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Despite the rain, the Bayanihan Community Center’s Lantern Festival and Parade went on, with the various participating delegations parading around the periphery of St. Patrick’s Church and congregating at the Church basement for the judging.

Following the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ unanimous passing of the legislation zoning out a large swath of land in San Francisco as SOMA (South of Market) Pilipinas, this year’s festival theme was “SoMa Pilipinas: Bring Our Culture to Light”. Participating Filipino-American organizations created their own parols, bringing to light SoMa Pilipinas and what it means for the Filipino Community to finally have a section of San Francisco to call their own.

The program consisted of four parts: (1) the Taste of Filipino Christmas (Patikim ng Pagkaing Pamasko), which gave the Community an opportunity to partake of Filipino food like champorado, bibingka, and a demonstration of puto bumbong; (2) Sounds of Christmas, which featured Filipino musical acts like Kulintronica and Ukulenny; (3) the Parol Lantern Gallery which allowed the Community to view the creations of participating organizations, and (4) the Parol Stroll around St. Patrick’s Church.

The rain turned out to be a blessing, as the event was contained in an enclosed space, fostering closer relations among the Filipino-American Community.  Mr. MC Canlas, the Community’s ethnohistorian, said that the more intimate atmosphere brought to the fore the Filipino people’s characteristics of bayanihan (community working together), malasakit (caring for each other), malikhain (creative), masayahin (fun-loving, light-hearted), madiskarte (resourceful), buo-ang-loob (confident and resilient), masigasig (enthusiastic), may pagkakaisa at nagbibigayan (foster unity), nagiging liwanag sa kadiliman (light in the darkness), makatao at makadiyos (humane and soulfull).

The participants were a mixed group, many of whom were millennials actively involved in the Community.  Many foreigners came up to the delegations to ask about the parol and what the Community was celebrating.  As in the previous years, the 14th Parol Lantern Festival and Parade successfully shared to the larger Community Filipino Christmas traditions. END