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In line with its efforts to elevate the profile of the Filipino-American Community, and as part of the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco’s desire to spark pride, connect the Community with one another and the Philippines, and empower and unite the Filipino-Americans in the Bay Area, the officers and staff of the Philippine Consulate General and its attached agencies and family members participated in the 23rd Annual Pistahan Parade and Festival on 13-14 August 2016.

Pistahan, a two-day international celebration of Filipino culture and cuisine, is billed as the largest celebration of Filipino-Americans in the United States, attracting 80,000 people in the course of one weekend.  Apart from the parade, the festival grounds include a main stage where Filipino-American talents perform Filipino songs, dances, and martial arts demonstrations, and seven pavilions highlighting heritage, art, dance, health, sports, culinary arts and innovation.

With the theme “Journey to the heart of SOMA Pilipinas”, this year’s parade consisted of over 60 participating organizations, including floats, dance companies, marching bands, a human Philippine flag, even a jeepney and a higante.  There were contingents from as far as Canada and the Philippines.  The parade route wound through the Civic Center, through Mission Street, ending at 4th Street in the South of Market.  The parade took on a more meaningful tone this year, as the Filipino-American Community celebrates the passing of legislation by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors designating an area in the South of Market as SOMA Pilipinas.

Consul General Henry S. Bensurto, Jr. was invited to address the Community during the opening of the event, alongside Commissioner Al Perez, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, and leaders of the FilCom.  He encouraged the Community to unite and stand together in electing local officials who can best serve the interests of Filipinos in the United States, and congratulated the all-volunteer Pistahan Committee and the Filipino Community for their continued support of events that celebrate the history, culture and heritage of the Philippines.

Secretary of Tourism Wanda Teo was able to address the festival attendees on the second day, encouraging our kababayans to visit the Philippines and see the changes that the country has gone through.  She shared the Department of Tourism’s goals of providing a stable, resilient, sustainable, transformative and inclusive tourism industry, one that conserves and promotes our heritage, national identity, and sense of unity.  She shared the welcome news that the Philippines would be hosting the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant in January 2017, and enjoined the Community to actively promote the Philippines as a tourism destination.  END

The Philippine Consulate General joins the Pistahan parade.

Consul General Henry S. Bensurto, Jr. addresses the attendees of Pistahan at the Yerba Buena Gardens in the South of Market.

From right to left, Deputy Consul General Jaime Ramon Ascalan, Tourism Director Pura Molintas, Commissioner Al Perez, Secretary of Tourism Wanda Tea and spouse, Mr. Roberto Teo.