about the festival
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.
May 14, 1992 - Organized by about a hundred artists and community leaders and over fifty organizations, FPAC was first staged at Los Angeles Community College (LACC) on Mother’s Day, a week after the L.A. Riots.
Despite the aftermath of the riots, FPAC, a comprehensive multi-disciplinary presentation of Filipino American arts and culture, showcased traditional and contemporary music, dance, literary arts, film, and arts education, attracting around 3,000 participants.
The distinctive festival logo of a warrior mother with child, incorporating culturally specific motifs, was created by award-winning Filipino American visual artist Faustino Caigoy.
May 1993: The Filipino American visual art exhibit Ugat Pilipino (Filipino Roots) at the Los Angeles City Hall stirred controversy when participating artists chose to take their art down rather than have it censored. Widespread media attention forced officials to reinstate the artwork. This sparked a series of community dialogues on issues of censorship versus freedom of speech, and the marking the struggle of a minority community that could no longer afford to be invisible.
May 1993: A historic and one-of-a-kind tribute to Grandmasters of Filipino Martial Arts was presented at Los Angeles City Hall - a simple ceremony of recognition becomes a three-hour display of highly-skilled martial arts.
June 19, 1993: The 2nd annual FPAC took place at LACC with increased attendance.
The production of the festival was ceded over to community organizers by the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Dept.
May 7, 1994: U.S. premiere concert of famed Filipino folk / alternative artist Joey Ayala at Ang Bagong Lumad took place at the Los Angeles Theatre Center.
June 4, 1994: FPAC hosted the dialogue “Reclaiming a Culture: Filipino Values Understood Through the Arts” with Dr. Ricardo Trimillos at Loyola Marymount University. The talk examined traditions such as rondalla, panunuluyan, komedya, and kulintangan.
August 1994: FPAC held several programs at the Carson Civic Center in Carson, CA, including a visual art exhibit and cultural workshops in kali (Filipino martial arts) Batik-making, traditional dance, and gong music.
September 17-18, 1994: Bowing to community support and demand, the 3rd annual FPAC evolved from a single day event to a season of programming that concluded in a two-day festival weekend at its new home on Cabrillo Beach, San Pedro, with new programs such as the interactive Rice Planting, and Bigkasan literary program.
April - June, 1995: FPAC presented “Traditional Philippine Folk Dance & Music Apprenticeship Workshop” on Ifugao music and dance, Pangasinan dance and rondalla.
September 9 - 10, 1995: The 4th annual FPAC took place in Cabrillo Beach with an estimated number of 10,000 attendees.
Headlining FPAC were: Billboard’s No. 1 dance music artist, Jocelyn Enriquez, Manila’s award-winning pop performer Jam Morales, Hawaiian saxophonist Michael Paulo, and Jazz musician Boy Katindig.
September - October, 1995: The visual art exhibit of contemporary Filipino American artists “Tastes Like Chicken” was presented at the University Art Gallery in California State Dominguez Hills.
FPAC presented a sold-out premiere concert at the Barnsdall Gallery Art Park by the University of the Philippines’ Kasarinlan ensemble.
June 28, 1996: FPAC became part of the acclaimed Summer Nights at the Ford series with the premiere of La Revolucion Filipina by the world-renowned Ballet Philippines at the Ford Amphitheatre.
September 14-15, 1996: The 5th annual FPAC was held at Cabrillo Beach with special programs: Pinoyvisions film screenings and Dula / Tula literary program.
FPAC Headliners included: Miss Saigon Broadway artist Jennifer Paz, Philippine chanteuse Lirio Vital, and saxophonist Dean James.
October 1996: FPAC presented Tuklas Sining (Discovering Our Arts) Cultural Workshop Series and Introduction to Rondalla.
May 4, and May 18, 1997: FPAC presented Puentes Culturales: La Rondalla Filipina / Mexicana at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument.
August 1, 1997: “Tungo sa Liwanag” Celebration of Philippine Culture, an original piece by Rico Obusan, featuring BIBAK Dance Ensemble, Kayamanan ng Lahi and Kultura Philippine Folk Arts as part of Summer Nights at the Ford.
September 13-14, 1997: Attendance continued to increase at the 6th annual FPAC in Cabrillo Beach, with headliners: Billboard-charting musical groups Pinay, Moonpools & Caterpillars, Premier, and jazz saxophonist Dean James.
FPAC and Visual Communications co-presented a special edition of the film program, Pinoy Visions: Magnificent Obsessions, with video works by Mark Arbitrario and Oliver Tan.
June 13, 1998: FPAC produced “Landas ng Kalayaan (The Road to Freedom)” at the Philippine Independence Day Celebration in West Covina, CA.
July 11, 1998: The FPAC season expanded to include the Summer Nights at the Ford for the third year with the Celebration of Philippine Jazz, starring legendary blues singer Sugar Pie De Santo and saxophonist Michael Paulo, along with his father, pianist Rene Paulo.
July 25, 1998: Puentes Culturales: Cultural Bridges - Folk Music and Dance of Philippines and Mexico drew critical and civic raves for its intercultural presentation at the California Plaza.
August 19, 1998 - January 3, 1999: “Confrontations, Crossings, and Convergence: Photographs of the Philippines & the United States” was held at the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History.
August 30, 1998: Kasayahan (Fun): Family Day took place at the L.A. County Museum of Art (LACMA).
September 11, 1998: “Ancient Rhythms: Gong Music of the Philippines” was held at the California Plaza.
September 12-13, 1998: The 7th annual FPAC was held in Cabrillo Beach with over 20,000 attendees.
Geffen recording group Kai, comedian Rex Navarrete, all female group Pinay, and pop band Julie Plug made their FPAC debuts.
September 10, 1999: The all-female spoken word program “PINAYSista’s SPEAK!” curated by Irene Soriano.
September 18-19, 1999: The 8th annual FPAC took place at Cabrillo Beach.
The first FPAC Balagtasan Poetry Slam premiered with huge success.
Philippine pop artist Billy Crawford, theater improv group Tongue in a Mood, Filipino reggae band Native Elements, Classified Records recording artists Drop ‘N Harmony, and Filipino American actor Paulo Montalban of Cinderella made FPAC debuts.
To herald in the 21st century, FPAC published the Kaugnay (Interconnected) 12-month print calendar with a collection of images that represent the backbone of Filipino American heritage.
July 29, 2000: FilAm ARTS presented the music and dance ensemble KONTRA-GAPI (Kontemporaryong Gamelan Pilipino) with BEKA International.
August 2000: After a two-year strategic planning process, the festival became a fully operational 501(c)(3) organization called the Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts & Culture (FilAm ARTS).
August 13, 2000: FilAm ARTS produced the Filipino American Voters Welcome Reception honoring the delegates to the Democratic National Convention.
September 9-10, 2000: The 9th annual FPAC took place in Cabrillo Beach. Seniors Village made its premiere at FPAC, hosting the Filipino Vegetable Competition.
The Los Angeles Times featured the inaugural FPAC Vegetable Competition with the news article, “What’s Upo in Los Angeles?”
Pinoyvisions film fest, expanded to include shop talk and screenings at the Lucas Screening Room at the University of Southern California. Director Raymond Red, fresh from Cannes, screened his Palme d’Or award-winning short Anino.
August 24, 2000: The official launch of the 501(c)(3) organization called the Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts & Culture (FilAm ARTS) after a two-year strategic planning process by festival organizers and stakeholders.