Daily Archives: June 13, 2013


June 13, 2013


By Art P. Garcia

Los Angeles—Mayor Elect of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti will open the newly renovated Echo Park Lake to the public on June 15 after a nearly two-year-long, $85 million clean up and renovation.

That is the good news. The bad news is that the Annual Asian American Lotus Festival in Echo Park will not be held this eyar but was deffered for next year 2014.

The Echo Park Lake which had been closed for about two years as part of a water quality improvement project financed with Prop. O funds was restored lake and park grounds

Echo Park’s Lotus Festival

Echo Park is important for Asian Americans for it holds the Asian American annual festival called “The Lotus Festival.” This is the largest Asian American Festival in Los Angeles city that is held every July each year for the last 33 years.

Asians and Filipino Americans started the Lotus Festival with a picnic. From then on it became the Asian-American community Festival held in Echo Park every July in time for Lotus flowers to bloom. Echo Park Lake is also the largest bed of Lotus flowers in the United States.

But this the Lotus Festival according to some cannot still be held because the park, although will be open on June 15 has to make some improvements like the laying of grass. And so the 33rd Lotus Festival maybe held next year, July 2014.

More Improvements in Echo Park

How is the city going to protect its investment in the park and its pristine grounds? Some residents have raised concern about the return of vendors and a swap meet hat once spilled across the park grounds shortly before the park was closed to the public for the clean up.

Mike Shull, assistant general manager for the city’s Recreation and Parks Department, said “ the city has not allocated any additional funding for park maintenance.

In fact, Shull said the park might prove less costly to maintain given the new landscaping, irrigation system, walk ways and lighting systems.” Shull said he expects that the city’s laws on vending would be enforced in the park.


After the Euphoria, the Hard Facts


June 12, 2013

After the Euphoria, the Hard Facts

By Art P. Garcia

After the euphoria on the successful first Philippine Grand Parade in Historic Filipinotown, the collaborative efforts of the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) and the Philippine Consulate General of Los Angeles, after all dust settled by more than 5,000 feet and souls that marched down the 3 mile trek on Temple St, we have to reckon on some hard facts.

First, we were proud of the DINAGYANG dancers who gave us a terrific sound and sights flavor of the Philippines at the van of the parade.

Their drums and dance really revved up all the marchers and drew the crowd of the seclusion of their homes. Many went out to watch, marvel and waved the flag and declare that they are proud to be Filipinos in America.


As the parade coordinator, I still marveled on the last minute tendencies of the Filipinos to join occasion like this. 2 weeks before the parade, there were only 20 organizations who confirmed. Three day to go the list went up to 50. But on the day of the parade, more than 5,000 came out in force.

The largest group who participatedin the parade was the Filipino Ministry of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles led by Ms. Patty Santiago.

They displayed not only their beautiful sagalas but saints and icons of the Catholic faith making it truly a Santacruzan in June. They were followed by FACLA , the host organization in Historic Filipinown.

I truly enjoyed the Igorot dancers from the Cordillera from a Protestant denomination who followed the Filipino Ministry who banged their ganzas and were in their traditional costumes.

I almost joined them in dancing my duties only prevented me for I have to see the flow of the parade.


I will be amiss if I will not mention the FILAMTV and Tribune-USA float that stands out during the parade.

It was manned by Arnel –The Magician and two Fil-Am artist, Sean Afable and Model Actress Koko Laima.

What more can I say, when the FIlAM top honchos were at the FIAMTV media tent in FACLA and at the Silver Lake Medical Center during the program after the parade till 2PM.

And they even went to Carson for another Independence Day Program till the day ends.


I was so proud of some veterans and widows who marched the 3 mile during the parade. With them were KmB and JFAV youths.

Some of them we made sure were riding vehicles because they cannot walk anymore at the front of the march and with the Knights of Rizal delegation with FACLA vehicles.

But despite the success, we should not miss the minus factors.

One is that Filipinos in the city of Carson went on their won Independence Day and tried to steal the thunder from the LA Celebration. But that is Carson. They have their own Independence Day always even though they have been told four months ahead.

Besides they have big time artist from GMA7-Marian Rivera as a come on.Carson has 1/3 Filipino population, so a huge attendance is always assured. Say maybe 10,000 every Independence Day.

I cannot comment further than to say, this is the United States. There is unity in diversity. Filipino diversity instead of unity?

But the tendency of some FilAm organizations to put down other organizations showed its ugly head during the preparations. And their target was the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA).

What is good with FACLA, they can roll with the punches and grin about it. Besides, they are used to May flies trying to topple a giant Oak tree.

Some unnamed organizations and personalities tried even to malign and put a cloud of suspicion on FACLA on the preparation. One of them were even given time to speak at the program in the Silver Lake Compound.


Another had the temerity to ask the LAPD if the permit has been secured.

I was really ashamed when the LAPD officer asked me; “Why are some Filipinos like that, they even asked if you have filed the permit with our office?’ I did not bother to answer.

I just gave him a big smile as he assured me of the street closure, there days before the parade. He know for me for years of applying for a permit in the LAPD HQ.

Another glaring thing is that the front door of the Silver Lake Medical Center in Temple St. was closed.

Many people who went there went away when they saw that the front gate was closed. Others who went on to the Burlington gate were only those who were really bent to watch the program.

Other people at the SLMC compound were looking for food booths. The food booths were at FACLA compound . The good thing, the food booths in FACLA were sold out early.


One parade participants who knew that there was a check-in table participants asked me at the start of the parade: “Where is the check-in table?”

I answered; “There is no need for that, nobody wanted to check-in, they all want to be in the parade”.

Well and good, we (FACLA and the Consulate ) made preparations for that and it went well. But I still shake my head. Filipinos are known to hate discipline. As sort of “disorderly orderly.”

My sigh after the parade was: “What begins well, end’s well.”

And Shakespeare really said it good!