I need to keep reminding myself to post my events recaps or upcoming events more often. If you follow me on social media like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, you know that I’m constantly providing updates about anything I’m a part of or hosting. Apologies for falling behind and not posting here on my blog but this girl has been BUSY!
Here is a brief recap of some of the events I was part of this month but didn’t post about (there are literally too many events to post now).
I cohosted the Philippine American Foundation for Charities 2019 PInoy Graduation Showcase at the University of Maryland - College Park with my good friend, Brian Marana. Graduation showcases are a big thing in the Filipino community and around the country, different cities will host their own showcase. It’s a way to honor all of the year’s graduating middle schoolers, high schoolers, undergraduates, and grad school students. At our showcase, we honored graduates from DC, Baltimore and Anne Arundel County.
In early May, my family and I participated in Embassy Day at the Philippine Embassy in D.C. along with Mabuhay Cultural School, where my kids take Filipino language and dance lessons every Saturday. The event was a display of traditional Filipino folk dancing, food, music, martial arts, and some of the clothing of our indigenous tribes.
The Katipunan Filipino Cultural School is still going strong! We will be celebrating our three year anniversary this summer (can you believe that??). A few weeks ago, we held our quarterly school session, where we demonstrated how to roll lumpia, how to cook chicken adobo, and how to make Filipino fruit salad. Afterwards, we had an Eskrima demo and lesson from the folks at Kick Connection.
Here are all the events I have coming up in June…
On June 1st, I will be speaking at the Pilipino Americans for Unity in Progress (UniPro) Summit in NYC, which celebrates ten years of UniPro history, community, and progress. The summit, which is a multinational forum for Pilipino Young Professionals, Students, and Youth, is an annual conference to congregate Pilipino community leaders. The purpose is to provide a safe space for honest dialogue among young Pilipinos from throughout the world. I’ll be speaking on the Storytelling Panel along with Kristian Kabuay and Ricky Agustin.
On June 2nd, my family and I will be marching with Malaya Movement at the Philippine Independence Day Parade in NYC. The Philippine Independence Day Parade takes place annually along Madison Avenue in NYC. Its main purpose is to create awareness of Philippine culture and to raise funds for charity projects in the Philippines and the U.S.
Philippine Independence Day is widely celebrated among Filipinos in the U.S. and is now a major event for many in our community to rekindle their roots and heritage. The parade in New York City attracts over 100,000 people.
Because Malaya means “free,” our Reyna ng Kalayaan will carry the Philippine Independence Day Parade’s theme and showcase the Philippines’ proud history and future of resisting colonization and defending our people’s freedom.
This is the BIG EVENT. This is the very first Aesthetic Distance live event — the launch of my book club, Decolonize Your Bookshelves! This series of events will focus on Asian American writers who tell stories of struggle and triumph, and explore themes of civil unrest, assimilation, racism, and profound alienation. Because a disproportionate number East Asian writers are represented in the American mainstream compared with other Asians, the club will delve into the works of South and Southeast Asian authors, especially Filipino authors. My goal: thought-provoking discourse that reveal the absolute necessity of these works to the American collective identity.
The initiative will officially launch on June 6th at the Maryland State Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped (415 Park Ave, Baltimore, MD 21201). The first book we will discuss is Insurrecto by Gina Apostol, who is the 2013 PEN/Open Book Award winner and whose works have been reviewed by The New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Foreign Policy and others. She is a fellow convener for the Malaya Movement along with me! Gina will be the guest of honor at the launch and in conversation with me about her novel and modern-day American colonialism in the Philippines. This event is in partnership with the Enoch Pratt Library. Greedy Reads will also be on hand to sell copies of the novel, which you can get signed by Gina after her talk.
Literature is a very powerful form of activism. It is an empathy machine but it requires an intersection of a multitude of different forms of activism to create real change. Which is why this event is also the official launch of Malaya Movement Baltimore!
On June 8th, it’s the annual Katipunan Filipino Festival! Since it’s our 50th anniversary, this is going to be an extra special year. We have over 25 food vendors, all selling Filipino food and crowd favorites like halo-halo. We also have 2 stages — an outdoor stage for our DJs and rock bands and an indoor stage for cultural performances, our annual Santacruzan, and the Filipino martial arts demo. We also have a beer garden which will be serving up Filipino beer like San Miguel, Red Horse and Gold Eagle and a fully staffed kids zone with moonbounces, games, arts and crafts, and prizes.
I’m curating the art exhibit at the festival. The title of the exhibit is Our Immigrant Voices and each piece will tell the story of its creator, a Filipino immigrant. One artist is a spoken word artist and she’ll be performing a few pieces that are based on her journey here to the states. Another is a series of photographs about the process of naturalization. Another artist is a painter who came here to the states back in the 1950s at the end of the Jim Crow era in the South, when the bathrooms were labeled for blacks and whites and she didn’t know which bathroom to use. The exhibit is part of a project called Our Immigrant Voices: Locating Filipino Migrants in Maryland, which is directed by Dr. Maryanne Alabanza-Akers and funded by a grant through Maryland Humanities.
On June 22nd, Philippine American Foundation for Charities, along with one of my FAVORITE Filipino restaurants, Kaliwa DC, are putting on the first D.C. Filipino Food Festival! This event will be held at the District Pier at the Wharf in Southwest D.C. There will be Filipino cultural performances, martial arts demos, music, giveaways, prizes, and tons of activities for kids.
And to top off June, it doesn’t get any more Pinoy Pride than this — RUBY IBARRA y’all. Island Womxn Rise! Ruby Ibarra will be performing at this year’s Smithsonian Folk Life Festival in D.C. This year the festival’s theme is celebrating the power of music to entertain, educate, inspire, preserve history, strengthen identity, and build community.
The Smithsonian Folk Life Festival is produced annually by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and it takes place on the National Mall. The Festival has featured participants from all fifty states and more than one hundred countries.
And…yours truly will be cohosting Ruby’s welcome party on Friday, June 28th!!! This event is brought to you by the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) and Philippine American Foundation for Charities (PAFC), who I have been working with a lot lately!
*These are just the events that I’m involved in. There are many, many more Filipino events in the Baltimore/DC area. There are Filipino chef pop-ups, kamayan feasts (kamayan means “eating with your hands,” which is the traditional way that Filipinos eat their food), band performances, cultural performances, film festivals, cultural festivals, music festivals, summits and conferences (Filipinos LOVE organizations and holding conferences), and educational events like seminars, lectures, discussion groups, panels, and cultural schools.
We are in an amazing era for Filipino culture now that so many Filipino Americans are coming of age and hungry to reconnect with their heritage and ancestral homeland. Just because I’m not directly involved in an event doesn’t mean I won’t be attending. If you see me around this summer, please come say hi!!