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Businesses back FPAC, pledge support anew for Filipino arts & culture

By Mico Letargo

LOS ANGELES – FilAm Arts, a SoCal-based nonprofit that promotes the arts and cultural heritage of Filipinos, recently announced in a statement that a growing number of local and corporate sponsors and vendors are pledging support for the Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture (FPAC).

FPAC, the flagship project of FilAm Arts, is an annual festival that features traditional and contemporary Filipino food, music, performances, arts, and crafts. It was established in 1990 as part of the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department’s Festivals Program, a program that elevates the diversity and multiculturalism in LA. FPAC is now the largest and longest-running Filipino cultural celebration in SoCal.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have the support of numerous businesses and organizations for this year’s FPAC,” said Tina Salonga-Bulchand, Fil-Am Arts’ interim executive director.

Salonga said that FPAC’s sponsors include the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, California Council for Humanities, LA County Arts Commission, City Council District 13 CM Mitch O’Farrell, LA Council District 14 CM Jose Huizar, LA Council District 15 CM Joe Buscaino, Toyota, McDonald’s, and Asian Journal. She went on to add that there are also a number of parties who have expressed their interest in backing FPAC.

Building brands

While corporate sponsors like Toyota and McDonald’s see FPAC as an opportunity to further strengthen their engagement with their Filipino customers, startup sponsors see it as a platform to establish their brand identity through cultural knowledge and appreciation.

One such enterprise is Herbalaria, a startup that offers herbal wellness products like balms, oils, and body polish ointments. Herbalaria founder and owner Lyn Pacificar believes that their products echo the values of FPAC – honoring and expressing Filipino heritage.

“It is crucial for our brand to be a part of this project because of the Filipino cultural aspect, which is in alignment with Herbalaria's vision of cultural preservation,” Pacificar said in a statement.

She said that through FPAC “we can share cultural knowledge and spark interest in people to find out more about their own heritage.”

Pacificar traces her family roots to a long and proud line of healers and mystics from the Philippines. She inherited from her family their ancient healing practices, and infused them into the modern-day products of Herbalaria.

Herbalaria is also part of FPAC’s Buy Pinoy Program, which helps Filipino entrepreneurs reach out to a broader market. Pacificar said that since they got involved with FilAm Arts and FPAC, their customer base has become more responsive and engaged.

Long-time vendor and supporter

FPAC also enlisted the support of various vendors. Among them is Neri’s Restaurant, a widely-popular mom-and-pop eatery that offers traditional home cooked Filipino dishes. Neri’s is famous among LA Fil-Ams because of their authentic take on classic Pinoy recipes.

Tirzah Jazelle Seneres, granddaughter of owner Neri Seneres, said that it is important for their brand to maintain a strong relationship with the Filipino community because it is slowly transiting to Filipino American Fusion. 

“Neri's wants to keep the authenticity of Filipino cuisine mixed with a hint of American fusion,” the younger Seneres said.

According to FilAm Arts, Neri’s is one of – if not, the – longest tenured vendor for FPAC, coming up to 25 years this year. And each year, they are one of the most sought-after booths in the festival. In 2016, for example, Neri’s had restock their supplies during the festival because they ran out of food in the middle of the day.

This year, festival-goers should watch out for Neri’s Lechon Kawali Plate, which is touted by LA Magazine as one of the best-tasting lechon kawali recipes in town.

Seneres said that being involved with FPAC definitely played a role in Neri’s success because of the tremendous exposure they receive during the festival.

“Being a part of an organization that has a positive impact is something worth continuing to grow with,” Seneres added.

FPAC is a free event. No admission fee is needed for entry.  It will be held on October 14, 2017, Sunday, at Echo Park Lake in Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles. For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/FPAC2017 or call (213) 949-4508.  For sponsorship and vendor opportunities, please email info@filamarts.org.

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ABOUT FIL-AM ARTS:

Embracing the value of KAPWA (shared being), the Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts and Culture’s mission is to facilitate community synergy and transformation by advancing the arts and diverse cultural heritage of Filipinos through arts services, presentation, and education. FilAm ARTS believes in the power of the arts to overcome language barriers and build community through cultural diversity.