Philippines Independence Day & BF Founders Around Town

By Trish Fontanilla

Filipino trivia: On June 12, 1898 the Philippines celebrated their declaration of independence from Spain. Interestingly enough, that’s not when the Philippines gained its full independence. Spain had only ceded the islands to the United States as a part of the Treaty of Paris. The U.S. granted the Philippines their independence after World War II (yep, Filipinos fought alongside Americans during the war), and the Treaty of Manila was signed on July 4, 1946.  

For years the Philippines yo-yoed their celebration between the two dates. Today June 12th is a national holiday, but you still gotta go to to work on July 4th, which is now recognized as Republic Day / Philippine-American Friendship Day.

In Boston there’ll be celebrations throughout the month, but here are the events that the BF Founders will be attending:


Philippine American Mainstream Advocacy for Nonpartisan Associations, Inc. (PAMANA) will be celebrating the month with a few events!

The Parade & Festival are June 10th, 10AM ~ 3PM at La Salette Shrine in Attleboro. BF Co-Founder Bianca Garcia will be there partying at a BOSFilipinos booth, and she’ll be selling some of her homemade mini ensaymadas in addition to some flan from BF Co-Founder Leila Amerling!


The 2nd Annual Filipino Festival is June 23, 4:30PM ~ 7:30PM at the Malden YMCA. The Filipino Festival is independently run, and supported in part by a grant from the Malden Cultural Council. The event itself will feature food, performances, and activities celebrating Filipino culture. I'm super excited for this year’s festival because I know that the organizers have a deeper focus on inclusivity. I’ll be there reppin’ BOSFilipinos with a booth and language station!

If you’re heading to any of these events, let us know below or via Facebook / Instagram / Twitter!

And for more events this month, check out the BOSFilipinos Events page. We’ll see ya out there!

We’re always looking for BOSFilipinos blog writers / subjects! If you’d like to contribute or have a suggestions, feel free to send us a note:

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

By Trish Fontanilla

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and Boston is stacked with events! But before I share what’s going on around town (including our meetup on the 10th), I wanted to get into the origins of it. The month itself is epic when you think about how it’s an umbrella for the largest continent on Earth coupled with the Pacific Islands, and celebrating all of the cultures, people, and history that it includes. So not to overwhelm you too much, here are a few quick facts about the month:

Want to learn more? PBS has a whole collection of stories and videos on its website:

And without further ado, here’s what’s happening in Boston this month!


2nd BOSFilipinos Meetup of 2018
Thursday, May 10, 2018
6PM - 8PM @ Globe Bar & Cafe

Join us for our second meetup in 2018! We’re bringing together some of the awesome folks in the Boston Filipino community for a happy hour in May. No agenda, just bring yourself and your friends! RSVP on the Facebook page to receive updates:

2018 Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration
Thursday, May 17, 2018
5:30PM - 9PM @ Wellington Management Company

This Ascend New England event will have cultural performances, food from local Pan-Asian restaurants, and networking with professionals and students. For info:

Taken from the Ascend New England event page

Taken from the Ascend New England event page

Taken from the One in a Billion Productions event page

Taken from the One in a Billion Productions event page

Live, Love, Laugh Storytelling Salon
Friday, May 18, 2018
6PM - 8:30PM @ 101 Main Street

This month's storytelling salon features Kira Omans, 2016 Pacific Miss Asian American and Zhao Qinghua, Founder & CEO of Chinese dating website, 2RedBeans. For more info:

Image taken from QSAC event page

Image taken from QSAC event page

Queer South Asian Collective Spring Bazaar
Sunday, May 20, 2018
12PM - 5PM @ Urban College of Boston

The Spring Bazaar will have food and shopping with your local queer South Asian community. This event is to help raise funds for QSAC to attend the National Queer API community organizing conference. For more info:

Taken from the WGBH event page

Taken from the WGBH event page

Celebration of Asian Pacific American Culture
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
7PM - 9PM @ WGBH

This celebration at WGBH is in its 10th year! "This year they'll be spotlighting Asian American entrepreneurs who have risen to the top of their respective industries and remain civically engaged in their communities." For more info:

Taken from the USDLDF Dragon Dance event page

Taken from the USDLDF Dragon Dance event page

USDLDF Dragon Dance Competition
Sunday, May 25 - 27, 2018
3:30PM - 5PM @ Empire Garden Restaurant

