Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles

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Historic Filipinotown
Historic Filipinotown western gateway that is located off the 101 freeway on the corner of Temple Street and Silverlake Boulevard.
Historic Filipinotown western gateway that is located off the 101 freeway on the corner of Temple Street and Silverlake Boulevard.
Coordinates: 34°04′19″N 118°16′23″W / 34.0719°N 118.272959°W / 34.0719; -118.272959
Zip code
StreetsAlvarado Street, Beverly Boulevard, Glendale Boulevard, Temple Street
Historic Filipinotown street sign located on the northern border on Temple Street.

Historic Filipinotown is a district of the city of Los Angeles, California, making up the southwest portion of Echo Park. The district is bounded by Hoover Street on the west to Glendale Boulevard on the east, Temple Street on the north and Beverly Boulevard on the south. This section of Echo Park 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. Originally the area known as Little Manila, Historic Filipinotown was one of the first areas to be cultivated by Filipino immigrants during the early part of the 20th century. The enclave was created through a resolution proposed by council member Eric Garcetti on August 2, 2002.

View of Downtown Los Angeles from Vista Hermosa Park.
The streets of Historic Filipinotown contain a mix of Hispanic and Korean businesses, as the area is located beside LA’s Koreatown

Historical Background[edit]

The district is the first official geographic designation by any city outside of the Philippines honoring Filipinos. From a political and community planning standpoint, Historic Filipinotown is in the city of Los Angeles’ Thirteenth District, represented by council member Mitch O'Farrell. It overlaps and is divided by the two larger communities of Silver Lake and Echo Park.[1] Historic Filipinotown was created to help preserve 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 the Westlake neighborhood south of Beverly Boulevard. As a result, Historic Filipinotown competes with these other localities for services and benefits while avoiding any conflict with their larger community parents.

Filipino Americans represent the largest population of Asian Americans in California and also have one of the oldest communities of Asian Americans in the United States. The earliest settlement can be found in enclaves such as Manila Village in Jefferson Parish and St. Malo in St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana which were founded in 1763, became part of Spanish Louisiana and became home to approximately 2,000 Filipino sailors and laborers. With houses platformed on stilts, the fishermen caught and dried their precious commodity, shrimp, for export to Asia, Canada, South and Central America. They introduced innovations such as "dancing the shrimp" and shrimp farming to the United States. Weather conditions eventually destroyed St. Malo in 1915 and Manila Village in 1965. On July 24, 1870, the Spanish-speaking residents of St. Malo founded the first Filipino social club called Sociedad de Beneficencia de los Hispano Filipinos to provide relief and support for the group’s members, including the purchasing of burial places for their deceased.

St. Malo and Manila Village is the historic precursor to the City of Los Angeles' Historic Filipinotown.

Despite the fact that there are other enclaves of Filipinos living outside this district (such as Carson, Cerritos, West Covina, Panorama City, 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 later the Bunker Hill area.

In a section of downtown Los Angeles now known as Little Tokyo, a thriving community known as Little Manila existed and flourished for over two decades (1920s-40s). The first significant wave of Filipino migration came in 1923, when over 2,000 arrived in California. Ten years later, over 6,000 resided in Los Angeles, most living in the downtown neighborhood bordered by San Pedro Street to the east, Sixth Street to the south, Figueroa Street to the west, and Sunset Boulevard to the North. Twelve restaurants, seven barbershops, the immigrant newspaper The Philippines Review and the Manila Portrait Studio all helped to buoy the Los Angeles Filipino diaspora. Many of the Filipino pioneers came to Los Angeles to study, while others settled as residents for employment. This community of mostly males established numerous restaurants, pool halls, cafés, employment agencies and barbershops which became the hub where Filipinos congregated, lived, socialized, organized and networked among their compatriots to find companionship, fellowship and work. One would merely drive to First and Main Streets to solicit Filipinos, either by Hollywood studios in need of ethnic-type extras for cinematic productions or many others in need of cheap labor.[2]

While gambling and taxi dance halls provided the overwhelmingly male Filipino community with distraction from their grinding labor, these activities drew condemnation from some quarters within Little Manila. Boxing, however, drew no such criticism; moreover, it brought a diverse population—sometimes divided ethnically between Ilocanos, Visayans, Tagalogs and Boholanos—together into one experience. "They didn't care if a person was Visayan, Ilocano, Boholano, Cebuano," notes Stockton's Jerry Paular. When a Filipino boxer emerged victorious, "Ilocano was embracing the Visayan and the Tagalog." In Los Angeles, Johnny Samson, one of only two Filipino boxing trainers at the time, served as chairman of the L.A. Filipino Unity Council. Boxing would prove to be one of the most influential and lasting forms of popular attraction among Filipinos in California. Some historians also believe that Filipinos in Los Angeles were the original wearers of zoot suits. According to Rudy Estrada, an original Zoot Suiter who was attacked while walking in downtown Los Angeles in 1944, “Chicanos didn’t invent the Zoot Suit style; it was the Filipinos. Ducktail hairdos—Filipinos started that, too.”

