by Ana Torrea, ABS-CBN News
SAN FRANCISCO – Filipinos in San Francisco came together to celebrate one of the community’s favorite holiday traditions: the 14th annual Parol Lantern Festival and Parade.
This year was significant for the Parol Festival.
“We’re celebrating our SOMA Pilipinas that was passed this year, and so we want to celebrate our culture, our Filipino culture, through the Parol Lantern Festival,” said Bernadette Sy, director of the Filipino American Foundation.
In keeping with of “SOMA Pilipinas: Bringing our Culture to Light,” the Bay Area Filipino community showcased traditional folk dance and music to all people passing through the social hall at St. Patrick’s Church.
An added feature of the lantern festival and parade was the “Taste of Filipino Christmas,” which highlighted traditional holiday foods.
Various Filipino organizations throughout the city also came together to celebrate SOMA Pilipinas’ historic mark in the community, by creating their own handmade parols and lighting up downtown San Francisco.
“It’s very timely because the movement towards making South of Market as SOMA Pilipinas is already in full motion, and the same time the city is recognizing it. So the community should celebrate,” said MC Canclas, event director.
Organizations received cash prizes for winning the Tala Award to parols with best design and presentation.
According to some of the Fil-Am students in attendance, it wasn’t about the prizes – but about coming together and celebrating a traditional Filipino Christmas.
“I think this theme is very beautiful, ‘Bring Culture to Light’,” said Kevyn Lorenzana, a student in the Filipino Student Union at Skyline College. “I just want to say congratulations to SOMA Pilipinas for claiming their place; this beautiful place in terms of gentrification.”