The Saysay Project: The Arrival of the 12th Poblador


Contact: Jilly Canizares

(213)380 3722



Groundbreaking Filipino American Art Exhibit “The Arrival of the 12th Poblador” at the El Pueblo De Los Angeles Historical Monument - Closes May 25th

by Allyson Escobar


Los Angeles, CA -- FilAm ARTS, the producers of the Annual Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture (taking place at Grand Park this Fall 2014), together with the El Pueblo De Los Angeles Historical Monument co-present “The Arrival of the 12th Poblador,” a Filipino American art exhibit at the historic Pico House on 424 N. Main Street, downtown Los Angeles, May 11 - 25, 2014.  The exhibit is FREE and open to the public.

Celebrating the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Heritage Month, the exhibit showcases art and historical photographs depicting the eventual ‘arrival’ of Filipino Americans and their contributions to California culture; the intersection of Mexican and Filipino narratives through the Galleon Trade starting in the 16th Century; and the Farm Workers movement in the 20th Century. 

Mixed media art piece by Salvador Floriano

Mixed media art piece by Salvador Floriano

“The Arrival of the 12th Poblador is the FIRST Filipino American exhibit at this historic place,” said Lisa Sarno, Assistant General Manager of El Pueblo De Los Angeles Historical Monument. Located in the birthplace of Los Angeles, the Pico House was converted from the original quarters of Pío Pico, the last governor of California under Mexican rule, to the first luxury hotel in Los Angeles back in the mid-1800s.


The exhibit also brings to light the history of Filipinos in California with the story the Antonio Miranda Rodriguez, the first documented Filipino settler in California (according to the 1783 census).  The founding of Los Angeles is typically credited to eleven pobladores (settler families). But according to historical accounts, Governor Felipe de Neve of New Spain originally enlisted 12 pobladores to settle in and establish El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Ángeles de Porciúncula. One of original 12 pobladores was Antonio Miranda Rodriguez, a gunsmith from Manila, Philippines, who arrived in Mexico through the Galleon Trade. While en route to their new home in 1781, his 11-year-old daughter fell ill with smallpox and Rodriguez had to stay behind in Loreto, Baja California, when the rest of the expedition continued northward to found Los Angeles.  After his daughter passed away, he later made his way to Santa Barbara and distinguished himself as a soldado de cuero (soldier of leather) at the Santa Barbara presidio that provided military support for Los Angeles.

“Although Rodriguez was not physically present at the official founding of the city, Filipinos have made a significant contribution to the cultural fabric of Los Angeles. In a sense, this exhibit honors his spirit as one of the settlers of this land,” comments FilAm ARTS executive director Jilly Canizares. 


Artwork by Papo De Asis (December 16, 1949 - January 8, 2005)

Artwork by Papo De Asis (December 16, 1949 - January 8, 2005)

Also featured in the exhibit are art by social realist painters that portray the shared experiences and histories between Latinos and Filipinos from colonization and Catholicism.  In response to the inaccuracies in the recent Cesar Chavez movie, there are historical photographs that show the significant role of Filipinos in the California farmworker labor movements of the 1960’s and 70’s led prominently by Larry Itliong. “The United Farmworkers Movement was a momentous multiracial alliance in history when Filipinos and Mexicans first united to rally against unfair labor practices,” says one of the panel of curators, Professor Florante Peter Ibanez of Loyola Law School and Loyola Marymount University.


Featured artists include: Rey Zipagan, Papo De Asis, Salvador Floriano, Faustino Caigoy, Renato Orara, Mark Justiniani, Joy Mallari, Eliseo Art Silva, Alfie Numeric, Bernadette Martinez, Bodeck Luna Hernandez, Melodie Genova, Norman de los Santos, Freyen Santiago, Susan Chuka Chesney, Pia Banez, Cristina Golondrina Rose, Tree (Krystal Herrera), plus a digital mural from SPARC – the Social & Public Art Resource Center conducted by Judy F. Baca. 

The Arrival of the 12th Poblador exhibit is part of The Saysay Project, FilAm ARTS’ newest initiative, which aims to increase the visibility of Filipino Americans by documenting the community’s stories and narratives to be preserved for future generations. The Saysay Project not only focuses on histories but also explores contemporary stories of womanhood, cultural identity, human rights, looking at this central theme of the power of people—a people who continue to struggle, to work, and to have hope for the future -- valuing the story of the Filipino American experience. “My pieces are a personal documentation of my own history, a visual novel of my life,” says young Filipino American artist Alfie Numeric Ebojo.

“With the high influx of Filipino migration to the U.S., it is empowering to remind ourselves and educate our fast-growing Filipino American community of the long history of our people in this country, concludes Canizares. “In a place as diverse as America, knowing the narratives of our people – our history, culture, and stories, is crucial in the formation of identity for our youth today.”

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     12th Poblador participating artists (L-R) Rey Zipagan, Melodie Genova, Bernadette Martinez, Krystal "Tree" Herrera, Pia Banez, Alfie Numeric Ebojo, Cristina Golondrina Rose, Salvador Floriano, (FPAC co-founder Norma R Austin), Faustino Caigoy, Bodeck Luna Hernandez (seated)

12th Poblador participating artists (L-R) Rey Zipagan, Melodie Genova, Bernadette Martinez, Krystal "Tree" Herrera, Pia Banez, Alfie Numeric Ebojo, Cristina Golondrina Rose, Salvador Floriano, (FPAC co-founder Norma R Austin), Faustino Caigoy, Bodeck Luna Hernandez (seated)

Embracing the value of KAPWA (shared being), the mission of FilAm ARTS - the Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts and Culture, a non-profit organization, 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’ programs include: the 23rd Annual Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture (FPAC) @ Grand Park, Eskuwela Kultura, and the Pilipino Artists Network, and The Saysay Project.  For more information: