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.

August 4th Commemoration
Club Mandalay
Kommunity Kultura
Manilatown MovieTime


August 4th commemoration

Please join Manilatown for a day of Remembrance of the
1977 International Hotel Eviction

  • 1-6pm: International Hotel Manilatown Center Gallery Hours featuring the Manilatown Archive photos of Eviction-era photographers Tony Remington, Chris Fujimoto, Fred Mar and Jim Dong


  • 6-7pm: Community Screening of Curtis Choy’s “The Fall of the I-Hotel”


  • 7-8pm: Community Sharing of Stories inspired by the Manilatown Archive photographs

IMPORTANT NOTE: In accordance with San Francisco’s directive that all attendees of indoor public events must wear masks regardless of vaccination status, the Manilatown staff will be actively enforcing mandatory mask wearing during this public event from 1-6pm.


“This land is too valuable to let poor people park on it.” So said Justin Herman, Executive Director of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, in 1977 to give credibility to the “urban renewal” project in San Francisco that sought to buy up buildings and evict people who were poor, old, black and brown. In the Fillmore, it was known as the “negro removal” plan and in downtown San Francisco, the International Hotel of Manilatown, became the center of the movement against ideologies like those of Justin Herman. The longest eviction battle to date was one result of this movement. The commitment to affordable housing and the fight for social justice in the Filipino and Asian communities was another. The story of the I-Hotel is one of great significance as we enter a more modern era of gentrification in the city.


The International Hotel was a low-income residential hotel that became the most dramatic housing-rights battleground in San Francisco history. As a center for Filipino and Asian American activism in the 1970s, the building housed nearly 150 Filipino and Chinese seniors, three community groups, an art workshop, a radical bookstore and three Asian newspapers. The “I-Hotel” as it was more commonly known to the community, stood on the last remaining block of Manilatown, a once-thriving Filipino neighborhood that was gradually displaced by San Francisco’s expanding financial district.


From 1968 to 1977, landlords of the hotel tried to evict the residents and build a parking lot. Resisting eviction for almost a decade, the tenants organized a mass-based, multiracial alliance which included students, unions and churches. During the final 3am eviction on August 4, 1977, over 3,000 people unsuccessfully defended the I-Hotel from hundreds of club-wielding riot police. The building was demolished in 1979, and it remained a vacant hole for over two decades. Thanks to a concerted effort by local neighborhood groups, the I-Hotel was rebuilt in 2005, providing 104 units of low-income senior housing and the International Hotel Manilatown Center to continue the legacy of Manilatown.

The Commemoration of the I-Hotel Eviction is an important annual remembrance event for the Manilatown Heritage Foundation in which we invite the general public to be in community with us to recall the legacy of the I-Hotel Anti-Eviction Struggle and share memories of Historic Manilatown.

For more information about our August 4th Commemoration, the International Hotel Manilatown Center or the Manilatown Heritage Foundation please contact u at

Club Mandalay
august 2021
Club Mandalay in Chinatown FacebookEventbrite (1)

Manilatown and  The Autonomous Region are taking our
“Club Mandalay” show to the streets of Chinatown in August!

  • Saturday, August 7th at 2pm: Please join us for an afternoon of live Jazz when Manilaton co-presents its Club Mandalay show with our San Francisco Chinatown neighbor arts venue the, Clarion Performing Arts Center, at 2 Waverly Place. On this date the I-Hotel’s house jazz band, The Autonomous Region, will be featuring Caroline Cabading on vocals, Raymond Bambao on Bass, Chris Planas on Guitar, Mark Lee on Drums and Vince Khoe on Keyboard.

  •  Saturday, August 14th at 1pm: Please join us for another afternoon of live Jazz when Manilaton presents Club Mandalay on the 700 block of Grant Avenue as part of San Francisco’s Weekend Walkways program. On this date the I-Hotel’s house jazz band, The Autonomous Region, will be featuring Caroline Cabading on vocals, Ben Luis on Bass, Chris Planas on Guitar, Harold Ohashi on Drums and Vince Khoe on Keyboard.


