‘Kasayahan sa Daly City’ — Celebrating 30th Year of Filipino American History

DALY CITY MAYOR Rod Daus Magbual (left) and City Vice Mayor Rey Buenaventura (right) welcome the Filipino American community in commemorating the annual Filipino American History Month.

By Rose Garcia-Paquette

 DALY CITY – Thousands of Filipino Americans (Fil-Ams) trooped to the grounds of Marchbank Park baseball field in Daly City shortly before 11:00 a.m. on Saturday (Oct.8) to celebrate the Filipino American History Month. 

For 30 years since its inception, the Filipino-American History Month is now being celebrated annually in the entire United States during October. Not-less-than our very own leaders- Daly City Mayor Rod Daus Magbual and Philippine Consul General to San Francisco Neil Frank R. Ferrer, who also carry consular jurisdictions in other key U.S. states, led the 11:30 a.m. opening ceremony of ‘Kasayahan sa Daly City.’ They wish to express their appreciation to the Filipinos and the Filipino American vendors, artists and performers who are taking part in the celebration. 
While ‘Kasayahan sa Daly City’ was in its infantile stage when it started in 2018 and was halted for two years due to the pandemic, Philippine Consul General Neil Ferrer, encouraged young people, their families and parents to get more involved and participate in their local communities in any Fil-Am activities. Ferrer acknowledged the leadership of City Mayor Magbual “for his continued recognition of the significant contributions of the Fil-Am community.,”
Ferrer, at the same time, thanked  U.S. President Joe Biden for his kind words in sending the 2022 Filipino American History Month message, who said: “When the Filipino American history is preserved and shared, the millions of Filipino Americans that helped build this country can see themselves in the story of America— in a story that makes us a better and more united Nation. Just as they have fought to preserve and share their history, may we all support, celebrate, and honor their contributions. “
This, as the career diplomat announced he will sign a sister city agreement between Davao City and Daly City “to further cement the economic, cultural and education ties between our two peoples.” 
Mayor Magbual, in quoting Fil-Am historian Dawn Mabalaon, meanwhile, said, “ Fil-Am history is a commemoration of our ancestors according to Mabalaon, and I said, ‘kasayahan’ is like when we speak (Tagalog), we smell food, remember memories of our childhood— it’s for the community,” that is, “ a celebration for all of us.” To the youth, he stressed the importance of learning Fil-Am history to bridge the generation gap in most families.
 City Vice Mayor Rey Buenaventura, on the other hand, recalled how four years past he was just having a monthly meeting in Serramonte with the city council, the city’s Filipino binary resource centers: “ We want to honor Filipino culture in the community with the rest of the dimension that is in the city and to encourage everyone to come and see this as an opportunity to be together as one while building a better locality. The City of Daly City Department of Library & Recreation Services led by lead organizer Romeo Benson, DCDLR Senior Supervisor, hosted the Fil-Am History Month celebration.
 Benson, the man behind organizing ‘kasayahan,’ recalled how former Senator Leland Yee, paved the way, through legislation, the recognition of  Fil-Am history Month in Daly City. According to Benson, there were 30 NorCal (Northern California) food and non-food stalls and some 50 locally-based non-food huts as well as non-profit and information booths on the ground fair— all with ‘the primary focus to educate the Fil-Am youth. Paricipating sponsors and partners include PBRC, NorCal Kababayan Community Group Corp., Farmers Insurance, City Toyota of Daly City, Cypress Lawn, Serramonte, The Fresh Crew, iWantTFC, Renaissance, Lions International, The Filipino American Post, Republic Services, Lakewood Dental Care – Marilou Cuasay, DDS, OWN Real Estate, FAM Frankers, Audioneer and Duggans Sierra Mortuary.
Notably present during the ceremeny were local county and city leaders as San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President David J. Canepa, (Dist. 5); other council members, Vice Consul Adrian Audrey L. Baccay, Dorie C. Paniza, President of the Pilipino Bayanihan Resource Center (PBRC), Perla G. Ibarrientos, Chairman of the Board, PBRC, businesses and generous donors and sponsors as Tammy Ho, Proprietor, the Manila Oriental at King Plaza, among other attendees.

 The festivity highlighted songs and dances, martial arts, ‘kulintang’ dialect— all from singers, bands and native dancers by selected talents- Zena Ira, Tiffany, Mabuhay Folkloric Society, Kulintang Dialect, Nate Guinto, Ceej Frankera, Shogun V, Legacy Martial Arts, Vince A, Jazelle, Melvin Sings!, Maddie B, D3 Qbert, DNH and Ruby Ibarra. The event wrapped up at past 4:00 p.m.

 Calls to ‘STOP’ Anti-Asian Hate 

 Resulting from several complaints from Fil-Ams reportedly subjected to ‘hate crimes,’ local leaders on Saturday called on the Fil-Am community to report any form of ‘hate-related  violence or crimes’ to the authorities. ConGen Ferrer said about 80% of the Asian population in general have experienced or were being exposed to ‘hate crimes.’ This, as the Consulate is “closely monitoring reports from police relative to the affected Fil-Am population.” In most cases, he said the police provides details to the victims to contact the consulate, “we step in and follow up the process as we make representation with the police and  other local authorities. “So far, Ferrer said among the highest rates of complaints were coming from Chinese, followed by Koreans and Filipinos. 

Actively helping victims of hate crimes and violence is a non-profit organization- the STOP Anti Asian and Pacific Islanders (Stop AAPI) with a website encouraging victims to report any similar incident. When asked how he would address the call to halt anti-asian hate sentiment, Mayor Magbual claimed he was not spared from the pangs of “racism” when he said, “ the Fil-Am community still go through (some form of) racism- why? Because some people don’t want more diversity and that (this reflected) when they didn’t endorse me. “At the same time, he echoed the response to stop anti-asian hate crimes by the San Fransisco Consulate, “ We report hate crime incidents to the cops and community-based groups. “

A staunch ally of the Fil-Am community in the county, Supervisor Canepa in response to recent hate crimes committed against people of Asian descent, earlier said the county is already a “zero-tolerance hate zone.” Canepa, made it happen last year to come up with a policy “condemning hate crimes against Asian American Pacific Islander community and to establish the county as a zero tolerance zone from Daly City to Menlo Park.

For his part, Buenaventura, said the local government keeps a vigilant eye on what is happening relative to all forms of hate crimes. Buenaventura asked victims to come out into the open,  “ do not to be afraid to report and spread the word to the community that the AAPI hate won’t be tolerated. “