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 600,000 Filipinos that reside in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, an estimated 10,000 live within Historic Filipinotown. Nearby Chinatown also has about the same number of Chinese residents living within their own district. Though the population of Historic Filipinotown, or "Hi-Fi" (Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti's preferred shorthand moniker), is roughly 25 percent Filipino, it still boasts a higher ratio of Filipinos than nearby Koreatown has Koreans (15 percent) and Thai Town has Thais (less than 5 percent).

The “Historic” label was added to recognize the area as a gateway and the current place where Filipino immigrants settle, create businesses and have community-based activities. This was because the Filipino American community in Historic Filipinotown created a partnership with mayor Eric Garcetti, as a result, he maintained a staff position assigned to the Historic Filipinotown neighborhood during his tenure.[3]

By the early 1950s, Filipinos were able to buy land in the United States. In Los Angeles, many FIlipino families bought their first homes in the Temple-Beverly corridor, with the growth of Filipino families in this corridor, they created Filipino-owned businesses, establishments, churches, and organizations.[4]

On October 31, 2011, Historic Filipinotown was officially recognized as one of the nation’s Preserve America Communities after years of advocacy by the Pilipino American Network and Advocacy (PANA) and other community advocates. Receiving this honor from former First Lady and Honorary Chair of the Preserve America Initiative, Michelle Obama, Historic Filipinotown is provided with strong federal support and incentives for the continued preservation of cultural and natural heritage resources. As a Preserve America Community, Historic Filipinotown is featured in the National Register Travel Itineraries and in “Teaching with Historic Places” curricular materials created by the National Park Service.

On January 28, 2012, representatives from Preserve America and the California State Historic Preservation, as well as various elected officials and community leaders, gathered at Unidad Park for “Preserving Historic Filipinotown: A Community Celebration.” In addition to the official ceremony of Historic Filipinotown’s Preserve America designation, this celebration also honored the restoration of the mural at Unidad Park, as well as the designation of Remedios “Remy” V. Geaga Square, located at the intersection of Alvarado Street and Temple Street.

Historic Filipinotown stands to remind the City of Los Angeles and Filipino Americans about the history and struggles Filipinos have overcome to build this particular community. It is a place that both serves the Filipino community and also provides avenues for all Angelenos and visitors alike to enjoy Filipino cuisine, support neighborhood businesses, visit cultural landmarks and attend Historic Filipinotown events—all through which one can learn and engage in preserving the rich cultural heritage of Filipino Americans in Los Angeles.


Although the enclave is named “Historic Filipinotown,” the Hispanic or Latino community comprises a majority of the population. In 2016, the population of Historic Filipinotown consisted of 4% Blacks, 8% Non-Hispanic Whites, 32% Asians, and 56% Hispanic or Latinos.

There are many different occupations that exist in the neighborhood such as construction, retail trade, management, and educational services. In Historic Filipinotown, the healthcare and social assistance category comprises nearly half of the total number of existing jobs. According to the 2015 Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) data, healthcare and social assistance comprise 47% of the total jobs; accommodation and food services at 10%; management at 9%; and professional, scientific, and technical at 9%.[5] These four categories compose the four largest percentage of total jobs within Historic Filipinotown. A trend that can be seen throughout the Filipino community is a tendency to work in healthcare professions. Fulfilling the demand for healthcare professionals in the U.S. many Filipino healthcare professionals immigrated to the U.S. The high number of individuals in the healthcare profession on the graph can be explained by this.

