By Abner Galino
A SIMPLE but meaningful celebration marked the 73rd anniversary of the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles in the historic Filipinotown late last month.
The gala night was highlighted by the honoring and crowning of FACLA’s ambassadors of goodwill – Elizabeth Zaide (Mrs. Filipino Cultural Center/FACLA), Amy Saguinsin (Mrs. Luzon), Alyssa Stovin (Mrs. Visayas), Elizabeth Galang (Mrs. Mindanao), Pamela Saguinsin (Miss FCC/FACLA), Renoa Felix (Miss Teen FCC/FACLA), Jerrika Pacheco Chow (FCC/FACLA 1st princess) and Keira Mai Kwan (FCC/FACLA 2nd princess).
FACLA president Fernandico Gonong said the celebration was an opportunity to recall that FACLA and its headquarters (the Filipino Cultural Center) were legacies of four farmers who had great visions for the succeeding generations of Filipino immigrants.
“The challenge before us is not just to keep these inheritance for ourselves, but improving them, and making them relevant and useful to the incoming generations of Filipino Americans in Los Angeles,” Gonong said.
Gonong also took the opportunity to call on fellow Filipino Americans to consider joining efforts to strengthen the Filipino American presence in the Historic Filipinotown of Los Angeles.
As the second largest immigrant community in LA and in the US in general, Gonong said, Filipino Americans should be able to harness such strength to earn economic and political benefits for the community.
Another FACLA leader, Bernie Targa-Ganon said organizational reforms have taken place since the new leadership took over less than a year ago.
“The physical changes to the Filipino Cultural Center are quite visible. You just have to come and see for yourselves. But more important than that are the reforms that have been instituted within the organization,” Targa-Ganon stressed.
According to her, FACLA have strengthened its system of checks and balances within the leadership. FACLA has reportedly become more transparent and dynamic in its mission to serve the Filipino American community.
Music throughout the night was provided by father and daughter tandem Boyd and Caroline Elston; and the trio of Imelda Wood, Rolly Javier and Robert Gamo.