have started in the remote mountains in Northern Philippines.
The artists say anyone can get a tattoo of one’s life’s story on his or her body. But to begin the process of getting a kalinga tattoo, you must understand where you came from ancestrally. Those who become tattooed go through a transformation process of learning and honoring their roots -- permanently and for all to see. The hope is more Pilipino-Americans get inspired to carry on this age-old body art form.
Apparel, trinkets, and souvenirs also abounded at FPAC. Over at the booth of San Diego-based PNOY Apparel, attendees could not stop eyeing the clothier’s Veterano Jacket, dedicated to the more than 250,000 Filipino World War II Veterans who fought side by side with American soldiers.
At other booths, apparel varied from an Obama-inspired design of Philippine National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal on a T-shirt, handmade beaded jewelry, modern graphic tees, and irresistible baby clothes that said things like, “I Love My Lola.”
Right next to the BakitWhy.com lounge, was Vintage Renewals, an eclectic mix of one-of-a-kind makes by West Covina-based designer Maria Ongpauco. The owner of Vintage Renewals uses recycled or renewed vintage fabrics to design kitschy dresses and blouses with just a touch of embellishment. She also sold tribal-inspired dresses, a modern take on the common one-pocket dress or garb Pilipina women wear.
On to the food! The Los Angeles area’s first Pilipino fusion food trucks came out in full force, from Manila Machine, the very first Pilipino food truck, to White Rabbit, and Tapa Boy LA. Each truck, which serves hot food from its mobile kitchen, had lines at least 10 feet deep throughout the two-day festival.
At the White Rabbit food truck, brave souls attempted to consume a six-pound burrito in an eating contest. Many contestants tried, several lost their appetite (hope you are all OK!), but they sure were an attraction at FPAC 2010!
And the food didn’t end there. Lines were long for barbecue pork sticks, Orientex-brand lumpia (fried eggrolls) and Magnolia brand tropical ice cream. Just the smell of grilled pork or garlic fried rice -- for hours -- made you ecstatic to be at FPAC!
Overall, great job to all the vendors who really made FPAC come full circle for the thousands of attendees! This event was an experience to remember, and truly made one proud to be a Pilipino!