The Manilatown Heritage Foundation produces a variety of free family-friendly programming at the International Hotel Manilatown Center. As a multipurpose gallery and presentation space that honors the I-Hotel Eviction and Historic Manilatown legacy we are both a museum about this legacy and a home for a variety of present day multi-generational creative voices in the areas of visual art, performance art, education and advocacy. 

The Al Robles Express
Ang Paglalakbay ng Pag-Ibig
Club Mandalay
International Hotel Historical Tours
Kommunity Kultura
Manilatown Suite

 The Al Robles Express
Saturday, June 22nd at 7pm

Please join us for the premiere of “The Al Robles Express” a film which follows five Manilatown community members as they travel together to the Philippine tribal lands in tribute to the late activist poet Al Robles, taking the journey of their friend’s literary dreams that he was never able to take himself.

Robles was an original defender of San Francisco’s International Hotel and a staunch opponent of the urban renewal plans that would decimate many of the city’s working-class ethnic villages. His groundbreaking poetry would also be a major voice in what would become the genre of Asian American literature.

Much of Robles’ most powerful literary imagery referenced tribal Philippines and he felt a deep connection to the country of his ancestors. However, Robles was born in San Francisco and had never been to the Philippines himself. He tragically passed away in the same year that he was planning to take his very first trip to the country.

With this in mind, the five friends travel to the Kalinga village of Mabilong then across the Cordillera mountain range to visit the pre-colonial Philippines that lived in Robles’ imagination. While exploring the icons that were important to Robles they reflect on his life and friendship and discuss the concepts of identity and home for Americans of Asian descent. In particular, the friends seek out Ifugao Mountain, a location that comes up repeatedly in Robles’ literary work, to learn why this particular site was so important to him . . . and how it is in fact directly related to the Asian American experience.

A Talk Story Panel lead by “Al Robles Express” creator Oscar Penaranda and featuring Sam Tagatac, Norman Jayo, Eli Africa, Lou Syquia, Tony Robles, Tony Remington and Lauren Benetua will follow the screening. And throughout the evening we will be celebrating a “Welcome Back Home” Party for returning I-Hotel residents Norman Jayo, Annie Panlibutan and Oscar Penaranda.

Register ahead of time through EventBrite and receive a Thank You Gift when you check in at the event:

“The Al Robles Express” has been made possible in part by a grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission.

Ang Paglalakbay ng Pag-Ibig

Manilatown is pleased to present our current art exhibition by Tony Remington!

Artist Statement: 
This painting started off as a rather mediocre photograph that I hastily took from a car window while on the road to Twin Lakes in Negros Oriental, San Jose, Philippines, where the road is scattered with hamlets. The image was blurry, but I felt the gesture of this mother and child was classic. The metaphor of the road and the lifetime of a mother’s love, as our first experiences of unconditional love.

I’ve chosen this as my title piece for my current exhibit of paintings at the Manilatown Heritage Foundation at 868 Kearny Street in San Francisco.  a “journey of love.” In tagalog Ang Paglalakbay ng Pag-Ibig. 

“Ang Paglalakbay ng Pag-Ibig.” Also looseley refers to my beginnings as a photographer in 1970 as began to develop that “i told you so” kind of sarcasm in my image making, trying to show how evil and cruel the world is. But I’ve come to see it was only an adolescent part of my purview. When in reality, my journey as an Artist has always been my actual love for the world-“A Journey of Love.” My images haven’t changed, but rather my motivation has expanded. I’ve changed.

In the late 70’s I worked with the poet/activist Al Robles. It was immediately after the Eviction and Demolition of the International Hotel, where Al Robles formed Manilatown Senior Center, a series of substitute meeting places for the evicted Manongs and elderly Chinese. My duties were to assist in the daily meal program, deliver meals to the home-bound seniors scattered in nearby SRO housing, and senior escort.

It was during this time I made photographs of Manilatown’s Manongs which I’ve based many of my paintings. It was also during this time, I began my series of photographic essays in the Philippines which have also recently become subjects of my paintings.

