February 23, 2022
MANILA – Organizers of the Long Beach Filipino Festival are leading the drive for an officially designated Filipinotown in the city along Santa Fe Avenue in the lower Westside, a Filipino hub informally known as “Little Manila.”
Among the Filipino establishments on Santa Fe Avenue alone, are Edna’s Filipino Cuisine, Cuizina Filipino Restaurant, the Tambuli Supermarket, St. Lucy Catholic Church and Dollar Stix Filipino Exotic Grill.
Ralph Santos, executive director of the Long Beach Filipino Festival, and Filipinotown advocates envision a museum, a youth center that teaches Tagalog, a statue of Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, and support for the many Filipino businesses in the area.
Filipinos are the largest Asian population in the cities of Long Beach and Signal Hill, with 22,472 people identifying as Filipino. Filipinos make up 39% of the city’s 13% Asian population.
Assistant City Manager Linda Tatum said the City Council is always willing to listen and explore options for cultural spaces, and officials are already studying plans for more neighborhood-focused businesses. In June, an emergency ordinance blocked new residential building permits along two corridors on the Westside, to save space for such businesses.
Harold Dela Cruz, who works with Santos, said that recognition of the Filipino community should be included in those plans. A petition seeking City Council support for a Filipinotown is in the works.