by Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News
LOS ANGELES — Los Angels became a Filipino-style winter wonderland, as small businesses in the community celebrated the holidays together.
Filipinos celebrated Christmas singing and shopping with FilAm ARTS’ first-ever “Sama Sama sa Pasko” holiday bazaar.
“We’ve had this program called Buy Pinoy, which we’ve had for several years now. One of the things we enjoy and want to support are Filipino small businesses,” said Cat Carrido, from FilAm ARTS, an LA-based organization that thrives on bringing Filipino artisans and the greater community together.
The organization is also celebrating its 25th year.
Everything for sale at the bazaar is either from the Philippines, or made by Fil-Am artists.
“That’s why I’m here…I take pride in my heritage and it’s good seeing the intricacies,” said Sam Ramirez, a customer at the market. “There’s a lot of meaningful use and thought behind it, so I think it’s great to support the community.”
LA’s vibrant Filipino community also gathered at the Kababayan Noche Buena, featuring more Filipino artists, performers, and chefs — such as Rice Bar LA’s Charles Olalia — with the perfect Noche Buena meal: an arroz caldo bar.
“It’s like help yourself arroz caldo. It’s the only way I can serve a hundred people by myself,” joked Olalia.
Adding to the holiday party, special Filipino spirits–traditional salabat–were also served at the event, with bartender Tim Walters from Tanduay USA.
One of the biggest presents of the night came from L.A. Consul General Adel Cruz, announcing his support to help the community restore the recently vandalized mural in Historic Filipinotown.
We are going to tap all the 500 plus Filipino organizations to help FilAm ARTS rehabilitate the Mural at old Filipinotown,” SAID Cruz. “It’s a personal message that I wanted to convey to everyone.
One more reason to celebrate the holidays, and to look forward to the future.