"This 3-day event promotes the arts of dragon and lion dance as a cultural tradition and sport throughout the United States and beyond." For more info:

Taken from the Dealmoon invite

Taken from the Dealmoon invite

Dealmoon Asian Street Food Night Market
Saturday, May 26, 2018
6PM - 10PM @ Pine Manor College

This event will feature 15 local vendors who will be cooking and serving over 40 different kinds of Asian dishes and snacks! For more info:

Taken from the BAAFF event page

Taken from the BAAFF event page

Short Waves: Stories Shaping our Community
Thursday, May 31, 2018
6:30PM - 8PM @ Pao Arts Center

This event is being produced by the Boston Asian American Film Festival, and they will be screening submissions from their Short Waves Open Call for films. For more info:

And for more events around town, you can stay in the loop by following our Events page that's updated weekly! 

We’re always looking for BOSFilipinos blog writers! If you’d like to contribute, send us a note at

Of Cockfights and Adobo

by Bianca Garcia

© Bianca Garcia

© Bianca Garcia

This is an excerpt of an article I wrote for Offline Magazine (now shuttered down). I wanted to write about a controversial local tradition, and weave in stories about my family and food (of course). The entire piece is published on my blog.


I stared at the gates outside the arena, gray and rusty, paint peeling off. The scorching sun was beating down on us, bright and relentless, and on the ground there were clouds of dirt being kicked around by the flip flops that everyone wears. There were sounds of children playing nearby. It was a typical provincial scene, grand and quaint at the same time. We shuffled to the entrance, and then we entered a different world.

We were at the cockfighting arena in San Fernando, Pampanga, a province in the Philippines. Dark, humid, loud and thumping, I could feel a frantic energy pulsing in the air. It was my first time going to see a cockfight, or “sabong” as it is called in Filipino. Cockfighting is a blood sport so violent that it’s outlawed in many other countries, but it has been part of Filipino culture for centuries.

In the Philippines, cockfighting is a great equalizer, where the rich and poor come together without any class distinctions. It is a community activity that brings neighbors together and ignites the bonding of the townsfolk’s men. A common joke among the wives is that the roosters are luckier than they are, because their husbands caress and lovingly massage the roosters first thing in the morning. Up until the 60s, when most parts of the country started becoming more urbanized, almost every backyard had chicken and rooster coops, with every family being invested in the sport of cockfighting.

To read the rest of the article, please head over to Confessions of a Chocoholic.

Filipino American History Month 2017

Did you know that October is Filipino American History Month (FAHM)? While it was established by the Filipino American National Historical Society in 1988, it wasn’t officially recognized nationally by Congress until 2009.

As I started to work on a FAHM post for the blog, I found the AARP / NextDayBetter video that came out earlier this month. For a video that’s only 7 minutes long, it does an incredible job of highlighting Filipino American contributions and history dating back to 1587! Most of which, I must say, was not in any of my history books growing up in New Jersey.

Some new things I learned from the video (including links to learn more) were:

  • Filipinos have been in what is now known as the continental United States since 1587 -
  • Many FIlipinos first formed settlements in Louisiana (Saint Malo) - link
  • Some Filipinos were at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair… on display - link
  • Filipino towns such as Stockton’s Little Manila served as a safe haven for labor migrants who were accused of stealing jobs… and women - link
  • The 1934 Congress restricted immigration from the Philippines to just 50 Filipinos per year - link
  • During WWII - 250,000 Filipinos served in the United States Armed Forces of the Far East - link
  • Filipino veterans in the Philippines were promised US citizenship and benefits, but the passing of the 1946 Rescission Act broke that promise - link
  • At one point, there were more Filipinos in the US Navy than the Philippines Navy - link
  • In 1965, the Immigration Act greatly expanded quotas (right around when my parents came to the US!), and by 1970 the Filipino community more than doubled. Population stats: 1930 - 45,000; 1970 - 343,00; 1980 - 774,000 - link
  • There are now over 4,000,000 Filipinos in the United States, and that’s just an estimation from 2011 - link

    And those are just a handful of the stats that are in the video!

    To watch the video in its entirety, click below and let us know what you learned!