According to the 2016 5-Year American Community Survey (ACS), the poverty rate of Filipinotown is higher than Los Angeles County. The poverty rate for the Los Angeles Country is 18% while the poverty rate for Historic Filipinotown is 24%.[6]

The work force in the HiFi region is constituted by a good majority of Health Care and Social Service workers.
The work force in the HiFi region is constituted by a good majority of Health Care and Social Service workers.
The below poverty rate within the HiFi region is approximately 24%. In comparison the percentage below poverty within the whole of LA County is 18%.
The below poverty rate within the HiFi region is approximately 24%. In comparison the percentage below poverty within the whole of LA County is 18%.
Percentages of the different ethnic groups within Historic Filipinotown.
Percentages of the different ethnic groups within Historic Filipinotown.
Historic Filipinotown Demographics

Community Organizations[edit]

There have been many organizations based in the Historic Filipinotown area that have a multitude of goals ranging from cultural celebration to social services. These organizations not only try to help the Filipino population, but the community as a whole. Due to the lack of resources and services available to the community, many Filipino non-profit organizations have established themselves as resources to existing public facilities. Organizations like Search to Involve Pilipino Americans and Filipino American Services Group, Inc. provide services such as affordable housing, senior services, youth programs, and small business development. Other non-profit organizations in this area enhance the neighborhood's identity through arts and culture and small business entrepreneurship. However, there is an obvious need and interest in further developing more public facilities and community-based agencies that provide services to Historic Filipinotown's residents.

Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA)

SIPA, Search to Involve Pilipino Americans, was founded in 1972 and helps to provide health and human services as well as helps in the economic development, arts and cultural programs for youth and families in Filipinotown and the greater Los Angeles Fil-Am community.[7]

Filipino American Services Group, Inc. (FASGI)

“FASGI, incorporated in 1981, is a community based on non-profit social service agency that focuses on the health and well being of undeserved adults, particularly senior citizens…”[8]

Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council (HIFNC)

The Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council (HIFINC) leads the effort for cultural, political and economic development in the district.[9] Many Filipino service organizations and institutions, such as the Filipino Christian Church (designated with a cultural marker by the City of Los Angeles), Rotary Club of Historic Filipinotown (RCHIFI), 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, hospitals and medical clinics, and community events such as Kapistahan Grill's karaoke nights, Dollar Hits's street food blended with OPM, and the only Filipino-founded open mic series Sunday Jump every first Sunday of the month.

There are three major annual events in Historic Filipinotown: the Historic Filipinotown Festival, the Philippine Independence Day Parade and Festival, and the Christmas Lantern Parade and Festival. The Historic Filipinotown Festival with the Historic Filipinotown 5k Run/Walk (sponsored by Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council), held every first Saturday of August, commemorates the district's official designation. The festival showcases the people and cultures of the residents of the district with music, dance, food, entertainment and a health fair. The Philippine Independence Day Parade and Festival (co-sponsored by FACLA), is held every first Saturday of June to celebrate the national day of the Philippines. The annual Christmas Lantern Parade and Festival (sponsored by the Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council), following the Thanksgiving holiday, launches the traditional celebration of Christmas festivities, which lasts until the Epiphany Celebration the following year. Lamp posts along Temple Street are decorated with traditional Philippine Christmas lanterns (parols). The Christmas Parol Project was several years in the making due to city code requirements and fundraising challenges. In 2008, the Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council was able to raise enough funds to launch the annual event with a Christmas Lantern Parade on Temple Street.

Over 31 "polemount" Parols are installed along Temple St. coinciding with festivities in the Philippines, the longest celebration of Christmas in the world. In addition a parade of Christmas lanterns like this one are paraded during the last day of Simbang Gabi.

Current Events[edit]

Since 2006, the Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council, in an attempt to ‘re-Filipinize’ the neighborhood, throws a festival and fundraising campaign.

The Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) in partnership with LA-based social enterprise Public Matters, has an event called Hidden Hi Fi which shines light on the neighborhood assets through different events and Jeepney tours.

The Filipino American Library sponsors several bus tours throughout the year that include visiting Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana in Unidad Park.

Over 31 "polemount" Parols are installed along Temple St. coinciding with festivities in the Philippines, the longest celebration of Christmas in the world. In addition a parade of parols, or Christmas lantern are paraded during the last day of Simbang Gabi which are a series of masses in the Philippines which are held from December 16–24.

“By the early 1950s, Filipinos were able to buy land in America, and many Filipino families in Los Angeles purchased their first homes in the Temple-Beverly corridor. Filipino-owned businesses, establishments, churches, and organizations flourished in the corridor throughout the years, resulting in the community's attachment to a place. The relatively recent designation of Historic Filipinotown is representative of this attachment.[2]

Kapistahan Grill is one of the key Filipino restaurants located within Historic Filipinotown.

