Part of Echo Park’s great eats, luxurious parks, and vintage finds is L.A.’s historic Filipinotown. This neighborhood boasts a diverse and fascinating legacy that lasts to this day. Whether you’re swinging by for great food, to tour one of the fascinating historic landmarks, or just explore the district, Filipinotown is a must see for anyone near Echo Park.
Photo Credit: LA Curbed
More than just another neighborhood in L.A., Historic Filipinotown was created in 2002 by a resolution intended to promote “economic, civic, commercial, cultural, industrial, and educational interests of local residents, business owners, and other stakeholders.” Filipinotown itself is made out of two L.A. districts, Silver Lake to the northwest and Echo park to the southeast.
Filipinotown is the first official geographic designation by any city outside the Philippines honoring Filipinos. In 1920, a wave of Filipino immigrants made up mostly of young unmarried men, arrived in Los Angeles due to American agricultural industries’ need for workers, especially in California. Many of the workers faced racial stigma, forcing them to band together in communities of like-minded individuals. For more than two decades, the Filipino community lived in Little Manilla. Opening restaurants, barbershops, and pool halls, the Filipinos lived and socialized together in Little Manilla.
Today, Historic Filipinotown has changed along with Los Angeles. Although still maintaining a large Filipino population, Filipinotown is now minority Filipino, the old population being overshadowed by ethnically Mexican and Central Americans. However, out of the 600,000 Filipinos living in Los Angeles, 10,000 continue to call Historic Filipinotown home.
Visiting Historic Filipinotown? Be sure to stop by the famous landmarks:
The Filipino Christian Church and St. Columbian Filipino Catholic Church stand as a testament to the religious history of Historic Filipinotown. Supposedly, the quarters from which the churches grew were the original starting point for the neighborhood! As one of the first Christian churches established to serve Filipino Americans, a number of key organizations in the American Filipino community use the churches as a locus point.
Photo Credit: Leyland S.
Don’t forget to check out Unidad Park, one of the most recognizable landmarks in Historic Filipinotown. The design for Unidad Park was conceptualized by leaders of the Filipino community and based on the artwork submitted by mural artist Eliseo Silva. Unidad Park features a traditional Dap-ay used by students, a sandbox for young children, and barbecue grills for use by families and parties.
Historic Filipinotown also hosts the Filipino American WWII Veterans Memorial, dedicated to the 250,000 Filipino and 7,000 Filipino American soldiers who fought for the United States in World War II. Five slabs of black granite commemorates the history of the veterans, from the battlefields in Europe and Asia, to the fight for equality in the United States.
If you’re interested in visiting Filipinotown for the first time, or want to experience the best the district can offer, stop by August 6th for the 14th Annual Filipinotown Festival running from 9am – 6pm!
Real Estate Unlimited has been serving the neighborhoods around the Historic Filipinotown for over thirty years. If you’re interested in learning more about the history of downtown L.A., or would like help with your real estate needs, please get in touch!