SAN FRANCISCO — Food, drinks, and music marked the celebration of the one year anniversary of the official recognition of SoMA Pilipinas, as San Francisco’s Filipino cultural district.
Various community organizations and leaders, from business to education and more, were present to commemorate the occasion.
And those involved in SOMA Pilipinas report that the development, while in its infancy stage, is well underway.
“We’re completing our branding campaign. We’re talking about the heroes, she-roes, both local, international, historical, and in the diaspora that we want to lift up in the Filipino community in San Francisco and regionally,” said Raquel Redondiez, project manager. “We’re also doing our master planning to figure out the best corridors to develop our commercial base.”
One area that organizers want to tap, considering being so close to Silicon Valley is technology.
“It’s going to be the first time we as a people get to make a city in our vein and it’s not any city. It’s San Francisco; one of the wealthiest, most innovative, most disruptive, and most progressive cities in the world, and so we’re going to lay our mark now,” said Desi Danganan.
Organizers say that there are many Filipino tech entrepreneurs who have been successful, and are currently recruiting them to help bring their business to the district to help it grow.
“I believe that finding those Filipinos in tech is the first step. You got to find where they are in the first place. Afterwards, you got to organize them to come together in a group — that’s why I’m involved with SOMA Pilipinas in our tech group as well,” said organizer Mick Del Rosario.
Filipino businesses like Mestiza Taqueria will be highlighted to not only generate revenue but to showcase Filipino culture.
Mestiza is one of five new Filipino-owned restaurants that have opened since the formation of SOMA Pilipinas.
“Being born and raised in this neighborhood that I grew up in, and being able to give back, I think that’s the most important part that’s one of the core goals of SOMA Pilipinas — to preserve the culture and the history that we’ve had here in San Francisco; not only for decades, but for generations.”
Coming up on August 18th, SOMA Pilipinas will be launching their newest initiative to build public awareness and economic activity through a monthly night market called “Undiscovered.”