A Chat with Giselle “G” Tongi-Walters & Marcie Taylor about the Upcoming FPAC 2022

After a 5-year hiatus, the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture (FPAC) is back in La La Land on Sept 3. I am stoked to be chattin’ with two of the Board Members of FilAm ARTS: Giselle “G” Tongi-Walters, Executive Director and Marcie Taylor, Secretary,

Giselle Töngi has long been active in the entertainment industry with over two decades of TV experience in both the Asian/American market. Primarily recognized for her acting in film, television and TV in the Philippines, winning several awards & nominations for her work. Töngi is a graduate of the UCLA with a communications degree and double minor in film and theater.

Giselle G Tongi-Walters - Executive Director- FilAm Arts
Giselle G Tongi-Walters – Executive Director- FilAm Arts

Marcie Taylor is a social media consultant, marketing professional, and freelance writer. She has written for the Orange County Register, Pelican Hill Resort Magazine, LA Travel Magazine, the Huntington Beach Visitors Guide, and Filipinas Magazine. Born and raised in Manila, she moved to the U.S. in 2000. She is the author of the book “Missing Mangoes: For Filipinos and Those Who Love Us,” a collection of personal essays about her experiences as an immigrant in New Jersey.

Marcie Taylor - Secretary - FilAm Arts
Marcie Taylor – Secretary – FilAm Arts

Find out what they have to say about Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture upcoming event.

Popbuff: I heard the buzz about a special event in September, what is the name of the event? Where is the venue and what guests can expect?
Marcie: The event is the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture, popularly known as FPAC. It is produced by FilAm Arts which is the organization we are a part of. It is our first time back in person after a hiatus and it will be held on September 3, Saturday, 4-10 pm at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles. We have a variety of world-class performers from the Rondalla Club of LA to rapper Ruby Ibarra. We have food booths selling pastries like ube ensaymada and custard ube cakes, traditional savory foods like lumpia and Filipino BBQ, and more! There will also be the Don Papa Rum Garden for ages 21+ (this is the only part of the festival that requires paid tickets.) We’ll have vendors too like Sunkissed Pinay and myBarong. We even have a COVID-19 vaccine clinic. Best of all, the event is free and open to the public.
Giselle: Now in it’s 28th year and back in person after five years, FPAC is the longest running Filipino Festival in SoCal. This year for the first time it will be held at MacArthur Park at the Levitt Pavilion. Visitors can expect Filipino food booths, Filipino small vendors with their merch for sale, visual artists presenting their work and a lineup up mainstage artists as well as spoken word, with a beer and rum garden for VIP attendees.

Popbuff: This is your first year as the secretary of FilAm Arts what have you learned and gained from the organization personally and professionally?
Marcie: Technically this is my second year as Secretary of FilAm Arts. I am in awe of my fellow board members and the greater community that is the Filipino-American family. Professionally, I have met the most amazing and talented Filipino/ Fil-Ams/ Filpinx working in the arts and entertainment industries. I have collaborated with many of them on both FilAm Arts and personal projects. Personally. being a part of FilAm Arts has helped me reconnect with my Filipino identity. I actually attended a few FPAC events with my family way before I became a member of the board. It was a great way to introduce my kids to Filipino culture.

FPAC 2022 - Illustration by Ben Lee DeGuzman
FPAC 2022 – Illustration by Ben Lee DeGuzman

Popbuff: What is your experience with the past FILAM Arts event? What do you say is the challenging part of planning and promoting the FILAM Arts event?
Giselle: FilAm Arts events always serve the mission of amplifying and advocating for Filipino American artists and culture bearers. The most challenging part of planning and promoting an event of this magnitude is the funding as we are severely under funded still by mainstream American entities.

Popbuff: How will this be different from the past years
Giselle: This will be different from past years because we are moving away from traditional Filipino festival programming. We want to elevate our community by presenting world-class acts to our community and beyond. It is and always been a community endeavor and for community by community.

Some FilAM Arts board members and volunteers during the private screening of Easter Sunday with cast members Melody Butiu & Tia Carrere
Some FilAM Arts board members & volunteers during the private screening of Easter Sunday with cast members Melody Butiu & Tia Carrere at The Grove in Los Angeles

Popbuff: As a secretary for FilAm Arts can you tell us what your role entails?
Marcie: Ha ha. I think I got chosen as Secretary because I’m always taking notes. As part of the Board of Directors for FilAm Arts, I am part of the team that guides and shapes the organization and helps achieve its mission of advancing Filipino-American artists and culture bearers, by sharing resources, providing platforms, and building community.

Popbuff: What is your message for the guests?
Marcie: This year’s festival theme is “Abante” which means to move forward. We invite everyone to join us on Saturday, September 3 from 4-10 PM as we move forward into the future.

For Festival updates and info, visit http://www.filamarts-fpac.org
For info about FilAm Arts, visit http://filamartsla.org

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