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
Manilatown MovieTime

Kommunity Kultura
Remember, Recover & Reclaim with Dr. Estella Habal

Kommunity Kultura
sunday, september 20th at 2pm

Kommunity Kultura is back at Manilatown via Zoom!
Please join us for our next workshop on Sunday, September 20th at 2pm.

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 we are so happy to have as our guest Filmmaker and Traditional Philippine Culture Aficionado Fides Enriquez as she shares her stories and documentation of journeying to Lake Sebu to learn about the T’Boli cultural arts and the T’nalak weaving tradition in particular.

T’nalak is a traditional cloth found in Mindanao island made by the T’Boli people of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. This traditional cloth is hand-woven and made of Abaca fibers. The T’Boli weavers believe that the intricate and creative patterns of the T’nalak are manifestations of patterns seen in their dreams. The weavers cannot create a design of the T’nalak if they haven’t dreamed of it first. For this reason, the T’Boli weavers are often known as “Dream Weavers”.

The T’nalak fabric holds a special and prominent place in T’boli culture. It is ever present in significant turning points in a Tboli life, such as birth, marriage, and death. It is the medium which sanctifies these rites, enveloping them in the length of its fabric like a benediction. It has also often been referred to as “woven dreams”. It is exactly that, and more. In a culture which didn’t have a form of writing, the T’nalak served as both Literature and Art. The T’bolis express everything they are in the T’nalak: their dreams, beliefs, myths and even their spirituality.

Fides will share her own story as a child growing up in the Philippines, migrating to the United States at age 14, and joining a Philippine folk dance company in her 20s, where she discovered folk dance as a gateway to exploring identity. Using her own documentary video footage, photographs and audio/music recordings Fides will then talk about her research trips to Lake Sebu starting with her first journey as a member of the dance company Likha and how that first research trip ignited an intense interest in living folk traditions and gave her an epiphany of what she wanted to be “when she grew up”. Fides will then talk about her subsequent solitary journeys back to Lake Sebu in search of personal discovery and revelations about the traditional arts and what T’nalak means to her personally. Along the way, Fides will share the knowledge she gained about T’Boli culture from her living with and learning from the Lake Sebu Culture Bearers.

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Fides Enriquez wears many hats. She is an independent filmmaker, producer and director. She is an amateur ethnographer, explorer, curator, photographer, painter, a retired Philippine folk dancer, an eternal student, and forever a human being curious about the world. She produced the documentary film “Harana – The Search for the Lost Art of Serenade” as well as the short film “Weaving T’nalak”. She directed Gayle Romasanta’s musical, “Love in the Time of Breast Cancer”. She is currently creating videos and content at New Art Media with her partner in life Florante Aguilar. When she is not preoccupied doing any of the aforementioned, she is busy being a mother to four great kids, raising backyard hens, and putting around her succulent garden in Napa Valley.

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

REMEMBER, RECOVEr, RECLAIM with dr. estella habal
Saturday, september 26th at 1pm

Remember, Recover, Reclaim with Dr. Estella Habal

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Please join us for the  Remember, Recover, Reclaim Manilatown series hosted by Dr. Estella Habal, I-Hotel Original Defender, 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. This series will remember our Filipino ancestors who labored, organized, worshiped, danced, lived and died in San Francisco’s Manilatown neighborhood. We will recover these stories and reclaim our heritage.

In this second discussion, we will talk stories about the Movement and the Moment, from the moment of the anti-eviction battle to the movement for low-income housing in San Francisco, with Jeanette Lazam, former organizer as well as tenant at the International Hotel in the 1970s. We will also talk to Aryssa Alonzo, a young activist of the 2020s, how they organize, what moment inspires them, and to the movement of identities and Black Lives Matter.

We look forward to having you join us for this FREE Family-Friendly program.

Club Mandalay presents “manilatown Music” with carlos zialcita
Friday, october 9th at 6:15pm

Please join us for the Premiere of a new Club Mandalay feature,

“Manilatown Music” with Host Carlos Zialcita!

For many of our early Filipino immigrant pioneers, it was a time of great adversity. The “streets paved with gold and golden opportunities” was simply not there to greet them upon their arrival. On the contrary, despite their status as American Nationals, our Filipino Pioneers faced challenges on almost every level of society, from barriers to housing and employment to signs that explicitly proclaimed “Positively No Filipinos Allowed.”

Manilatown Music
honors the music and contributions made by our early “musikeros” here in the United States. We 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 we 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”.

This First Episode of Manilatown Music
will focus on the music of these early Pinoy big bands beginning with songs from the popular musicals of the days. These songs continue to be part of the “Great American Songbook” that Filipino Americans were familiar with was part of the repertoire of the musicians and singers from the Bay Area including Jo Canion, Primo Kim, Rudy Tenio, Mike Montano, Vince Gomez, George Muribus, and Flip Nunez.
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Manilatown Movie Time
Saturday, october 3rd 6pm

Please join the Manilatown Heritage Foundation for an Online Manilatown MovieTime Watch Party of the award-winning film PUROK 7 followed by a Community Discussion with the PUROK 7 Director Carlo Obispo.

Upon registration on EventBrite you will receive a link to watch the film at 6pm and another link to join in on the Panel Discussion at 7:30pm.

Directed by Carlo Obispo, PUROK 7 was shot in the director’s hometown in Tarlac, and depicts the way of rural life and how a small community comes to terms with the modern world.

In this impoverished little community live two siblings, 14-year-old Diana (Krystle Valentino) and younger brother, Julian (Miggs Cuaderno), whose mother works in China as a domestic helper. The absence of their mother prompts their father, Ogie (Arnold Reyes), to live in with a woman (Angeli Bayani) in the more populated part of the purok. Now building his second family, Ogie detaches himself from Diana and Julian. The two are left to live on their own in their small hut that stands alone in the middle of the fields. Amidst this difficult situation, Diana and Julian still see the world through the eyes of children: they still manage to laugh, have fun, and in Diana’s case, feel puppy love with the arrival of Jeremy (Julian Trono), her childhood friend, who arrives for a short vacation. The siblings deal with their deteriorating relationship with their father, their adjustment to their father’s mistress, and the struggle to remain hopeful after their mother is wrongfully accused of a crime she did not commit and is given a death sentence in a foreign land. But amidst all these trials, it effectively shows the inherent human compassion and the genuine concern for one’s fellow human beings, which is common among people in rural areas.

Obispo won the Spirit Award at the 2015 ASEAN International Film Festival for Best Director. The film also received the Best Film award at the 2014 Lucas International Festival of Films for Children and Young People. This heartfelt film also tackles the current plight of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and raises social awareness about their situations.


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 features the following:

  • A community 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.

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