Kapistahan Grill

Kapistahan Grill is a Historic Filipinotown eatery. Located on Temple Street, they serve a unique combination of traditional and modern style of Filipino cooking. They operate on five core values: "Excellent Cuisine, Friendly Atmosphere, Equal Opportunity, Commitment To Quality, and Our Community".[10] Through these core values, Kapistahan Grill serves as a community center for the Filipino community in Historic FilipinoTown. Kapistahan Grill’s mission and commitment to the community is felt through their customer service. The restaurant has hosted many events including karaoke nights, birthday parties, music shows, and Sunday Jump, a local slam poetry event hosted by Eddy Gana Jr. because they center their work around building relationships and taking care of the community.

Dollar Hits

Another local eatery listed on Temple Street is Dollar Hits, a Filipino food truck that specializes in Pinoy street food. The owners of the truck are the Chan sisters, and they serve the community from Thursday to Sunday during the hours of 6:00PM to 12:00AM. The food truck is known for its diverse set of pre-cooked street food selections.

Community members can purchase pre-cooked selections such as pork isaw (pig’s large intestine), kwek-kwek (small quail eggs), puso ng manok (chicken heart), and bingo (corn with grated coconut)[11] all for $1 each. After purchasing pre-cooked selections, customers cook the food themselves. Grills are lined up on the sidewalk next to the truck, and customers can finish off their grilling with Dollar Hits’ homemade marinade and melon juice.

Like Kapistahan Grill, Dollar Hits serves as a spot where community members can get together and share a meal together. Many Filipinos support Dollar Hits because of how it helps to facilitate community building.

Bahay Kubo Natin

Like Kapistahan and Dollar Hits, Bahay Kubo Natin, or more commonly known as Bahay Kubo, is a traditional, Filipino home-style cooking restaurant. They are located on 2330 West Temple Street and are cash only. It is open from 7:30AM–9:00PM, Monday through Wednesday, and 7:30AM–9:30PM, Thursday through Sunday. Bahay Kubo, or more well known as a nipa hut, is designed as such. In the patio of the restaurant, they even feature a mini bahay kubo.

Similar to many other traditional Filipino restaurants, they offer entrees in turo-turo ("point-point") style, where customers point to the dishes they want.[12] They are known for their skewered, barbecued foods such as, pork and chicken barbecue, and isaw (intestine).

Cultural Landmarks[edit]

St. Columban Filipino Catholic Church, the nation's oldest 'Filipino' Catholic Church
Filipino Christian Church and St. Columban Filipino Catholic 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. The Disciples of Christ State Board adopted the work with the Filipinos as its mission and called on Rev. and Mrs. Frank Stipp, former missionaries to the Ilocos provinces, to oversee the work. Through them and the Disciples of Christ State Board, a center was later started when the Disciples secured for the Filipino Christian Fellowship four bungalows complete with apartment facilities and a place of worship located at First Street and Bunker Hill, where the Los Angeles Music Center and Walt Disney Concert Hall stand today. It is believed that these quarters sparked the start of what is known now as Historic Filipinotown. Having been the earliest Christian church established to cater to Filipino Americans, many key organizations in the area germinated from this church, including SIPA and the Filipino American Library.

Purchased in part by funds donated by Philippines First Lady Aurora Quezon as a gift to the Filipinos in Los Angeles, the St. Columban Filipino Church on Beverly Blvd and Loma Drive has authentic church bells from the City of Antipolo, Philippines. The church sits on Crown Hill, one of the five hills that circled early downtown Los Angeles. In the 1890s, Crown Hill was the epicenter of a massive oil boom when Edward L. Doheny and Charles A. Canfield bought a lot at Colton Street and Glendale Boulevard and, in November 1892, they struck oil.

The Filipino American mural in Unidad Park promoting ethnic solidarity and the fight for historical inclusion of the ‘forgotten’ or ‘invisible’ Filipinos in American history.
Plaque that stands in front of the Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana mural in Unidad Park which provides a brief history of the mural.
Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana mural

Prior to the area being designated as Historic Filipinotown, on June 24, 1995,[13] the nation's largest Filipino American mural, Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana (Filipino Americans: A Glorious History, A Golden legacy), was unveiled. The mural promotes ethnic solidarity and the fight for historical inclusion of the ‘forgotten’ or ‘invisible’ Filipinos in American history.[14] For example, the mural includes Larry Itliong who challenged young Filipino American activists to organize themselves to fight for equality in the 1960s and fought alongside Cesar Chavez to lead the Delano Grape Strike groups (Kim, 1999). The mural also includes apl.de.ap, who is currently a Hip Hop performer, rapper, producer, composer, and philanthropist that continues to influence the Filipino American communities.[15]

