For 21 years the Cultural-Society of Filipino Americans (CSFA) have been gathering in the Twin Cities to celebrate all aspects of their culture. This year the event was held on March 9 at the Landmark Center in Downtown St. Paul from 12:00-5:00 pm. By 12:15 the Center was already packed and seats were filling at the stage. Parking was near impossible but the mood was festive.
Asian American Press spoke with Nino Jonson of CSFA. She said that while the date March 9th does not correspond with any particular national holiday the Philippine day celebration has always been around that time of year.
CSFA offered an information table featuring directory, cookbook, membership and dance troupe information. Each year the CSFA hosts an educational exhibit. According to Jonson last year it was games this year it was “Kusina Ni Inang” the Filippino Kitchen. Spices, seasoning, fruits, vegetables, rice, and utensils were all on display showing elements of the traditional kitchen.
And right behind the display on the traditional kitchen attendees of the event could sample some traditional foods. Jonson recommended the Adobe Chicken, Lumpia (Egg rolls) or Poncit (noodle dish) as a very good sampling of traditional food.
In addition to cultural displays there were services such as help with voter registration or free blood pressure screenings. There were also displays about University and schooling opportunities whether a student wanted to travel to the Philippines for education or you wanted to support a student of the Philippines.
The program began with the National Anthems of the US (“Star Spangled Banner”) and Philippines (Lupang Hinirang”) sung by Mar Alojado and Ed Santos. Jose Rivera, President of CSFA and Clara Gabriel of Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office thanked everyone for coming. Throughout the afternoon the schedule was packed with songs, both traditional and non, dances and Martial Arts demonstrations.
To round out the day the Fil-MN Youth Organization made sure there was something for even the youngest participants, face painting and candy made their booth a favorite among the youngsters. “This is the biggest get together of the year,” Jonson said “it’s a chance to get together and see family.” Don’t miss CSFA at the Festival of Nations May 1-4 at the River Centre in St. Paul