Springtime unveiling of Historic Filipinotown Eastern Gateway

“After many years, countless meetings, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, I’m proud to share that the Historic Filipinotown Eastern Gateway will be installed and unveiled this spring,” said Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, who represents Historic Filipinotown on the Los Angeles City Council. “This project has been a labor of love by so many people…This beautiful, historic landmark will be a source of pride for the Filipino community, and will rightfully celebrate this vibrant neighborhood and the incredible contributions Filipino Americans make to the City of Los Angeles.”

The gateway, officially called “Talang Gabay – Our Guiding Star,” was commissioned by the City of Los Angeles and has a construction cost of $587,000. It will rise 30 feet high and span 82 feet across the width of Beverly Boulevard, at the eastern entrance into Historic Filipinotown. The project, which features the work of Filipino American artists Eliseo Art Silva and Celestino Geronimo, Jr., has numerous design elements, including: the Parol; the Gumamela flower also known as hibiscus, which pays tribute to frontline workers; and the Sarimanok. All are symbols with deep roots in Filipino culture.

Los Angeles Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell

“The key to building and enhancing the beautiful neighborhood we all know as Historic Filipinotown has always been community. The community has long advocated for more visibility and was committed to bringing the Eastern Gateway to life, and thanks to Councilmember O’Farrell’s leadership and all our community partners, we are almost at the finish line,” said Commissioner Jessica Caloza, City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works. The effort to install a landmark at the eastern entrance to Historic Filipinotown has been in the works for nearly two decades, beginning with a community study of Historic Filipinotown improvements commissioned in March 2003 by then-Councilmember Eric Garcetti. When O’Farrell took office in 2013, he worked with the Filipino American community to continue many improvements that were being advocated for by local stakeholders, including: the restoration of the “Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana” (A Glorious History, A Golden Legacy) mural at Unidad Park, HiFi Highlights, beautification of the HiFi Western Gateway, and to identify funding for the Eastern Gateway. In 2018, through Council motion, O’Farrell committed an initial $152,000 for the Eastern Gateway Project and then identified additional funding that would pave the way for completing this historic landmark. With full funding finally secured, construction began in March 2021.

The project has involved many community-based organizations, including longtime legacy non-profits such as the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC), Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA), and the Filipino American Service Group Inc (FASGI).

“Our community finally had a ‘win’ in 2002, when the City Council, under the leadership of then-Councilmember Eric Garcetti, officially designated a 2.5 square mile area just west of downtown Los Angeles as Historic Filipinotown,” said Joselyn Geaga-Rosenthal, local community leader and Building and Safety Commissioner with the City of Los Angeles. “20 years later, we have another win: a majestic Eastern Gateway to Historic Filipinotown will rise on Beverly Boulevard!”

From left: Jessica Caloza,  Aquilina Soriano Versoza, and Joselyn Geaga-Rosenthal

“The gateway is a great project for creating visibility for the Filipino American community in HiFi and Los Angeles. That visibility gives organizations like PWC more power to lift up the issues our community is facing,” said Aquilina Soriano Versoza, executive director of Pilipino Workers Center (PWC).  

“At this eastern entrance into Historic Filipinotown is another demonstration that we are a pillar that continues to serve those living in and outside the neighborhood,” said Lyle del Mundo, former board president, Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA).

“Our community has been waiting for this for so long,” said Cecile Ramos, longtime community leader. “Dreams do come true! As someone who has lived and worked in this neighborhood for many years, I am grateful that our beautiful community is being celebrated for its contributions to our great city.”

VP LENI ROBREDO interview with Boy Abunda CLICK HERE

© The FilAm 2022

One Comment

  1. Lizbeth H wrote:

    Great info.

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