City of San Francisco celebrates Filipino American History Month

The San Francisco City Hall is lit up with the Philippine national colors of blue, red and yellow on October 5, in recognition of the vital contributions of Filipino Americans to the city this Filipino American History Month.

SAN FRANCISCO – Philippine Consul General Neil Ferrer joined Mayor London Breed and the Filipino American Community in the 18th annual official celebration of Filipino American History Month in the City and County of San Francisco on October 5, 2022 — hosted by the Golden State Warriors’ Filipino American “hype man” Franco Finn, and NBC Bay Area reporter Ginger Conejero-Saab.

During the program at the City Hall’s famed rotunda, Consul General Ferrer expressed his gratitude to Mayor Breed, the Board of Supervisors, and the City and County Government for recognizing the “significant contributions of the Filipino American Community in the city, including the recent appointment of Atty. Kevin Benedicto as the city’s first Filipino American Police Commissioner.”

As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Consul General Ferrer also paid tribute to the Filipino American healthcare workers and first responders who served on the frontlines of the pandemic. “You are our heroes — kayo po ay mga bayani — and we are forever indebted to you,” Consul General Ferrer said.

Philippine Consul General Neil Ferrer lauds the Filipino American Community in San Francisco in his remarks during the official celebration of Filipino American History Month in San Francisco on 5 October 5.San Francisco PCG photos

The Philippine Consul General also said that he looked forward to the “revitalization of our longstanding economic, cultural, and people-to-people ties through the Manila-San Francisco Sister City relations” following the election last May of the Philippine capital’s first woman mayor, Dr. Honey Lacuna.

During the celebration, Mayor Breed presented her proclamation of October 2022 as Filipino American History Month in San Francisco, where she said that “San Francisco has a longstanding history of openness and respect for people of all backgrounds… For 18 years, we have celebrated Filipino American History Month at the City Hall, in recognition of the Filipino American community’s vibrant impact to the historic South of Market Neighborhood, [and] invaluable contributions to arts, business and cultural innovation.”

Mayor Breed’s proclamation also reads: “We honor and celebrate the history of the Filipino American community acknowledging that history is deeply entrenched in the Filipino community’s identity of self, and how one cannot know one’s self without knowing one’s history and the history of their own community.”

Mayor Breed presented her proclamation to Bataan Legacy Historical Society Executive Director Cecilia Gaerlan, in commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Fall of Bataan and the Bataan Death March during World War II; and Manilatown Heritage Foundation Executive Director Eleanore Fernandez, in recognition of the 45th year of the International Hotel eviction, which effectively dissolved the erstwhile Manilatown in the city’s downtown district.

As part of the yearly celebration, Filipino American History Awards were given to exceptional Filipino American leaders in San Francisco, including Simon Timony of Advocates 11 (Emerging Leader Award), Edwin Lozada of the Philippine American Writers and Artists (Community Champion Award), and Bernadette Sy of the Filipino American Development Foundation (Trailblazer Award).

Young Filipino American leader Carla Laurel, who serves as Executive Director of the West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center, the oldest non-profit corporation in Northern California, keynoted the celebration with a special tribute to the West Bay mothers.

Filipino American performing artist Ruby Ibarra, and Filipino cultural groups Kulintang Dialect and Parangal Dance Company also showcased their talents during the event. Philippines-based baybayin artist Taipan Lucero, whose CalligraFilipino art exhibit at the Consulate has been extended to October 31, held a pop-up exhibition at the event.

Meanwhile, for the second time this year, the San Francisco City Hall was lit up with the Philippine national colors, in recognition of the vital contributions of Filipino Americans to the city. Previously, the City Hall was also illuminated in blue, red and yellow last June, in celebration of Philippine Independence Day.

2022 marks 435 years since Filipinos first set foot on the shores of continental United States with the arrival of Filipino sailors in Morro Bay, California on 18 October 1587, onboard the Spanish galleon ship “Nuestra Señora de Esperanza.” This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the first Filipino American History Month celebration in the country, through the initiative of the Seattle-based Filipino American National Historical Society. (PCGSF Release)


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