City of Long Beach aims to be next Filipino cultural hub

LONG BEACH, CA — ‘Tis the season of Philippine Christmas lanterns, as historic Pine Avenue in downtown Long Beach hosted its second annual Parol Festival.
Filipino food, entertainers, and merch lined the historic corridor, as the parols lit up the night as families enjoyed the festivities and even built their own lanterns.
“These are one of the things we always look forward to because we don’t always get to see a lot of Filipino events, a lot of Filipino events tend to be in LA or a little bit further out,” said Jeff Aquino.
The event began last year, as local award-winning chocolatier Romeo Garcia wanted to create a space for the Filipino community, similar to San Francisco’s SoMA Pilipinas. He even called in members of that SF Filipino Cultural District to help jumpstart this tradition.
“We want to really build on that continuum. We want to build on that tradition and so we really love that San Francisco is going into their 10th plus year and we’re on our second year, we just want to keep growing it every year,” said Garcia.
For those who call Long Beach home, they plan on making sure that Pinoy Pride is celebrated more than just one December night.
The LBC is 30 miles from Los Angeles, and adjacent to many Filipino Hubs in the South Bay. Local Filipinos hope to increase their visibility with more events like this year round.
“There’s a big community here in Long Beach. Long Beach is fantastic, a very diverse community and we want to show that Filipino and Filipino American are part of this cultural fabric of our city.
Chef AC Boral, who after years of pop-ups, opened his first brick and mortar restaurant Bebot in downtown Long Beach.
“It’s good cuz most of the Filipino community in Long Beach live out on the west side of the 710 so to be able to bring it on the other side of the 710 more downtown Long Beach is kind of a cool thing, bringing more visibility to the culture, also our food, entertainment, just bringing the filipino community on this side of the freeway as well.”
And the neighbors seem to be catching on, in the spirit of Pasko, even the non Filipino businesses got in on Filipino flavors, like this ube cheesecake by The Pie Bar.
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