  • Saturday, August 28th time TBD: The Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco holds an annual Chinatown Music Festival in August and this year The Autonomous Region is happy to be performing there for the first time! This celebration is a day of free outdoor music and cultural exploration. Those who attend can expect a fun day full of music, dance, crafts, games, and cultural diversity in Chinatown’s Portsmouth Square. This multi-cultural festival creates a deeper understanding of the creativity and diversity of Chinatown, and what the community has to offer through music. On this date the I-Hotel’s house jazz band, The Autonomous Region, will be featuring Caroline Cabading on vocals, Ben Luis on Bass, Chris Planas on Guitar, Harold Ohashi on Drums and Vince Khoe on Keyboard.

We hope to see you there at these FREE family-friendly events! 

Kommunity Kultura
saturday, july 24th at 1pm

Kommunity Kultura FacebookEventbrite

Kommunity Kultura is back at the International Hotel Manilatown Center!

Please join Manilatown for another Beginner Level Hands-on Workshop

Saturday, July 24th at 1pm

“Kommunity Kultura” is our traditional Philippine music, movement and cultural education program taking place at San Francisco’s International Hotel Manilatown Center once a month on Saturday afternoons. This program emphasizes hands-on instruction on the pre-colonial Philippine cultural traditions.

Our July 2021 Kommunity Kultura workshop will feature the rhythms of the timekeeper instrument of the kulintang ensemble, the Babendil hand held gong.

When you register ahead of time through EventBrite for this FREE July 24th program,
you will also receive a Thank  You gift from us:


This project has been made possible in part by a grant from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, in partnership with the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Grants for the Arts and The California Endowment.
ACTA Logo        

For more information about Kommunity Kultura, please email us at

Manilatown Movie Time


Register for Manilatown MovieTime via

Please join Manilatown for an IN PERSON/ONLINE Watch Party of short films by ELI AFRICA followed by a Community Discussion with the film director.

IMPORTANT NOTE for In Person guests: In accordance with San Francisco’s directive that all attendees of indoor public events must wear masks regardless of vaccination status, the Manilatown staff will be actively enforcing mandatory mask wearing during this public event from 1-6pm.

NOTE for Online guests: Upon registration on EventBrite you will receive an email to watch the Zoom Livestream at 2:00pm Sunday, August 8 (PDT). The livestream on Zoom is ONLY shown live at that time and will not be available to watch afterwards.


The Impersonator [00:13]

During the Coronavirus outbreak, a character goes on the air.

Bus Wrap Art [01:44]

A social media response to SamTrans launching new anti-racism artwork on buses and shelters in support of the AAPI community.

The Story of Frai [03:43]

Inspired by the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) around the world who make sacrifices to provide for their families in the Philippines.

Al Robles Express [07:06]

A few Filipino-Americans go on a soul-searching pilgrimage to the Philippines.

Empanada [03:00]

Vigan is famous not only for its architecture and horse carriages but also for Empanada, a delicacy inspired by colonial Spain.

Payatas Peace Park [08:23]

Paul Galang, social advocate, Poet, and Executive Director of ABAKADANG Kayumanggi, coordinates an annual Japanese student study tour group, empowering them to experience, share and learn from social, economic & cultural encounters with the urban poor communities of Metro Manila, Philippines.

Lolo’s Present [05:20]

A Filipino migrant family living in the San Francisco Bay Area welcomes an elderly relative from the Philippines.

The Two Brothers Who Raised Me [04:35]

A story of two brothers whose journeys from the Philippines to California unfold through the years.

Selling Songs of Leyte [14:27]

Best Foreign Short Documentary [2004 New York International Independent Film & Video Festival]. On the Philippine island province of Leyte, market day shifts from town to town where locals flock to get their basic needs. Among a few of the dried fish vendors, wares are sold using the rhythm of the songs they sing.