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 of Art's "Made in California: Art, Image and Identity 1900-200", the Smithsonian Institution's traveling exhibition celebrating 100 years of Filipino migration to the United States called "Singgalot (The Ties That Bind): From Colonial Subjects to Citizens" and the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition "I Want the Wide American Earth" honoring the history and contributions of Asian and Pacific Islanders in the United States.[16][17] The mural was painted by then 22-year-old artist Eliseo Art Silva[18] while a junior attending Otis College of Art and Design.[19] 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."[20]

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).[21] 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.[22] The park is a popular destination for the neighborhood with its Dap-ay[23] 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.[24]

Hi-Fi signage, street medallions (banners) and crosswalks

In 2007, Caltrans and the Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council (HIFINC), with financial support from the community, installed Historic Filipinotwn signage along the US 101 Freeway directing traffic to the area with the Alvarado and Glendale Boulevard exits. The crosswalks in Filipinotown have been decorated with traditional Filipino basket-weaving patterns designed by Edwin Frederizo, who also designed the district's street banners.[25] "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 (Latino, Chinese and African American) and is fused into a very unique style all its own."[26]

In 2007, Caltrans and the Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council (HIFINC), with financial support from the community, installed Historic Filipinotown signage along the US 101 Freeway. The Hi-Fi sign directs traffic to the area with the Alvarado and Glendale Boulevard exits and marks the western gateway into the enclave. In addition, there are street signs that indicate the boundaries of Historic Filipinotown above the normal street signs such as the sign located on the northern border on Temple Street.

One of many Hi-Fi Streetlight Art. This art is titled “Kapwa: Shared Humanity - ALL HANDS IN.” In 2016, Roel Punzalan created the artwork, adding the description that “The Filipino Sun, a symbol of unity, is created by stacking hands in a team huddle, a gesture of unity.”

Hi-Fi Streetlight Art

Along the streets of Historic FilipinoTown are lamp posts adorned with Filipino cultural medallions. These medallions decorate the tops of lamp posts with different symbols. Roel Punzalan is the artist who designed the streetlight art. His vision for the project was to tie the Filipino values of “kapwa,” “lakbay,” and “kapayapaan” to the unique interaction of Filipino culture and Historic FilipinoTown.[27] The streetlight art served both as an educational opportunity to share Filipino culture and history, but also as a way to improve pedestrian safety. Streetlights were placed at 17 different intersections, and about 54 lamp posts were adorned with Punzalan’s art.[28]

The Filipino cultural values can be defined as followed: “kapwa” is “shared humanity or togetherness,” “lakbay” is “journey,” and “kapayapaan” is “peace”.[29] These are the descriptions for each streetlight art:

  • “Kapwa: Shared Humanity - ALL HANDS IN. The Filipino Sun, a symbol of unity, is created by stacking hands in a team huddle, a gesture of unity.”
  • “Lakbay: Journey - BUILD BRIDGES. Two figures holding hands to form a bridge symbolizes both the journey to America and the relationships that are created among the various people after they arrive.”
  • “Kapayapaan: Peace - EMBRACE PEACE. The parol, a star-shaped lantern symbolizing the Filipino Christmas, is created by interlocking figures in a group hug as a reminder of peace throughout the year.”

Punzalan explained that the streetlights highlight the importance of humanity in the Filipino culture, and that the people are essential for the culture to last through the challenges and passage of time.

The front of the Filipino American WWII Veterans Memorial
The back of the WWII Veterans Memorial.
Filipino American WWII Veterans Memorial

In November 2006, Eric Garcetti, then-president of the Los Angeles 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 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.[30] Inscribed in the front of the memorial is the quote, “Bataan was not our last battlefield. We are still fighting for equity,” by Faustino “Peping” Baclig. Baclig, a survivor of the Bataan death march and longtime leader of the movement to gain financial and medical benefits for the veterans comments on the longstanding battle that the Filipino community would face to gain recognition and equality in the country.[31]

Eating with bare hands or "kamayan" with all the rice and meal laid out beautifully on banana leaves is popular in the Philippines and will be introduced as a competition in festivals and a special feature in area restaurants.
Halo-halo is a popular Filipino dessert available in most restaurants within the district.
Crosswalk with Filipino basket weaving patterns marking the western boundary of the district at Temple St. and Hoover.
Street foods from the Philippines have become a big hit and a destination during weekends in Historic Filipinotown at Dollar Hits.
The PWC Jeepney provides a fun and engaging tour of Filipinotown, the Filipino way!

