Ensaymada Project: On #butterbuns and FPAC25

At Smorgasburg Los Angeles, the staple foodie festival in Southern California, the Ensaymada Project’s big, yellow logo banner stands towers above all the other tents - but that’s not why they’re hard to ignore. The business has caught the attention of numerous media outlets, from the Los Angeles Times to OC Weekly, and for good reason: their take on the traditional Filipino ensaymada stays true to the classic Filipino dessert while putting a fresh spin on it.

FPAC had the opportunity to talk with Chari, founder of the Ensaymada Project, about the business’s origins, the meaning behind #butterbuns, and why EP is excited for #FPAC25.

How did you come up with the idea of the Ensaymada Project?

We usually know that it's just cheese, and you want something homemade because Ensaymadas are always homemade. So we created it. And the reason why it’s called the Ensaymada Project is because it’s always evolving - there’s always something new. It’s ongoing.

Was ensaymada something you made often before you started EP?

It’s something we made every Christmas. It’s a very tedious task, not something I can make everyday and it was a lot of preparations and I really don’t know how it became a staple everyday - it’s just a lot of work, year round.

How do you come up with all the flavors?

You wanna keep it as a traditional as possible. You don’t wanna veer away too much. I always say, it’s still 80% Ensaymada. When you bite into it, you know the distinct taste of the yeast - but then there’s a bit of a twist to it, a light flavor. I say 80% because it’s 20% different and it’s not overpowering or too sweet. [People] always buy a dozen, and if you turn them off with something too sweet, they’ll never move by the dozen. But they do move by the dozens.

You’ve been getting a lot of media attention! How does it feel?

It’s so surreal. I never thought it would go this big - I was always hidden in the house, and people would come find me. I always wonder, How do you find me? I know it’s social media now. The power of tagging and hashtags.

So is the official hashtag, #butterbuns?

Actually, it started off [like that]. It’s very hard to introduce the word "ensaymada” so we used “butter bun" first. And... people got used to it, because it’s self-explanatory: What is an Ensaymada? It’s a butter bun! And then we gradually moved back to the original [word "ensaymada"].

What are you excited about for FPAC?

I’ve never been there! And you know, I wanna see the faces and reactions of people when they see that there’s something more than the cheese ensaymada. And I’m going to create some surprises - introduce new flavors - and I hope you guys are just as welcoming!

Lineup announced | FPAC24


24th Annual Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture Comes to El Pueblo De Los Angeles Historical Monument.

Hip Hop Artist Odessa Kane returns to LA with special performance at the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture. FPAC welcomes TFC artists for exclusive showcase at the festival.

November 2, 2015 - Los Angeles FilAm ARTS announced their lineup for the upcoming 24th Annual Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture (FPAC). FPAC will return to downtown Los Angeles, at the beautiful El Pueblo De Los Angeles Historical Monument, on Saturday November 7, 2015 (10am-6pm). The festival, the City of Los Angeles' Filipino American Event, is the longest-running Filipino cultural celebration in Southern California. Audiences can expect to enjoy traditional and contemporary Filipino food, music, dance, crafts and culture.

This year’s theme for the City of Los Angeles' Filipino American Event is “Balik Tanaw, Pananaw Bukas” a Tagalog phrase meaning “Looking Back, Looking Forward.”  While rooted in the native tongue of the motherland, this year’s theme celebrates the rich experiences of  being Filipino American.

“Every year, for the past 23 years, FPAC has  provided an opportunity for our community to creatively honor and celebrate our culture with a view toward  a grateful understanding of our Filipino American history” states Winston Emano, FilAm Arts Board Member. “This is the spirit that keeps FPAC going. But, beyond that, it's a big Filipino party for us and for all our Southern California neighbors..”

The Annual Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture (FPAC) was first conceptualized in 1990 as part of the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department’s Festivals Program, an arts program designed to address the multicultural constituency of the city. Organized by about 100 artists and community leaders, the first FPAC took place at Los Angeles City College on Mother’s Day, May 14, 1992, where 3,000 participants braved the aftermath of the L.A. riots that occurred the week before. Since then, FPAC has only grown stronger and bigger, moving to Cabrillo Beach in 1994, then to Pt. Fermin Park in 2001. This year FPAC will take place at the official birthplace of the City of Los Angeles where Filipino Americans can trace their heritage in the city to its founding.

“Many may not know that there were originally 12 pobladores enlisted to settle and establish El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Ángeles de Porciúncula” adds Emano. “That 12th poblador was a gunsmith from Manila named, Antonio Miranda Rodriguez. FilAm ARTS honored his contribution in an art exhibit that was hosted here at El Pueblo. We’re happy to return and bring his story to our festival audience.”

FPAC will also highlight the groundbreaking work of Filipino American Larry Itliong, a leader in United Farm Workers movement and labor organizer in the 1960’s. This year festival will present Larry Itliong an award of excellence; the Itliong family is expected to attend and receive the award on his behalf.

“Larry Itliong’s work with Cesar Chavez represents a proud moment of social justice for all Californians and inspiration for artists, especially those from its two larger communities.” states Emano. “We hope, in our way, to continue the celebration from last month's official Larry Itliong Day recognition by the state.”

Festival patrons can expect a diverse lineup of talented musicians, vocalists, dancers, visual artists and more. In headlining position, FPAC will host an exclusive performance from TFC artists: Tateng Katindig (pianist), Joan Almedilla (vocalist), and Matthew John Ignacio (cellist). FPAC will also welcome headliner Odessa Kane. A celebrated Hip Hop MC, Odessa Kane will bring his unique Filipino-Mexican-American perspective to FPAC, for a must-see performance at the fest.

Additional FPAC performing artists include: 7th LTR; Bibak; Gingee; Honor Flow Productions; Karen Joyce Herrera; Kayamanan Ng Lahi; Louise Marie Cornillez. Malaya Filipino American Dance Arts; Martial Arts w Nick Papadakis; Morgan Ashley; Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble; Philippine Choral Singers; Prime Note Ensemble; Rondalla Club of Los Angeles; Rocksteady; SIPA Dance Crew and Tinig Choral

FPAC is a free event, no admission is needed for entry. FPAC is sponsored in part by the: National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, California Council for Humanities, LA County Arts Commission, City of LA Department of Cultural Affairs, LA City Council District 14 Huizar, Toyota, Western Union, AARP, LA-18, The Filipino Channel / ABS-CBN (and others). For more information, please visit www.filamarts.org or call  213-380-3722.



  • TFC Artists  (Tateng Katindig, jazz pianist; Joan Almedilla, theater actor from Miss Saigon and Les Miserables; Matthew John Ignacio, cellist)

  • Odessa Kane (Beatrock Music)


  • 7th LTR

  • Bibak

  • Gingee

  • Honor Flow Productions

  • Karen Joyce Herrera

  • Kayamanan Ng Lahi

  • Louise Marie Cornillez

  • Malaya Filipino American Dance Arts

  • Martial Arts w Nick Papadakis

  • Morgan Ashley

  • Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble

  • Philippine Choral Singers

  • Prime Note Ensemble

  • Rondalla Club of Los Angeles

  • Rocksteady

  • SIPA Dance Crew

  • Tinig Choral



Embracing the value of KAPWA (shared being), the Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts and Culture’s (also known as FilAm ARTS) mission is to facilitate community synergy and transformation by advancing the arts and diverse cultural heritage of Filipinos through arts services, presentation, and education.




#FPAC24 #FPAC2015