Eli Africa is a multimedia artist living in El Cerrito, California. He earned his Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Visual Communications from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, and a Master of Arts degree in Multimedia Communications from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

Eli was born in San Bernardino, California to Filipino immigrant parents. When his father retired from the U.S. Army, he immigrated to the Philippines with his family and lived there until he graduated from college. Upon moving back to California, he landed visual art jobs as a freelancer and worked in art production houses. During one of his trips back to the Philippines, he was invited to teach at his alma mater, the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts, where he taught freshmen and sophomore students for five years.

Soon after he got married and started a family, he moved back to California with his wife and two kids and started from scratch all over again. Drawing faces was something he did for fun as a young art student. In fact, one of his first gigs upon returning to California was drawing caricatures on San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. He has since worked with the Bay Area Discovery Museum, Children’s Creativity Museum, Asian Pacific Fund, Youth Speaks, the Exploratorium, de Young Museum, and the University of California Santa Cruz Silicon Valley Extension. Eli is now a freelancer creating assets for print, short-form video, and the web.


We are deeply honored and pleased to present these wonderful films to our kababayans here in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, and we thank ELI AFRICA 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 Annie Panlibuton-Barnes, 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, april 24th 1pm
“hidden treasures:
the jewels within the filipino american center”

RRR Postcard

Please join us for our fifth 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 April 24th program welcomes Filipino American Center Librarian Abraham Ignacio, past San Francisco Public Library Commissioner Ernest Llorente and City Archivist Susan Goldstein, who will lead us into the little known riches found in unexpected corners of the San Francisco Public Library! Whom might you want them to help you find? Generations of Filipino Americans, family histories and poetry perhaps?
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.

AbeAbraham (Abe) Ignacio, Jr. is the librarian for the Filipino American Center at the San Francisco Public Library. He received his Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS) in 2014 from San Jose State University. Abe completed his B.A. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. With Enrique de la Cruz, Jorge Emmanuel and Helen Toribio, he co-authored The Forbidden Book: The Philippine American War in Political Cartoons. He is a member of the East Bay chapter of the Filipino American Historical Society.

ErnieErnest Llorente is a native San Franciscan whose parents immigrated to San Francisco after World War II. He graduated with an undergraduate degree in History from UC Berkeley and obtained his Juris Doctor Degree from UC Davis. He served as a Trial Attorney for the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office for 22 years then continued his service to San Francisco as a Civil Litigation Prosecutor for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office for ten years. While serving as a government attorney he also served the City as Chairman of the Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections.

Ernest Llorente was one of the seven Founding Members of the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California (FBANC) and served as the FBANC’s second President. He is pleased to say that the FBANC was able to support and mentor new Filipino attorneys including Bill Tamayo, the current Managing Attorney for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for the Western Region.

After Willie Brown Jr. was elected Mayor of San Francisco, he appointed Mr. Llorente to the San Francisco Public Library Commission, where he later served as its President. Ernest Llorente considers himself fortunate to have contributed to the development of the Affinity Centers in the new San Francisco Main Library.

susanSusan Goldstein has served as the City Archivist of San Francisco for over 25 years, documenting the city’s official and unofficial history at the San Francisco History Center at the San Francisco Public Library. The History Center collects and preserves the archives of the City and County of San Francisco, as well as maintains a local history collection, an extensive photograph collection, and a public reading room. Goldstein also spearheads a number of digital projects for SFPL, including the “Shades of San Francisco” project, setting up photo collecting days in different San Francisco neighborhoods in order to add more images of ethnic diversity and representation to the library archives. Previously, Goldstein worked as the Archivist to Senator Alan Cranston for three years and at the Labor Archives and Research Center at San Francisco State University. Goldstein received her B.A. in American Studies from Brown University, an MLIS from UC Berkeley and her MA in History from UC Santa Barbara.

For more information about the Remember, Recover, Reclaim series or the Manilatown Heritage Foundation please contact us at:

Book Festival Artwork by Ella Romero