Virtual Fil-Am Arts Pistahan hails Filipino community, culture
SAN FRANCISCO – Thousands of viewers worldwide viewed the 28th annual Pistahan Virtual Parade and Festival virtual showcase of Filipino history, culture and art hosted by the Filipino American Arts Exposition (FAAE).
Livestreamed on Facebook, YouTube and Kumu — the Philippines’ number one social media platform — this year’s Pistahan was full of traditional and innovative Filipino and Filipino American entertainment from eight pavilions showcasing 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 Lea Salonga, Manny Pacquiao, comedian Rex Navarrete, Filipino 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 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.”
Through the “Kamayan Kwento” project, Pistahan highlighted the resilient journeys of local Filipino-owned businesses and restaurants and also gave Pistahan volunteers the opportunity to reconnect and reflect on what inspires them to come back and help every year as they gathered for a meal – Kamayan style.
And as part of the festival’s heritage pavilion, Ann Reginio, a community organizer with the Santa Clara Valley chapter Filipino American National Historical Society, hosted an informative discussion on the history behind San Jose’s new Delano Manongs Park. Recently erected, the park is dedicated to the contributions of Filipino farmworkers who, with Mexican farmworkers, led the first labor strikes in the grape fields of Delano, California.
“Larry Itliong and Phillip Vera Cruz were the main manongs who 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.”