LA's Historic Filipinotown unveils new gateways and book

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By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

March 11, 2014

LOS ANGELES – Travelers who enter the Los Angeles district known as Historic Filipinotown (HiFi)—once a major hub for Filipino immigrants—are now greeted by a gateway.

“It’s a good idea to put that there for the Filipinos,” said resident Ellen Ilagan.

Eliseo Art Silva, who is credited with several Filipino murals throughout the country helped design the gateways.

“It took 20 years for me to leave another public art for Los Angeles,” the 42-year-old mixed media artist explained. “Of course the first one was exactly 20 years ago that I did in 1994 which is the mural. Twenty years later this gateway will be my second contribution helping our community be more visible in LA. So it’s very rewarding.”

While the community is celebrating the new landmark, they’re also celebrating the launch of the new book “Filipinotown: Voices from Los Angeles.”

The book is composed of stories from the community members themselves, recalling how they grew up in Filipinotown, and how many still continue to struggle as immigrants.

As early the 1950s Filipino immigrants began settling in the area just outside of downtown LA.

At one point, half of the residents were Filipinos but as more Filipinos began earning more money, they moved to the suburbs. Filipinos still make up about a fifth of the HiFi residents, but with the gateways, murals, and writings, Filipinos here believe their history in America’s second biggest city will continue to be honored.

You can contact Steve Angeles at steve_angeles@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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