The Manilatown Heritage Foundation produces a variety of affordable family-friendly programming at the International Hotel Manilatown Center. As a multipurpose gallery that honors the I-Hotel Eviction and Historic Manilatown legacies we stand as  both a museum to these legacies and a community gathering space offering programming relevant to today’s community.

Club Mandalay
Kommunity Kultura
Manilatown MovieTime
Remember, Recover & Reclaim with Dr. Estella Habal

Club Mandalay presents “manilatown music” with carlos zialcita
Friday, december 4TH at 6:15pm

Please join us for another evening of Manilatown Muisic at Club Mandalay,

the Manilatown Heritage Foundation’s Virtual Jazz Club!

From the 1920s to the mid 1960s, the neighborhood of the International Hotel housed the first Filipino community or “village” in San Francisco. The neighborhood eventually became known as “Manilatown” but during its heyday when as many as 20,000 Filipinos lived there, Filipinos referred to it as “Filipino Town” or simply “Kearny Street.” In addition to being a housing and economic center, Manilatown also provided a social network and cultural center. After WWII, Filipinos followed the migration patterns of other ethnic minorities who were drawn to the cities for greater economic opportunities. Filipinos were allowed to become citizens starting in 1943, many of them reuniting with the wives they had left behind, or married “war brides” they had met during their service in the Armed Forces. They were permitted to bring their families with them from the Philippines to become naturalized citizens in hopes of pursuing “The American Dream.”

MANILATOWN MUSIC honors the music and contributions made by our early “musikeros” here in the United States. Host Carlos Zialcita will feature compositions and interpretations of songs popular with Filipino Americans over the many generations, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area. The different bands and artists over the years that he will honor and celebrate include “The Manila Swingsters”, a small San Francisco based orchestra that featured Lorenzo Calica and Nestor “Douglas” Regino on saxophones. Other bands from this early era of Pinoy Jazz pioneers include “The Gaylanders”, and the “Manila Serenaders”, who toured parts of the United States in the mid 1930s, and are featured in Fred Cordova’s iconic and groundbreaking book, “Filipinos: Forgotten Asian Americans”.

Tonight’s performance will be a tribute to the generations of newly arrived immigrants to the shores of San Francisco and other cities where there was a significant emerging Filipino population whose musical tastes were catered to by numerous musicians, singers and entertainers who performed in the San Francisco’s Chinatown and Manilatown..

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Kommunity Kultura
Thursday, march 25th at 6pm

Kommunity Kultura is back at Manilatown via Zoom!
Please join Katuuran Lyn Pacificar as she presents
“Ating Gamot II: Introduction to Our Native Philippine Plant Relatives”
Thursday, March 25th 6pm

Kommunity Kultura is our traditional Philippine music, movement and cultural education program usually taking place at San Francisco’s International Hotel Manilatown Center but coming to you on this date online via Zoom. Each of our family-friendly workshops focus on a new topic, are oftentimes hands-on, and are accessible to all ages and levels of ability.

This month Manilatown is happy to be welcoming back Katuuran Lyn Pacificar as she presents Atin Gamot II: Introduction to Our Native Philippine Plant Relatives.

“Ating Gamot” translates to “Our Medicine” in Tagalog. In part 2 of the Ating Gamot series, Katuuran Lyn Pacificar will be introducing us to a variety of Philippine plant relatives, from widely cultivated to the most vulnerable species. Her intention for this session is to bring awareness, appreciation, and conservation of Philippine plant biodiversity and to show us how these plants are locally integrated in food, medicine, infrastructure, and spirituality.

Please join us for another enlightening Kommunity Kultura event by registering at

Katuuran Lyn Pacificar is of Ilongga and Waray lineage, directly descended from Katuuran Apong Mansanat, and is the daughter of a manghihilot and Filipino Martial Arts Master Eskrimador. She receives Ancestral direction and immediately follows protocoled ritual to access the truth in healing, and delivers its guidance by using a combination of modalities including: prayers, hilot (a traditional form of manual energetic therapy), diagnostic readings, divination, and spirit communication. She serves as a mouthpiece of her ninuno (Ancestors), and enjoys helping people gain clarity of direction and access their own powers of self-healing. In addition, she maintains her connection to the Motherland, the Philippines, and manages Ancestral farms on the islands of Dinagat, Panay, and Mindanao. Currently, Katuuran Lyn Pacificar is writing several books and co-authored two best-selling books (Awakening Starseeds and In Her Purpose), ia creating an oracle deck to promote nature conservation efforts, and is a Transformational Alchemist of The School for the Ecocene DIY Ph.D. Program. She is a certified Reiki Master of Usui Holy Fire Reiki Lineage, member of the Society for Shamanic Practice, and currently lives on Tongva Land in East Hollywood, California, with her family.


