LA’s historic Filipinotown set to launch new landmark in May

Asian communities in overseas cities are often associated with their culture in specific neighborhoods like Little India, Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Koreatown, etc. Now, Filipino culture can be recognized with the Historic Filipinotown which is set to be installed as a new landmark in the city of Los Angeles.

Along with the celebration of United States of America and Pacific Islands Heritage Month in May, Los Angeles Department of Public Works and Council Member Mitch O’Farell announced his long-proposed monument sign for the Filipinotown (HiFi) to be installed at the East Gateway.

Artist’s rendering of the walkway named “Talang Gabay – Our Guiding Star”, which will span 82 feet across Beverly Boulevard and be 30 feet tall. CONTRIBUTED

This monument is a commemoration and an emblem of gratitude towards the community of Filipino-Americans in the neighborhood. “This project has been a labor of love for so many in the historic Filipinotown district. This magnificent historic landmark will be a source of pride for the Filipino community and will rightly celebrate this vibrant neighborhood and the incredible contributions of Filipino Americans to the city of Los Angeles,” O’Farell said.

The walkway is called “Talang Gabay – Our Guiding Star” and is designed by Filipino-American artists Eliseo Art Silva and Celestino Geronimo, Jr. It spans approximately 82 feet across Beverly Boulevard and is 30 feet tall. The $587,000 structure is designed with cultural symbols that display elements like the Parol, Gumamela Flower, and Sarimanok, which are part of Filipino culture.

Silva also created the Filipino mural “Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana” at Unidad Park, located near the location of the Eastern Gateway. The monument also became a tribute to the heroic Filipino frontliners who fought and are still fighting the pandemic. “It is a fitting tribute to the many brave men and women on the front lines, brave warriors such as our many Filipino healthcare workers,” Silva said in June 2020, when the gateway was announced.

historic philippine city, monument
A giant mural by Eliseo Silva, depicting Filipino heritage, adorns Unidad Park in Los Angeles’ historic Filipinotown district. YAP

“Pilipino Workers Center is thrilled and proud to be part of the collective process to make this HiFi gateway project a reality!” said Aquilina Soriano Versoza, executive director of the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC).

The design for the monument was released in June 2020 and construction began offsite in March 2021. Historic Filipinotown was originally called Little Manila where it was an underrated enclave in Los Angeles as it was a place where the Filipino-American community flourished. It was not until 2002 that the place was recognized by the city and designated as a historic and cultural district.

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