Filipino American Development Foundation

Filipino arts and culture

The Filipino American Development Foundation was founded in 1997 to develop initiatives and resources to strengthen the social, physical, and economic well-being of Filipino Americans in San Francisco’s SOMA district and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.  The Filipino American Development Foundation manages the Bayanihan Community Center; “bayanihan” is in reference to a Filipino cultural value meaning mutual support and caring.

The Filipino American Development Foundation organizes two annual community events — a Flores de May Festival in May and the Parol Lantern Festival & Parade in December.  These programs use traditional arts and culture as a way to engage community members, promoting cooperation and building strong relationships among members.

In 2011 and 2009, grants from ACTA’s Living Cultures Grants Program supported the Parol Lantern Festival & Parade.  Parol lanterns have become a potent symbol of hope, blessing, family, and community solidarity for many Filipinos, and a staple decoration during the Christmas holiday.   A series of workshops will take place to teach the folk art of creating the star-shaped lantern; the workshops culminate in a parade through San Francisco’s SOMA district, which was historically Filipino Town and now is a diverse multicultural and economically challenged urban downtown area.

The Filipino American Development Foundation participated in ACTA’s Folk & Traditional Arts Mentorship Initiative in 2005, working with Herna Cruz of the Likha Pilipino Folk Ensemble to hold workshops and classes in rondalla music, a traditional string ensemble.  The Spanish brought rondalla music to the Philippines in the 1500s and over many centuries it evolved into a distinct Filipino musical form.  Filipino rondalla is characterized by its instrumentation, indigenous rhythms, melodies, love songs, and lullabies.


Members of the Philippine Consulate of San Francisco participate in the Filipino American Development Foundation's Parol Lantern Festival & Parade in 2009. Photo courtesy of Filipino American Development Foundation

Next slide