Blockbuster Fil-Am fiesta, parade to spotlight Haiyan recovery, the Visayas | Global News

Blockbuster Fil-Am fiesta, parade to spotlight Haiyan recovery, the Visayas

/ 08:56 AM July 21, 2014

• 21st Pistahan Parade and Festival to showcase Filipino culture, food, artists 

SAN FRANCISCO, California – The popular Adobo Cookoff returns, along with the Balut-Eating Contest, Filipino cuisine and desserts, cultural exhibits and live performances on two stages will highlight the 21st Annual Pistahan Parade and Festival on Aug. 9-10, 2014 at the Yerba Buena Gardens on Mission and 4th Streets.


The two-day, free-admission event organized by the Filipino American Arts Exposition (FAAE) expects to draw over 75,000 people.


This year’s theme is “Viva Visayas” in light of the recovery efforts from the devastating Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Visayas last November.

Through the festival, “we hope to continue to raise awareness about this province which was severely devastated by the typhoon,” said Pistahan organizer Al Perez.

“We want to celebrate and revive the unique Visayan culture, music, dance, cuisine, language and traditions. We want to honor the resilience of the Visayan people, and hope to be a catalyst in the rebirth, renewal and rebuilding of the Visayas Region,” he added.

The Pistahan Parade will kick-off the weekend festivities on Saturday, Aug. 9 at 11:00 a.m. As the only major Philippine parade on the West Coast, the Pistahan Parade is a display of Filipino community pride.

Beautifully themed floats and an estimated 100 colorful and entertaining contingents representing many different ethnic communities around the Bay Area make this a unique San Francisco event.

This year the Pistahan Parade begins at the San Francisco Civic Center on Turk Street and will go down Market Street, make a right on 4th street and disembark at Mission Street.


Both festival days will feature an array of “world-class entertainment, hands-on exhibits, and immersive cultural opportunities.”

This year’s entertainment will be headlined by artists from the Philippines: “Mr. Pure Energy” Gary V., with Karylle and Gabby Valenciano. Cultural performances include the Likha Pilipino Folk Ensemble, Parangal Dance Company, Hiyas Philippine Folk Dance Company and Steps, Styles & Spotlights. Additional talents from Manila, Broadway, Hollywood and around the Bay Area will grace the two entertainment stages.

Educational and interactive pavilions are:


A Masskara visual art exhibit will showcase an eclectic genres and styles of Filipino artists from the Bay Area, around the country and from the Philippines. A second art installation will feature artwork utilizing the iconic and ubiquitous “balikbayan box” as the canvass for art expression. Meet the artists and discover the rich artistic heritage of the Philippines.


Festival attendees can catch the rhythm and participate in folk dance and ballroom dance demonstrations. There is also a free Zumba workshop. This interactive pavilion will teach traditional folk dances including the Visayan Curacha dance.


Celebrating the many flavors of Philippine cuisine, local restaurants will feature their specialty regional cuisine at the Food Court. Professional and amateur chefs are invited to participate in the 9th annual Adobo Cookoff, where celebrity judges and the audience get to vote for the winners.

At the ever popular Balut-Eating Contest, winners get dollar bills and bragging rights for the whole year.

Brain freeze addicts will gorege on ube ice cream (purple yam flavor) at the Magnolia Ice Cream Purple Freeze Challenge, the Filipino version of the classic ice cream eating contest. Last person standing wins.

The Pistahan Ice Cream Tasting Bee is a blind-tasting competition where the contestant that identifies the most ice cream flavors correctly wins. It’s just like a spelling bee, but tastier.

Renowned Filipino chefs will demonstrate how to cook special Visayan dishes.

On Sunday, the Culinary Pavilion will be the site for the Qualifying Round for the Kulinarya Filipino Culinary Showdown. Amateur and professional chefs will slice and dice for the spot to represent San Francisco at the Championship Round in November this year against formidable chefs from Los Angeles, Honolulu and New York.


A mini-Filipino museum will display Philippine antiques, artifacts and material art from local institutions and collectors, most never displayed in public before.

This year’s exhibit, “Farm to Fork: A History of Filipino Farmers and Foodies,” will present the rich history of Filipino farmers (like the Sakadas from Visayas) and laborers (such as Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz). The exhibit will also chronicle the emergence of Filipino cuisine and chefs (from White House Chef Cristeta Comerford, to Top Chef winner Paul Qui and even Filipino winemakers and gourmet food truck owners.


Here, children of all ages can get hands-on experience learning Filipino arts and crafts activities, ancient Baybayin script-writing and even hear Philippine folktales and folklores.


This will feature “fun nutrition and safety quizzes,” and adults can sample a healthy version of Filipino dishes. There will be tips on the prevention of heart attacks and how to see warning signs of stroke. There will be free blood pressure screenings from Kaiser Permanente physicians and nurses.


On Saturday, the Pistahan Boxing Championship will showcase some of the finest amateur boxers from San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Now on its third year, the Championship will feature boxers 8 to 25-year-olds who will compete in Junior Olympics and Senior Open Divisions. The bouts will be dedicated to all great Filipino fighters, including Pancho Villa who hailed from the Visayan Region of the Philippines.

On Sunday, families and friends of all ages are invited to the Filipino Martial Arts Tournaments and Workshops featuring Arnis, Escrima, Kali and Taekwondo to learn and preserve these indigenous cultural traditions for the next generation of Filipino Americans.

Open call for participation 

The Filipino American Arts Exposition is inviting the public to participate in the Festival as vendors of Philippine-inspired arts and crafts and community booth exhibitors.

For booth applications click to our website at For more info, contact:

Al Perez, President, Filipino American Arts Exposition, [email protected], 415-625-EXPO (3976)

Musicians, vocalists, choirs, dance groups, martial artists, spoken word artists, hosts, comedians, and other entertainers are encouraged to apply:, click on PERFORM AT PISTAHAN, and compete the short questionnaire.

Sponsors who want to support the festival can contact Al Perez, [email protected], 415-625-EXPO (3976).

Contingents can walk in the Parade to show your “Pinoy Pride.” Prizes will be awarded to the best contingent, best costume, best choreography, best spirit and more.

Individuals and couples can come dressed in their best ethnic Filipino attire to be a part of the Lead Banner Contingent and for a chance to win the “best dressed” award. To participate, fill out the form online: > Get Involved > Join the Parade.

Volunteers are needed in the weeks leading up to the event, and on the days of the festival. Fill out the short Volunteer Survey at > Get Involved > Volunteer.


21st Annual Pistahan Parade and Festival

An international Celebration of Filipino Culture and Cuisine



Saturday, August 9

10:30 am – Opening Ceremonies

11:00 am – The Pistahan Parade begins at the San Francisco Civic Center on Turk Street, marches down Market Street, makes a right on 4th Street, then disembarks at Mission Street.


Saturday, August 9 and Sunday, August 10

11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Yerba Buena Gardens, Mission St @ 4th St, San Francisco


Email: [email protected]

Call: 415-625-EXPO (3976)


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Perez reappointed to the SF entertainment commission

TAGS: Al Perez, balut-eating contest, Festival, Fiesta, Filipino American Arts Exposition (FAAE), Pistahan Parade & Festival, Yerba Buena Gardens

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