LA's Historic Filipinotown aims to draw tourists

Posted at 08/08/2012 12:32 PM

LOS ANGELES - Filipinos from all over Southern California came together for a day-long festival to celebrate the 10th year of the designation of Historic Filipinotown.

Hundreds of people participated in the annual 5K run, including Filipinos and other nationalities such as overall winner Guatemalan Bartolome Seque.

"I think I’m going to do this yearly," Seque said.

Parents like Margaret Dabatos came to the festival to teach her children a thing or two about Filipino culture.

"I came here for the kids, to expose them to Filipino culture and this is a good way of doing it plus we are doing it as a family in an active sort of way," she said.

"This is a good way to start learning about your neighborhood, your community. You start seeing businesses that you never know existed but as you are running down the street because it’s open to the public, you’ll actually notice all these businesses that you never notice before," participant Jorge Mendoza said.

In addition to its mission to make Historic Filipinotown a tourist destination in the city of Los Angeles, the neighborhood council and festival organizers added a new cause to this yearly event:

“This is the first start of the run for Pedro Calungsod, our first Filipino-American saint, youth saint,” said Cecil Ramos, president of the Neighborhood Council.

Blessed Calungsod, a Cebuano martyred in 1672 in Guam at the age of 17, is scheduled to be canonized Saint on October 21.

Ramos added that this is just one of the global marathons slated as part of the countdown to Blessed Calungsod’s canonization.

Other highlights of the event include the revival of the hour-long bus tour of the area and the unveiling of the winning design for the Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council Gateway – a cultural landmark due to be completed in a couple of years.