30 October 2019, SAN FRANCISCO – The Consulate General in San Francisco supported and attended various Filipino American History Month celebrations in the Bay Area throughout October.

The month of October teemed with colorful and meaningful events, including a Filipino American international book fair, recognition of outstanding Filipino American journalists, fiesta celebrations in various venues, film festival and film showings, and theater plays.

On October 2, a community screening of short documentaries on how young members of the Filipino diaspora are growing up abroad and away from the birthplace of their parents, was held at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center. The youths aired their mindsets, beliefs and take on life in general, vis-à-vis cultural, religious, technological, and psycho-social influences. The screening, which was a collaboration between ABS-CBN’s The Filipino Channel and media and storytelling platform for diaspora communities NextDayBetter, was attended by nearly a hundred young audience.

The Consulate General graced the 2019 Plaridel Awards on October 4. The Plaridel Awards is given by the Philippine American Press Club USA to recognize excellent Filipino American journalists whose works revolve around the Filipino American community and the community at large. Consul General Henry S. Bensurto, Jr. was represented by Deputy Consul General Raquel R. Solano in the awarding ceremony. She lauded Filipino American journalists for their work that contribute to the development of communities as they continue to live out their Philippine culture and heritage and embrace their adoptive communities abroad. Aside from the Plaridel winners for 2019, Ms. Nerissa Fernandez, Global Head, Corporate Affairs and PR of ABS-CBN Global, and Dr. Richard Kempis were awarded the Torch Bearer award for their leadership and contributions in the community.

The Consulate General participated in two Filipino American community events in Livermore. On October 5, Deputy Consul General Solano and Consul Vanessa G. Bago-Llona attended a talk led by Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara on the Filipinos’ different approaches and practices in observing their Catholic faith. The symposium was held at St. Michael’s Parish in its annual celebration of the anniversary of Christian evangelization in the Philippines and in preparation for the 500th anniversary of Christianity’s arrival in the Philippines in 2021. In her remarks, Deputy Consul General Solano stressed the significance of the Filipino diaspora’s expressions of the Catholic faith abroad, which is an essential feature of Philippine culture.

On October 6, the Consulate also attended the Livermore FilAm’s 4th Annual Barrio Fiesta, which featured various performances by Filipino American dance groups and performers. Informative booths were set up, such as a booth on facets of Philippine culture and heritage, and on the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies, which aims to continue migrant worker, labor activist and writer Carlos Bulosan’s legacy through education and research in advancing the rights and welfare of the Filipino community in the United States. On even date, Consul Dominic Xavier Imperial represented the Consulate in the UN Association-USA East Bay Chapter for the 53rd Annual Parade of Flags in celebration of United Nations Day.

On October 11 and 12, the Consulate General participated in the 5th Filipino American International Book Festival presented by the Philippine-American Writers and Artists. With the theme, “Humanity, Diversity, and Resistance in the Arts,” the 5th FilBookFest was headlined by Pulitzer Prize Winner Jose Antonio Vargas, who wrote “Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen.” Filipino authors from the U.S., the Philippines, New Zealand, and Canada, among other countries, participated in the event and talked about their works.

On October 12, Consul Dominic Xavier Imperial attended the 52nd Fiesta Celebration of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary led by the Guiuananons of Northern California in Concord.

A film festival and short films competition to celebrate its 26th anniversary was presented by the Filipino Arts & Cinema International (FACINE) on 18-20 October. The Consulate’s Cultural Section attended the film festival, which had a line-up of independent Filipino films that “challenge the American occupation in Balangiga, steer into themes of committed and unrequited love, a future look at overseas Filipino workers tilling the lands of other planets, and LGBTQ+ themes.”

Deputy Consul General Solano and Consul Bago-Llona also attended the 9th Filipino Ministry Gala with a Barrio Fiesta theme on 20 October. Filipino members of the clergy and various Bay Area parishes and Filipino American Catholic parishioners attended the gala held at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco.

On October 25, Consuls Bago-Llona and Imperial and Cultural Officer Ms. Maria Antonia van Espen-Boonen watched Bindlestiff Tagalog plays. Bindlestiff studio celebrated its 30th anniversary of nurturing performing artists at the community-based performing arts venue dedicated to showcasing emerging Filipino American and Filipino artists. END