SAN FRANCISCO – Filipino culture came to life in the heart of downtown San Francisco over the weekend as an estimated 120,000 people gathered at Yerba Buena Gardens for the 21st annual Pistahan Parade and Festival.
The two-day event kicked off with a seven-block parade that featured Kapamilya stars Gary Valenciano and Karylle, ABS-CBN personalities from shows like Adobo Nation, Balitang America and Barangay USA as well as this year’s Hermana Mayor – ABS-CBN International’s managing director, Olivia “Chinky” de Jesus.
At the conclusion of the pride-packed procession, festival attendees enjoyed performances from various Pinoy dance groups as well as an array of Filipino cuisine.
Asked what she purchased from the food vendors, Cal student Kate Masancay said: “Sisig at lumpia. Masarap sobra.”
Merchandise featuring the Philippine flag were also a hit among the Pistahan crowd, but for many Fil-Ams, the brightest part of the festival proved to be the Kapamilya concert.
The Sunday afternoon show featured Karylle as well as Gary V. and his son Gab.
The stars said it was an honor to perform in front of the jam-packed audience.
“When you have a crowd like this it makes it even better,” Gab said. “I’m so thankful to TFC for having me.”
“I think this time’s different, because we got to meet a lot of them yesterday and see a lot of them during the parade," Karylle said.
“When you’re Kapamilya, you don’t just say it, but you show it, and I think we did that today,” Gary said.
By the end of the festival, many Filipinos said it was refreshing to reconnect with their roots and that they look forward to celebrating again next year.
Read more on Balitang America.