By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
Aug. 13, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO – It is considered the biggest, most exciting gathering of Filipinos in this side of America. More than 75,000 people gathered at the Yerba Buena Gardens over the weekend for the 20th anniversary of the Pistahan Parade and Festival.
Filipinos are the second largest Asian group in the U.S., with 3.4 million people. Census data show that there are close to 500,000 Filipinos living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
And they came out in full force, filling the streets of San Francisco to watch the parade, which kicked off the two-day event.
Saturday’s parade featured ABS-CBN personalities from Balitang America, Adobo Nation and Barangay USA, as well as the hottest Kapamilya stars from the Philippines — like Xian Lim, Maja Salvador and X-Factor Philippines first season winner, KZ Tandingan.
The Kapamilya stars also sizzled on stage last Sunday, closing the festival with show-stopping performances. They entertained the crowd with songs and dances.
“It’s so good to be back home,” said Lim, who was raised in the Bay Area.
“Thank you everyone for your support. It’s so overwhelming,” gushed Tandingan.
“Filipinos here have welcomed us like family. We’re touched,” added Salvador.
Coming to Pistahan is a must for many Filipinos like Eduardo Abad, who ache for their homeland. “It’s as if I never left the Philippines. You see so many Filipinos at the Pistahan,” he said.
And then there are those with Filipino connections. Ron Miller comes to Pistahan every year because it makes him feel closer to the love of his life, Susana, who’s still in the Philippines. “It make me feel good, knowing where she came from.” he said.
Clearly, Pistahan more than a parade and festival. It is now part of their lives, part of their commitment to keep Filipino culture and tradition alive for generations to come.
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