by: Aesia Toliver
Posted: / Updated:
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) –Mount Trashmore in Virginia Beach was busier than usual Sunday morning for the 7th annual FIL FEST USA.
It was Day 2 of the festival that highlights Filipino culture through a mix of activities, music, food, and dance.
The event also comes during Filipino American Heritage Month as residents celebrate and work to educate others about their culture.
Naomi and Roy Estaris are long-time members of the Fil Fest committee. They say the Navy primarily brought many Filipino families to the 757.
“In Hampton Roads, we’re about 80,000 strong, in Virginia Beach, it’s about 35,000,” said Roy.
Many organizations at the festival represented a piece of Filipino history and culture. For example, a stand of local nurses also had information about their past with details describing the mass migration of Filipino nurses to the U.S. through the Exchange Visitor and H-1 visa programs established over 50 years ago.
Another component of Filipino tradition showcased came in the form of food. One of their most popular events—a competitive egg roll and Lumpia eating contest.
“The first one is how many eggs rolls you can eat in a certain time then it goes down to semifinals, then the finals. then they will win and get their name on this belt,” explained Roy.
If eating in moderation is more your style, Lito Carlos with Piha Aloha catering based in Newport News was grilling up the goods. Carlos is Filipino and his wife is Hawaiian, they say education is key.
“That has to continue in any culture, but with the Filipino community, they’re doing a great job in educating everyone especially the younger generation growing up and just keeping that culture alive,” said Lito Carlos.
Naomi agrees, that’s what this festival is all about.
“This is really for our next generation to keep on the traditions of our history, our culture,” Naomi explained.