Manilatown is an important aspect of my work, one of my intitial major works as a photographer. As I exhibited in the 2018 Pistahan in San Francisco, I realized many new little about the people’s history of the United States, the history of gentrification and it’s historical origins. It is my belief that these avoided facts impede our growth as a species, the fullness of our spiritual potential.

Club Mandalay presents:
“Manilatown Suite”
Friday, June 14th at 6pm
Saturday, June 22nd at 7pm

Please join us for the Premiere of “Manilatown Suite” the latest concert by the I-Hotel’s house jazz ensemble, “The Autonomous Region”. Funded by both the California Arts Council and the San Francisco Arts Commission, “Manilatown Suite” is the story of Historic Manilatown and the International Hotel Eviction as told through a fusion of jazz, traditional Philippine tribal music of the Maguindanao, Maranao, Kalinga and T’Boli cultures. dance, martial arts and spoken word.

Joining Vocalist and Philippine Percussionist Caroline Cabading will be the Autonomous musicians Raymond Bambao, Chris Planas and Harold Ohashi with special guest musicans/dancers Jibril Alvarez, Frank Holder, Patrick Tamayo, Daniel Giray, Manuel Dragon, Marcella Pabros-Clark, Kenny Montante and James Nuevo.

In June we will be engaging in several collaborative efforts as we present these musical pieces to the community:

  • Friday, June 14th at 6pm  in conjunction with fellow SFAC grant recipient Kulintang Dialect.  Kulintang Dialect will begin their program at 6pm and Manilatown Suite will begin its program at 8pm
  • Saturday, June 22nd at 7pm opening the World Premiere of  “The Al Robles Express” documentary, the Al Robles Express Talk Story Panel and our “Welcome Back Home” Community Party for returning tenants Annie Panlibutan, Norman Jayo and Oscar Penaranda

And when you register ahead of time through EventBrite for this FREE June 14th program, you will also receive a Thank You gift from us:

Manilatown Suite has been made possible in part by grants from the San Francisco Arts Commission, the California Arts Council and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, in partnership with the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Surdna Foundation.

International Hotel Historical Tours
By Appointment

tourwebDiscover the mystery of San Francisco’s forgotten neighborhood, Manilatown. Witness the merging of time, the past to the present history of San Francisco’s International Hotel. Visit a Filipino arts and culture center in San Francisco. Share in the history of San Francisco’s “rich” history. Manilatown Heritage Foundation offers tours for K-12 students, college, adults, and everyone. Bring your class, student group, organization, club and friends to experience the complex history of Manilatown and the International Hotel. $5 donation per person.

Schedule a tour today! How? Contact for more information on scheduling your visit.

Kommunity Kultura
Saturday, June 8th at 4pm

Please join us for our next beginning “Kommunity Kultura” workshop! For those of you who missed our April and May workshops, here’s another chance to learn more about the T’Boli culture of the Southern Philippines. And for those of you who have been coming to these workshops, here’s another opportunity to get deeper into your practice of the smaagi ensemble and the T’Boli dances. In other words, there will be something for everybody: beginning instruction for the absolute newbie and deeper practice for the continuing students.

Saturday, June 8th at 4pm: T’Boli music with Master T’Boli Musician and Instrument Maker Joel Ganlal and Kultura Kapwa’s Frank Holder
Saturday, June 8th at 5pm: Beginning T’Boli dance wtih Fides Enriquez

Dancers please bring a Malong if you have one!

“Kommunity Kultura” is a traditional Philippine music, movement and cultural education program taking place at San Francisco’s International Hotel Manilatown Center once a month on Saturday afternoons from 4-6pm. This program emphasizes instruction on the pre-colonial Philippine cultural traditions.

When you register ahead of time through EventBrite for this FREE June 8th program, you will also receive a Thank You gift from us:

For more information about Kommunity Kultura please email us at

This project has been made possible in part by grants from the California Arts Council and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, in partnership with the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Surdna Foundation.