Pistahan (Filipino) Festival

On Saturday, August 9, 2008, I took the train into San Francisco to go to Yerba Buena Gardens for the Pistahan (Filipino) Festival. I went last year; this year's festival was similar. It had the same food stands. The secondary stage was devoted entirely to hip-hop and rap. The booths covered the same range as last time, from books (on Filipino language, cooking, and history, as examples), to t-shirts (many gangsta style), to hats and handbags, and to booths staffed by the festival backers such as local banks, periodicals targeting Filipinos, the Filipino-American sheriff association (for public relations and recruiting), and the Filipino tourism bureau. And, also like last year, there was one "heritage" booth devoted to Filipino history and culture, much like a museum exhibit, and one devoted to art. I think more cultural festivals should have booths like these.

One booth that interested me was the one staffed by the transportation authority that promoted plans to run a new, underground T-line into Chinatown.

Aside from looking around, I sat in the grass, ate, and listened to the Filipino jazz group which happened to be playing at that time. I also explored, during which time I caught performances of operatic singing, a DJ spinning dance music, and Filipino folk dancing. Easily the most irritating feature of the festival was that the church across the street periodically rang bells, sometimes for upwards of a minute at a time, making it difficult for the audience to hear the music or announcements. It was clear the performers were also frustrated.

As I left the festival, I grabbed dessert, which I ate on the way to the train station and on the train. Although I didn't think I was going to cut it closely, I arrived in the station as they called "All Aboard."

Over the course of the day, I took some pictures of what I ate and a few videos of the performances I saw.

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