Cerritos holds photo exhibit of Fil-Am contributions to American life
CERRITOS, California — The first Filipino American Mayor of this diverse city, Mark Pulido, marked this week the 117th anniversary of Philippines Independence Day with opening ceremonies of “Pinoy sa Amerika,” a photo exhibit at the sprawling Cerritos Public Library. The exhibit runs until June 20 and is free to the public.
Curated by the Frontliners Media Group (FMG), the exhibit shows photographs of some 50 immigrants selected from their fields of expertise or vocations as nurses, teachers, writers, business owners, artists, musicians, cooks, salon stylists, among others to highlight their various contributions to American life.
“It inspires me that you have selected the subject “Pinoy sa Amerika” so that you’ve captured Filipino Americans in every walk of life and the diversity of all professions that help build American society,” Pulido who was re-elected this year to the City Council, told the FMG officers and members.
Dedicating the exhibit, Pulido said he was glad to have brought his six-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter, giving them a chance to see in the photographs a reflection of themselves and the models to aspire for what they want to be in the future.
Joel Pastor, representing FMG responded that it was but fitting to hold the group’s commemoration of Philippines Independence Day (from Spain) in a city that is fast growing with about 50,000 residents, with a large Filipino American representation of approximately 15 percent.
Cerritos has registered massive economic growth in the last few years, with a $45 million expansion of one its banner shopping malls and a reported $1.6 million surplus in the city’s 2015- 2016 fiscal budget. As reported early this month by the Long Beach Press Telegram, with this projected surplus, there are no lay-offs, furloughs or cuts to the city’s programs and services.
“We are honored that Cerritos so fittingly approved to display these immigrants’ achievements,” said Pastor.
Among those images in the exhibit are neurologist Dr. Pamela Alvarez; medical doctor Maria Teresa Galarpe-Pastor who conducts yearly medical missions to the Philippines; LPGA golf tour 2015 awardee Demi Runas; wood sculptor Rick Bagabaldo from Paete Laguna, where the best wood carvings in the Philippines can be found; Edgar Acosta, owner of the Hollywood landmark “The French Crepe Company” based in the popular Original Farmers’ Market.
Also pictured are “suman-maker” Carmen Casino from San Gabriel Valley; Ana Burog, owner of “Burog’s Barong,” supplier of traditional Filipino clothing in Los Angeles; Aquilina Soriano Versoza, executive director of the Pilipino Workers’ Center and who is behind the affordable housing project “Larry Itliong Village” for low-income families in the neighborhood; musician Mathew Ignacio, a gifted artist who plays the cello, piano, guitar and accordion; Chief cook Pepito Pangpangan of the Original Barrio Fiesta; Odette Ricasa, a globetrotter who has traveled to 261 countries.
There’s also nurse Aida Vergara, a chemical engineering graduate who shifted to a career as a nurse; Maricel Cabacunga, a nursing graduate who works as a cashier in a Filipino store; Marilyn Ramirez, a well-loved teacher at St. Genevieve High School in San Fernando Valley.
The exhibit spans many other professions such as journalist, photographers, cook, mechanic, electrical engineer and waiter. The exhibit is at Cerritos Main Library at 18025 Bloomfield Avenue Cerritos.
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