Awards Gala opens up five weekends devoted to highlighting various aspects of the FilAm community in the SouthBay LA Area and beyond

FilAm Chamber of Commerce kicks off month-long FilAm History Month festivities in the SouthBay LA Area

Originally proclaimed in Carson, CA back in 2009, this is now the third year in a row that the month-long celebration of Filipino American History Month (FAHM) has been spearheaded by the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce – SouthBay Los Angeles Area (FACC-SLAA). FAHM is commemorated on the month of October due to the fact that it was when the first Filipinos arrived in the continental United States during the Spanish Galleon Trade era centuries ago. Luzones Indios, aboard the Manila Galleon Nuestra Senora de Esperanza commanded by Pedro de Unamono, first landed at Central California’s Morro Bay on October 18, 1587.   

This year’s festivities in the SouthBay LA Area got off to a solid start with the Awards Gala that was held at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel on Saturday, September 28th. This Gala was attended by dignitaries such as Consul Marlowe Miranda, Mayor Jim Dear, Mayor Pro Tem Elito Santarina, as well as officers and members from other Southern California FilAm Chambers of Commerce; including those from San Fernando Valley/Los Angeles (FACC-LA), Orange County (FACCOC), San Gabriel Valley (FACCSGV), and the Southeast Corridor (FACC-SEC). Hosted by famed actor/director Bernardo Bernardo and TV host/producer Lorian Fausto, attendees were serenaded by performances by FilAms Got Talent 2012 winner Sara Mislang, acclaimed singer Joannie Feliciano, and BB, in addition to a special waltz performance by FACC-SLAA’s officers and members.

The Gala’s Keynote Speech was delivered by Gina Alexander, an LA based designer who was originally from Torrance, CA. Ms. Alexander is the founder of Gina Alexander Photo Handbag, a multi-million dollar line of personalized handbags and other accessories. She delivered a powerful and inspiring message about the importance of perseverance, mentorship, and hard work, and also touted the value of outsourcing to the Philippines. She loves the fact that Filipinos are extremely intelligent, helpful, and hardworking, and are an indispensable part of her company’s success.

The “Heroes and Leaders” that were recipients of the evening’s awards included the following:
  • Brig. Gen. Tagumpay Nanadiego, WWII Veteran and Bataan Death March Survivor.
  • Dolly Antony, Sampaguita Youth Dance Troupe founder and Sampaguita Women’s Circle Board Member.
  • People’s CORE (Community Organizing for Reform and Empowerment), Community organization that aims to train, organize, and mobilize the Asian Pacific Islander grassroots and general community in creating systemic change.
Additionally, the FAHM Hermano Mayors who play a crucial role in the success of FAHM were also recognized:
  • Ben Menor – Overall Hermano Mayor
  • Jush Andowitt, GMA - Immigrants
  • Chef Gio Del Rosario, LA Harbor College - Medical Health, Sports, & Wellness
  • Joey Quinto, California Journal - Career, Business, & Professionals
  • Ted Benito, Foundation -  Philanthropic & Spiritual
  • Mark Pulido, Cerritos Mayor Pro Tem - Community Heroes & Leaders
  • Marc Anthony Nicolas, CBS TV Producer - Generation 1 ½+
While the evenings’ merriments was wrapped up with the dancing that lasted well into the night, the month-long celebration of Filipino American History Month continues in the SouthBay LA Area. There will be a special themed celebration on all the four Saturdays of October (Oct 5, 12, 19, & 26) at the SouthBay Pavilion (20700 Avalon Blvd., Carson, CA).

  • October 5: “Immigrants Day 
    This event will showcase Filipino traditions from various towns and regions in the Philippines. This will be a fun-filled day with music, dance presentations, vendors, etc.!
  • October 12: “Medical Health, Sports, and Wellness Day 
    Talk to the experts about your health and wellness concerns. There will be physicians, dieticians, professional chefs, insurance providers, and many other vendors that can answer your questions. There will be special presentations to celebrate the many contributions of Filipino-Americans in the Health and Wellness Industry.
  • October 19: “Business, Professionals, and Career Expo 
    Open new windows of opportunity through free enterprise in today’s challenging economic climate. Talk to experts, professionals, and industry stakeholders to discover viable economic alternatives. Learn new skills, business secrets, inspirational messages, and financial tips from successful business leaders and top executives. Employers seeking qualified applicants will also be present to assist you in your career search!
  • October 26: “FilAms Got Talent 
    This last event will showcase the talents of Filipino-Americans who belong to the generation 1.5+. Music, dance presentations, and other artistic endeavors will serve as a finale to our month-long festivities, along with various vendors who will be in attendance.
Unlike many other places across the country that hosts one event for the entire month, FACC-SLAA has taken great pains to see to it that the diverse Filipino American community in the SouthBay LA Area and beyond is well represented, and that there is something for everyone to enjoy on this special month.