The Largest Filipino-American Monument in the U.S. Is in Los Angeles
The next time you visit Los Angeles, you shouldn't miss the chance to take a closer look at the largest Filipino-American monument in the United States. Don't worry, we reckon you're probably not going to miss this 30-foot-tall landmark when you're in the area.
"Talang Gabay - Our Guiding Star" happens to be the name of the new Historic Filipinotown Eastern Gateway. Its unveiling coincided with the celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month last April.
The gateway spans 82 feet over the boulevard entrance into the Filipinotown neighborhood and is said to be a tribute to the invaluable contributions of Filipino-Americans to the city.
For the landmark's design, the officials tapped Filipino-American artists Eliseo Art Silva and Celestino Geronimo Jr. As seen in the details, we can see they added cultural symbols like the parol, gumamela, and the iconic Sarimanok.
According to Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, the construction of the monument comes with the initial commitment of $152,000 (or P7,975,895) in city funds for the project. The city had then allotted an additional $452,000 (or P23,721,383) for the landmark after costs saving.
It took almost 20 years for the monument to be delivered to the public and Filipinotown. Even current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who used to be a councilmember when the idea for the gateway was first conceived, supported the construction of the monument.
In his speech during the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the Los Angeles Mayor said, "This isn't just a big day for Historic Filipinotown or Hi-Fi, as some people call it, but for our City of Angels as well, because we celebrate all of our diversity."
Filipino-Americans have become the largest Asian-American population in California, as per a 2010 Census. About 43 percent of the Filipino-American population in the U.S. reside in the state. Filipinotown in Los Angeles is also home to about 500,000 people of Filipino descent.