Have you ever been reminiscing about the noise and chatter of the busy streets of Manila? Or do you simply long for the taste of local Filipino food? It may seem a big distance living on the other side of the world to the country you used to live in, but don’t you worry because in California, there are a lot of places to visit that can make you feel like home. As you travel around the state, explore these places to experience Filipino culture even from afar.

1. Historic Filipinotown - Los Angeles City

If someone wants to visit California’s version of the Philippines, Los Angeles is the perfect place to go. With over 500,000 Filipino population in the city, Filipino vibes and resemblance can easily be seen. One of which is the Historic Filipinotown’s Pinoy aesthetic basket-weaving patterns decorated along the crosswalks, lamp posts, street lights, and street banners can surely take you to the streets of the Philippines. But if you are a foodie craving for Pinoy taste, Bahay Natin Food Cart in Venice Boulevard has your back. The shop carries the basic Filipino ingredients such as condiments, baked goods, noodle ingredients, frozen goods, and health or beauty items.

2. SOMA Pilipinas Filipino Cultural District - San Francisco City

Photo credit to SOMCAN

SOMA Pilipinas is a Filipino Cultural Heritage District located at the South Market San Francisco that seeks to celebrate the contributions of Filipino community throughout the city. The group sustains the legacy of the Filipino culture by developing cultural arts, assets, and place-making to prevent the displacement of Filipino residents in their new homeland. 

When it comes to economic opportunities for Filipinos and Filipino Americans living in the United States, SOMA Pilipinas serves as the critical employment hub to look out for in the fields of hospitality, service, and financial sectors. SOMA Pilipinas is known for being the gravitational cultural center for Filipinos in California as it holds the largest and fastest growing Asian Pacific Islander community in a state where 43% of the U.S. Filipino population resides.

The district is also home to unique Filipino cultural institutions such as Bindlestiff Studio- the only dedicated Filipino-American performance space in the city; and Arkipelago- one of the only two Filipino-American bookstores in the United States

3. Daly City - The Pinoy Capital

Photo credit to James Sobredo 

Located outside of San Francisco is the Pinoy Capital of the United States, Daly City that comprises 33,000 Filipino Americans, making it a home to the highest concentration of Filipinos in the United States. Pinoy Capital becomes a landmark to the continued growth of conversations regarding Filipino immigrant life in the country, which highlights the sense of “Filipinoness” in the city through entertainment access. In Daly City, Filipinos can pick up several newspaper copies of the Philippine News, Manila Bulletin, Manila Mail, and the nationally distributed Filipinas Magazine.

4. San Diego County

If Filipino food cravings touch your mind, San Diego is the perfect place to visit. The county holds the second largest Filipino American population of any county in the country of about 180,000 population. Due to Filipinos’ huge population, more Filipino food spots can be expected to be found such as lumpia, pancit, and sinangag.

Photo credits to San Diego Reader

For lumpia cravings, Fredcel’s Lumpia and Catering is the long-standing spot for those looking for large orders or even solo orders as well. Lumpia by piece is under a dollar and with combo meals, you can choose to have sinangag or pancit.

Living abroad can be extremely thrilling and challenging especially if you grew up in a country far from where you are living now. But feeling of disconnection and longing is normal as it is never easy to face an entirely different life. While getting the feels of the Philippines cannot be obtained by the Filipinos in California, the mentioned suggested places can still ease the missing part of remembering back home.

Photo credits SOMA Pilipinas,Temple University Press, and Bahay Natin Food Mart

Written by Karisma Primero

Karisma Primero is currently a Digital Marketing Intern of PS Media Enterprise, and a 3rd year Broadcasting student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines - Manila.

Andrei de Guzman

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