The Fil-Am Association of Santa Clarita Valley hosted its annual Easter Day Picnic on Sunday at Santa Clarita Park — which is also the site of the organization’s founding.
The Easter Day Picnic serves several purposes for Fil-Am. It’s of course mainly a chance for the predominantly Christian community to celebrate Easter, but it’s also an invitation for other residents to join them and learn more about Filipino culture. For those within the community, it’s a chance to come together.
“In Filipino we call it ‘kababayan.’ It’s the bayanihan spirit,” said Myra Miranda, former Fil-Am SCV president and co-chair of the event. “It’s the camaraderie. Filipinos are very big on family. So this is one way for us to really bring Filipino families together. And, as you can see, other families are coming here — not just Filipinos. Kababayan means basically… community.”
In addition to the egg hunt, there were also several activities at the picnic, some based on Filipino culture. Kids grabbed bags of goodies from a suspended rack called a pabitin, a Filipino piñata, while all ages feasted on adobo, bistek, pancit and other dishes traditional to the culture.
Bringing the picnic back to Santa Clarita Park is also a way the organization can celebrate its founding. Art Caranto, one of the founding members of Fil-Am SCV, was at that very park when the organization was founded there in 1984 and loves to return every year for the picnic.
“The purpose of our organization is for us, the families, people and families get together and also others are invited. You can join our activities, be our guest so you can understand our culture, our food,” said Caranto.
Eddie Arguelles, former president of Fil-Am, said his family has been coming to the park for so long, his son, who was there with Arguelles, started coming to the event as a small child and has now moved out, graduated college and started working.
“It’s basically a coming out, a party for everybody after winter and it’s also a recruitment activity because a lot of Filipino-American families come here,” said Argueles. “We’ve been celebrating in this place, we’ve been practicing these activities at this place for quite a long time… So it’s always a pleasure to come here and see new faces, old faces and a lot of folks.”
Arguelles said the picnic is now for the next generation, the ones grabbing at the pabitin for goodies, who will hopefully someday return as adults and carry on the tradition.