Filipino Americans across Southern California celebrated Philippine Independence Day in June, with events promoting unity and patriotism.
In Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown, a lively festival Sunday was organized by community groups and the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles. It was the first time the event was officially held in Historic Filipinotown — a neighborhood west of downtown and south of Echo Park bordered by the 101 Freeway to the north and Beverly Boulevard to the south — which organizers say is regarded as the birthplace of the Filipino American community of Los Angeles.
Independence Day is celebrated on June 12, honoring the declaration of Philippine independence from Spain in 1898, which ended centuries of colonial rule. The day is commemorated throughout the Filipino diaspora.
Sunday’s event celebrated 125 years of independence with a motorcade parade around the neighborhood, featuring grand marshal and community leader Grace Ouano. Other dignitaries listed to attend included Philippine Consul General Edgar B. Badajos, L.A. Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez, L.A. Public Works Commissioner Susanna Reyes and elected Filipino-American officials.
After the parade, a community festival included cultural and musical performances, vendor booths, a fashion show, and an appearance from Filipino movie icon Gabby Concepcion.
The June 12 Independence Day celebrates “the Filipino diaspora in the United States,” said Maria Alnee Gamble, deputy consul general for the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles, before the event. It’s seen “as a way to remind Filipinos of our forebears, who fought for our rights and freedoms and to keep their sense of patriotism burning, despite living in a foreign land.”