Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles

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Historic Filipinotown
Neighborhood of Los Angeles
Nickname(s): Hi-Fi
Historic Filipinotown is located in Los Angeles
Historic Filipinotown
Historic Filipinotown
Location within Central Los Angeles
Coordinates: 34°04′19″N 118°16′23″W / 34.0719°N 118.272959°W / 34.0719; -118.272959
Named 2002
Zip code 90026
Streets Alvarado Street, Beverly Boulevard, Glendale Boulevard, Temple Street

Historic Filipinotown is a district of the city of Los Angeles, California, that makes up the southwest portion of Echo Park. It was created by a resolution proposed by city council member Eric Garcetti on August 2, 2002. The district is bounded by the Hoover Street on the west to Glendale Boulevard on the east, Temple Street on the north, Beverly Boulevard on the south side. This section of Echo Park has always been a puzzle, especially since it was separated from its northern portion by the US 101 Freeway in the 1950s and the southern section of the park where the tennis courts and baseball field are located.

Historical background[edit]

From a political and community planning standpoint, Historic Filipinotown is in the city of Los Angeles’s Thirteenth District, represented by council member Eric Garcetti. It overlaps, and is even divided by, the two larger communities of Silver Lake and Echo Park. Historic Filipinotown was created to help continue the history of this part of the neighborhood and promote economic, civic, commercial, cultural, industrial, and educational interests and common wealth of local residents, business owners, and other stakeholders. Community plans drawn up for Historic Filipinotown also impact the community plans of Silver Lake-Echo Park and a small section of Westlake south of Beverly Boulevard. As a result, Historic Filipinotown must compete with these other localities for services and benefits while avoiding any conflict with their larger community parents.

Despite the fact that there are other enclaves of Filipinos living outside this district (such as Artesia, Cerritos, West Covina, and Eagle Rock) it was named "Historic Filipinotown" since it was one of the few areas where Filipinos first settled during the early part of the 20th century and home to key Filipino organizations, Filipino churches (Filipino Christian Church, Iglesia ni Kristo, St. Columban Filipino Catholic Church, United Church of God Ministries, Praise Christian Fellowship, and Congregational Christian Church), housing (Manila Terrace, Mindanao Towers, Mountain View Terrace, and Villa Ramos), and social service centers. Many Filipino American families began purchasing homes and establishing businesses in the area beginning from the 1940s, shifting away from the downtown area now known as Little Tokyo in the 1920s and the Bunker Hill area later.

In recent times the population of Historic Filipinotown has changed to reflect the ethnically diverse nature of Los Angeles. While the district still has a sizable Filipino population, they are the minority, overshadowed by a sizable Mexican and Central American population. Nevertheless, the area still has one of the highest concentrations of Filipino Americans in Southern California and still remains the cultural heart of Filipinos throughout Los Angeles. Of the 400,000 Filipinos that reside in Los Angeles, an estimated 10,000 live within Historic Filipinotown.

Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council[edit]

The Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council leads the effort for cultural, political, and economic development in the district. Many Filipino service organizations and institutions, such as the Filipino Christian Church (designated with a cultural marker by the City of LA), Rotary Club of Historic Filipinotown (HIFIRC), the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC), Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA), Filipino American Service Group (FASGI), Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA), Pilipino American Network and Advocacy (PANA), the Filipino American Library (FAL), and the Historic Filipinotown Chamber of Commerce (HIFICC) are located in the neighborhood. The area is also host to Filipino restaurants, churches, and hospitals and medical clinics.

The two major annual events in Historic Filipinotown are the Annual Historic Filipinotown Festival, which is held every first Saturday and Sunday of August, commemorating the designation of the District as the Historic Filipinotown. The Festival showcases the people and cultures of the residents of district with music, dances, food, entertainment, and health fair.

Following Thanksgiving, the lamp-posts along Temple Street are decorated with Philippine Christmas lanterns ( Parol ) as the launching of the Christmas festivities, which last until the Epiphany Celebration the following year. The Christmas Parol Project was several years in the making due to City Code requirements and fundraising challenges. In 2008, Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council was able to raise enough funds to launch the annual event with a Christmas Lantern Parade on Temple Street.

Cultural landmarks[edit]

Filipino Christian Church

On May 5, 1998, the Los Angeles City Council designated the Filipino Christian Church as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 651.

The Filipino (Disciples) Christian Church is the only Historic Cultural Monument designated by the City of Los Angeles with Filipino origins, distinguished by its German Gothic Revival and Craftsman architecture. Although not yet designated as Historic-Cultural landmarks, Historic Filipinotown also has the oldest established Iglesia ni Kristo Church and the earliest Filipino Catholic Church built in the USA, purchased by First Lady Aurora Quezon as a gift to the Filipinos in Los Angeles: the St. Columban Filipino Church on Beverly Blvd and Loma St, which also has authentic church bells from Antipolo City, Philippines.

Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana mural

Prior to the area being designated as Historic Filipinotown, on June 24, 1995,[1] the nation's largest Filipino American mural, Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana (Filipino Americans: A Glorious History, A Golden legacy), was unveiled. In 1997, the City of Los Angeles Board of Cultural Affairs Commissioners awarded the mural its first ever Award of Design Excellence for public art. The mural was likewise featured in Los Angeles County Museum's 'Made in California: Art, Image and Identity 1900-200' as well as the Smithsonian Institute's travelling exhibition celebrating 100 years of Filipino migration to the USA called 'Singgalot (The Ties That Bind): From Colonial Subjects to Citizens'.[2] The mural was painted by then 22-year old artist Eliseo Art Silva[3] while a senior attending nearby Otis College of Art and Design.[4] According to the artist, "...the mural encapsulates 5,000 years of Filipino and Filipino American history; the design is divided into two parts: the first is historical (represented by the outline of a fish at sea), leading up to the awakening of Filipino national and political consciousness; the second part is dominated by a huge bird with significant Filipino-Americans on its wings, the farm workers on the bottom left and the youth and community on the right."[5]

Unidad Filipinotown Park

The mural originally faced a large community garden called the Candy Chuateco Community Garden. Sponsored by Search to Involve Pilipino Americans, The land was purchased by the City of Los Angeles and converted into the Unidad Park through the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust (LANLT).[6] Unidad Park's design was conceptualized by leaders and stakeholders of the Filipino community and based largely from submitted renderings by the mural artist Eliseo Silva, which includes the Philippine Bontoc/Kankana-ey communal gathering place, park features and a community garden referencing the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as an entrance walkway based on a design by Filipino American Pedro Flores.[7] The park is a popular destination for the neighborhood with its Dap-ay[8] used by students and the sandbox inside this space used by toddlers, the interactive play area, community garden as well as onsite barbecue grills with matching tables and benches for family gatherings and parties, enhanced by a covered tent to protect park users from the sun and rain.[9]

Hi-Fi Signage, Street Medallions (Banners) and Crosswalks

In 2007, CALTRANS and the neighborhood council installed Historic Filipinotwn signage along the US 101 Freeway directing traffic to the area with the Alvarado and Glendale Blvd. exits. The crosswalks in Filipinotown have been decorated with traditional Filipino basket-weaving patterns designed by Edwin Frederizo who also designed Hi-Fi's street banners.[10] According to the artist, "My design for the permanent art display conveys a message of peace, unity, and harmony amongst the community of Historic Filipinotown. The uniqueness of having Filipino American residents and businesses embedded within a variety of cultures allows for a very rich and conceptual visual art display. The Filipino American culture is influenced by several other cultures (i.e.- Latino, Chinese and African American) and is fused into a very unique style all its own."[11]

Filipino American WWII Veterans Memorial

In November 2006 Eric Garcetti, president of the LA City Council, joined Filipino veterans from around the country in unveiling the first monument dedicated to the 250,000 Filipino and 7,000 Filipino American soldiers who fought for the United States in World War II. The monument, located in Lake Street Park in the heart of Los Angeles’s Historic Filipinotown, consists of five slabs of polished black granite and commemorates the history of the Filipino veterans, from WWII to immigration to their subsequent fight for equality. It was designed by artist Cheri Gaulke.[12]

Future plans

Future plans for Historic Filipinotown include a permanent structure for the Filipino American Library in honor of its founder Helen Summers Brown, the naming of a Filipino community and cultural arts center in honor of the catalyst for the 1965 Delano Grape Strike Larry Dulay Itliong, the naming of a community garden after community leader/educator Uncle Roy Morales[13] and Filipino labor leader Philip Vera Cruz, a section of the neighborhood to be named in honor of Remedios Geaga[14] and placing a larger than life size monument of Philippine national hero Jose Rizal and LA writer and novelist Carlos Bulosan in front of the Filipinotown Unidad park. A gateway marker to the Historic Filipinotown along Temple Street is in the planning and design stage for presentation to the Council members and approval by Los Angeles City authorities.

Emergency services[edit]

Los Angeles Police Department operates the Rampart Community Police Station at 1401 West 6th St., 90017, serving the neighborhood.[15]


Like the rest of the city of Los Angeles, the area is within the Los Angeles Unified School District.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "TEMPLE-BEAUDRY : Mural to Spotlight Filipino Americans". LA Times. February 12, 1995. Retrieved February 12, 1995. 
  2. ^ "Exhibition/Event Calendar- New Americans Museum". New Americans Museum, San Diego. 
  3. ^ Lee, Jay. "Eliseo Art Silva Website". godaddy.com. Retrieved October 2003. 
  4. ^ LOS ANGELES PHOTO GALLERY, Martin. "Filipino-American heritage mural at the Beverly Union Park". 
  6. ^ CD-13. "Green Season: Beverly Union Park". lacityorgcd13. Retrieved September 17, 2007. 
  7. ^ Montoya, Carina Monica (2009). Los Angeles's Historic Filipinotown. Arcadia Publishing. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-7385-6954-3. 
  8. ^ Jenks, Albert Ernest. "Dap-Ay and Stones with excerpt from the ethnographic study of the early Bontoc Igorots in 1905". Dap-ay is the usual venue for community gatherings, be it informal or ceremonial. But most importantly, it is the place where peace pact (pechen/peden) between warring tribes is being arranged or settled. From the study of Michael Brett in 1987, “Pechen“ is defined as “a ritualized oral contract between two villages with the purpose of establishing peaceful relations… a contract held in safekeeping by a particular ator of each village“. Retrieved 1905. 
  9. ^ Angeleno, Militant. "Saturday in the Parks". Blogger. Retrieved September 15, 2007. 
  10. ^ "Crosswalks in Hi-Fi". lacityorgcd13. Retrieved November 1, 2005. 
  11. ^ "Banners for Hi Fi". Council District 13 enews. 
  12. ^ Garcetti unveils nation's first Filipino veterans memorial (PDF), City of Los Angeles, November 13, 2006, retrieved 2007-12-11 
  13. ^ Myrna Oliver (January 27, 2001). "Royal F. Morales; UCLA Teacher of Filipino Studies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 30, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Meet me at Remy Square". The Eastsider LA. October 29, 2010. Retrieved August 30, 2012. 
  15. ^ Rampart Community Police Station, los Angeles police department, retrieved 2007-12-11 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°04′19″N 118°16′23″W / 34.0719°N 118.272959°W / 34.0719; -118.272959