Social Media Links:
Instagram: @iamherbalaria
Facebook: @iamherbalaria
Twitter: @IamHerbalaria

Kommunity Kultura is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at:

Manilatown Movie Time

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Please join the Manilatown Heritage Foundation for an Online Manilatown MovieTime Watch Party of two films PINOY JAZZ (2006) and NICO’S SAMPAGUITA (2012) followed by a Community Discussion with two of the producers of PINOY JAZZ, Richie Quirino and Collis Davis, and Aaron Woolfolk, director of NICO’S SAMPAGUITA, along with Esperanza Catubig, one of the writers and an actress in the same film. Upon registration on EventBrite you will receive links to watch the film at 6:00pm and another to join the Panel Discussion on Zoom at 7:30pm.

PINOY JAZZ The Story of Jazz in the Philippines is based on Richie Quirino’s 3 books namely – “Pinoy Jazz Traditions” which won the Philippine 2004 National Book Award in the music category, “Mabuhay Jazz” in 2008, and “Contemporary Jazz in the Philippines” in 2011 all published by Anvil. PINOY JAZZ is a 70 minute video documentary that provides the first-ever documentation of the development of jazz in the Philippines, from its infancy in 1898, when Filipinos were first exposed to Black music performed by African-American soldiers, to its present-day maturity in which musicians are turning to indigenous sources for inspiration. Incorporating historical still photography, turn-of-the century film footage, maps, old recordings, present-day performances and interviews with veteran and contemporary musicians, the video presents an eye-opening view into the history and art of jazz as it developed in the Philippines over the 20th century.

In 2006, the Filipino Channel of ABS-CBN Global, broadcasted the documentary on its worldwide network reaching over a million Filipinos. In the next three years, the documentary was screened at the U.S. Embassy’s 3-day Jazz Festival called “60 Years of Harmony”. It has also been shown at the Java Jazz Festival, Jakarta, Indonesia; FACINE Festival, San Francisco; the Chicago Fil-Am Festival; the 3rd Fil-Am Jazz Festival, Los Angeles; the JZ School, Shanghai, China; and Culture Unplugged in India.

This new 2012 Limited Edition features updated material which includes interviews and/or performances with club owner-singer Myra “Skarlet” Ruaro, bluesman Binky Lampano, and Filipino American vocalist Charmaine Clamor of JazzPhil USA, and pianist Bobby Enriquez. Bonus items include rare footage of drummer Danny Barcelona (8 min) and also-saxophonist Gabe Baltazar, Jr. (9 ½ min).~

Set in San Francisco’s Fillmore jazz district, NICO’S SAMPAGUITA is about a grieving woman’s struggle with the death of her husband, a jazz saxophonist, as she tries to prevent her teenage son from making the same mistakes his father did. The film was written by Esperanza Catubig, Aaron Woolfolk, and Jenny Pauer. The cast includes Esperanza Catubug, Darion Basco, Jon Jon Briones, and JD Charisma. The soundtrack for the short film features Jonathan Bautista, and Ben Luis. The World Premiere was held at the Clay Theatre in San Francisco in 2012.

NICO’S SAMPAGUITA was an Official Selection of the Texas Independent Film Festival and was screened in April 2015 in Bryant, TX. In 2013, during Filipino American History Month, it was shown at the Koret Auditorium in the San Francisco Main Library and presented by Pilipino-American Writers & Artists, Inc., San Francisco Public Library, & The Philippine Consulate of SF at the 2nd Annual Filipino-American International Book Festival. The film launched the festival and preceded the PINOY JAZZ documentary by Richie Quirino. NICO’S SAMPAGUITA was also shown at The Reel Black Men Film Festival at the Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles in 2013. The film has been an official selection for 13 Film Festivals, in several different countries.

We are deeply honored and pleased to present both of these groundbreaking films to our jazz kababayans here in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, and we thank Richie Quirino, Collis Davis, Aaron Woolfolk, and Esperanza Catubig for creating relevant films about the shared culture between Filipinos and Filipino Americans that we can all watch, understand and enjoy.