Notable people[edit]

Carlos Bulosan

Carlos Bulosan, novelist, poet, labor organizer. Lived and frequented area with other writers and fellow Filipinos, most notably Travelers Café which was in existence from the 1940s until the 1980s. Originally at Temple and Figueroa at the heart of Little Manila, the café moved to its current site at Temple and Union during the 1960s and is now home to Tribal Café, a popular cultural hub in Los Angeles, which previously provided space for Diggin' Sundays and Sunday Jump.

Royal "Uncle Roy" Morales

Royal “Uncle Roy” Morales, social worker, educator, community organizer and author of Makibaka, was one of the organizers of Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) and Pilipino American Network and Advocacy (PANA). He was a leading figure in the field of social work, most notably in the Asian Pacific American community.

Joel Jacinto

Joel Jacinto is an active community member and leader of the Filipino community in Los Angeles. Jacinto serves as executive director of Search To Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) and on the Los Angeles Board of Public Works. By accessing his community networks and advocating for community needs, Jacinto played an active role in the designation of Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles, as well as some of the efforts to promote Filipino culture within city architecture, i.e. Filipino street light art. Jacinto’s involvement merited him several awards, such as the Lifetime/Community Achievement by the Greenlining Institute, “a public policy, research, and advocacy non-profit organization.[32] Jacinto was also appointed to the Affordable Housing Commission by Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014.

Jacinto also has current efforts to support and advocate for the Filipino community in the arts and culture field. He is a co-founder of Kayamanan Ng Lahi, a Filipino traditional and folk arts organization, as well as a founding member of the Alliance for California Traditional Artists (ACTA), an organization that provides resources for traditional and folk artists that are committed to preserving both the health and the longevity of the cultural landscape in California.


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

Samahang Pilipino Advancing Community Empowerment (SPACE)

Samahang Pilipino Advancing Community Empowerment (SPACE) is an access project created in 2000 by Samahang Pilipino at UCLA, the official student organization for the Pilipino and Pilipino American communities at UCLA. SPACE addresses and alleviate the barriers to higher education for at-risk, historically underrepresented, underserved high school and community college students in the Los Angeles area. Through peer tutoring, peer advising. student workshops, parent workshops, and field trips, SPACE promotes “academic success, personal well-being, community engagement, and the formulation of solid post-secondary plans”.[33]

SPACE was partnered with Belmont High School until 2017. Belmont High School is located in Historic Filipinotown, next to downtown Los Angeles. College students from SPACE engaged with high school students working to holistically empower them, providing different developments that range in topic from academics, politics, intergenerational dialogue and culture. SPACE recognizes the need to supplement academic education with cultural education in order to contextualize the student experience and to empower them.

The group (SPACE) hosted Philipin* Youth Empowerment Day, an event that featured workshops focused on Filipino-American history, identity and representation in the media. [34]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Khouri, Andrew (December 3, 2014) "Northern edge of Westlake finally getting developers' attention" Los Angeles Times
  2. ^ a b Montoya, Carina. Los Angeles' Historic Filipinotown. Arcadia Publishing. Retrieved 2014-08-18.
  3. ^ Villanueva, G. (2015) Filipinos for Garcetti: Ethnic political organizing in Los Angeles and Asian American civic engagement in cities. Asian American Policy Review, 26, 10-19. * Retrieved February 12, 2018, from https://ecommons.luc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1021&context=communication_facpubs
  4. ^ Montoya, C.M. (2009). Images of America: Los Angeles’s Historic Filipinotown. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. Retrieved March 01, 2018, from https://books.google.com/books?id=dQzdqdB3AIsC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
  5. ^ "Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics". Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  6. ^ "2016 5-Year American Community Survey". Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  7. ^ "SIPA".
  8. ^ "FASGI".
  9. ^ Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council website
  10. ^ "Excellence In Filipino Cuisine". Kapistahan Grill. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  11. ^ Judson, Kirsten (May 9, 2016). "Dollar Hits Food Truck Brings The Heat". Taste Talks. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  12. ^ Amit, Tina. "Historic Filipinotown - Things to Do". www.visitasianla.org. Retrieved 2018-03-15.
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  29. ^ Mardo, P. (2017, January 24). Historic Filipinotown's new lights illuminate L.A.'s vibrant Filipino community. LA Weekly. Retrieved March 01, 2018, from http://www.laweekly.com/news/historic-filipinotowns-new-lights-illuminate-las-vibrant-f Ilipino-community-7468250.
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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