SAN DIEGO – The Philippine Cultural Arts Festival returned to Balboa Park Sunday after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. The event brought hundreds of people to the park to enjoy traditional food, song, art, dance, and music.
This year, the event had extended hours for one-day, instead of its usual two-day festival.
The SAMAHAN Filipino American Performance Arts and Education Center hosted the event and FOX 5’s own Maria Arcega-Dunn was one of the emcees for the event.
“It’s really a source of pride for me to be out here and be able to represent my community, my culture, and women in general,” Arcega-Dunn said.
The night before, Arcega-Dunn was honored with an award for being a trailblazer as the first Filipino-American anchor in San Diego County.
“It’s an important role for me to have because there are other people who have come behind me or are coming up and they are also Filipino-American and we bring something unique to whatever it is that we do,” said the FOX 5 anchor.
According to the latest data from the U.S. Census, San Diego is home to more than 200,000 Filipino-Americans, one of the largest populations in the nation.
Every region and island in the Philippines was represented Sunday.
“We are here to help our Filipino artists and our Filipino community really kind of put out their art out in the community.” Reina Chiong, Board President of the SAMAHAN Filipino American Performing Arts & Education Center said. “We bring all the arts, not just dance and music, we have artists as well, musicians, all kinds of just Filipino artists in one place.”
“Seeing all of the dancing, the painting, getting to see how talented the people in my culture are,” Rachel Stratton said, talking about her favorite part of the festival.
“We are here in San Diego, there’s so many of us with small businesses we have so much culture with singing, and dancing,” Mar Velicaria, the owner of small business, Marharlika, a modern Philippine jewelry company, said.
This year’s event had the most vendors than ever before.
“When it comes to Philippine people, we are very prideful and we have great significance and love for our people and our culture, and so I wanted to make this brand to design products that showcase our culture and our heritage,” said Chiong.