We are deeply honored and pleased to present both of these groundbreaking films to our kababayans here in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, and we thank both Richie Quirino and Esperanza Catubig for creating relevant films about the shared culture between Filipinos and Filipino Americans that we can all watch, understand and enjoy.~

The Manilatown Heritage Foundation is proud to present Manilatown MovieTime, a series of specially programmed Filipino film screenings and community discussions. Hosted by Carlos Zialcita, Manilatown MovieTime is designed to showcase Philippine and Filipino-American related movies, filmmakers, actors and crews, infusing their art and insight into our vibrant, diverse community through film. Each Manilatown MovieTime screening will feature the following:

  • A panel discussion led by writer, poet, actor and Ethnic Studies Professor Oscar Peñaranda
  • A presentation on the importance of Filipino Films in the Filipino-American Community
  • Meet & Greets with Actors, Directors, Cinematographers, and Filipino movie enthusiasts.

Register for Manilatown MovieTime via

REMEMBER, RECOVEr, RECLAIM with dr. estella habaL
saturday, february 20th at 1pm
“Bigger than life:
deepening the dimensions of our descendents’ stories”

Please join us in our fourth discussion in the Remember, Recover, Reclaim series, hosted by Dr. Estella Habal. This series remembers our Filipino-American community members who labored, organized, worshipped, danced, lived and died in San Francisco’s Manilatown neighborhood and beyond. This program recovers these stories to reclaim our heritage.
Our February 20th program, co-sponsored by the Philippine American Writers and Artists, Incorporated (PAWA), is entitled, Bigger Than Life: Deepening the Dimensions of our Descendants’ Stories. It features the story of Celestino Alfafara and the Alfafara Family.
Celestino Tagimacruz Alfafara (1898-1990) may best be known for the victorious case he filed in 1945, challenging the Alien Land Act of 1921, that went to the California Supreme Court, Alfafara v. Fross. Through this case, Filipinos gained the right to own property in California. Both the Fil-Am Community and people in personal life often described him as “bigger than life.” Hear stories first hand from Mr. Alfafara’s granddaughter Lisa Sugitan Melnick and niece Herminia A. Florido about his presence in their lives and how their own paths may, or may not have, been shaped by his legacy.
We look forward to having you join us for this FREE Family-Friendly program.
Please register via

Estella Habal, PhD. Dr Habal is an Original Defender of the International Hotel, a San Jose State University Professor Emerita, and author of the definitive book on the International Hotel Eviction, San Francisco’s International Hotel: Mobilizing the Filipino American Community in the Anti-Eviction Movement.

Lisa Suguitan Melnick is a third generation Fil-Am of Ilokano and Cebuano roots, and the granddaughter of Celestino T. Alfafara. A writer/author, she considers story sharing one of the most powerful and beautiful ways to connect oneself with others. She is the author of #30 Collantes Street (Carayan Press, 2015) and also a correspondent for Lisa’s published pieces in Positively Filipino earned Plaridel Awards in 2020 for Best Profile Writing (“The Scholar Unplugged”), Best Feature Writing (“Utom Unfolds T’boli Myths Through Music”) and in 2015, Best Entertainment Story (“Maség: An Artistic Tempest”). Her work is also published in Beyond Lumpia, Pansit, and Seven Manangs Wild,edited by Evangeline Buell et al (Eastwind Books, 2014) and The New Filipino Kitchen, edited by Jacqueline Chio-Lauri (Agate Surrey Press, 2018. Lisa wrote a piece on her grandfather for Positively Filipino in 2013 titled “Celestino’s Crusades.

Herminia A. Florido, the daughter of Cecilia, one of Celestino’s younger sisters, was born in Carcar. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts from St. Theresa’s College in Cebu, she obtained an Master of Arts at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles CA and an Master of Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. Her social work career spanned over 40 years in counseling, mental health and protective services. Herminia first met her Uncle (“Manoy Tinoy” to his family) when she was 12 years old, during his 1949 visit to the Philippines. She has vivid memories of a man who was magical with children. He left in the middle of the Partido Liberal political convention prior to the presidential elections, in order to honor a promise to treat three kids to an ice cream parlor. He was indeed a very special person. She last saw him in Los Angeles in 1984.