Hardly any Filipino food at the Filipino festival

OK. I haven’t been to FPAC in a few years, so maybe things have changed. But I am seriously wondering why I took the night off, drove about 60 miles each way and spent $5 admission (somehow I got a $2 discount, even without a Macy’s card) to attend this festival. I was seriously not happy by the end of the day.

Granted, I got there at about 2:15. Hey. CP Time, OK? Or in this case, Filipino time. Whatever. But when I was warned that the wait for food was 45 minutes long, I knew things were already going downhill. Not only that, when we finally got in line, what do I see? Just ONE Filipino food vendor. Out of the FIVE  at the entire festival. Whoever heard of just FIVE food vendors at an ethnic festival? Really?

Food lines at FPAC. Really.

Food lines at FPAC. Really.

My buddy Moonie pointed out recently that there was another Filipino festival inexplicably scheduled the same weekend, so maybe that siphoned off the food vendors. OK, fine. But seriously, I’m tired of these same vendors. They’re the same vendors you would see at any other Southern California festival. I’ve seen these same exact vendors at Lotus Festival. I mean, sheesh! Then, only one of them serves Filipino food! The other four vendors were selling Chinese food, Thai food, boba and smoothies and funnel cakes. That’s it. Then to just throw a little bit more salt in that wound, it took Trinity and I an hour to get through the line. Ugh.

The whole thing really sticks in my gullet because I had been craving the kahlua pork at Ono Hawaiian Barbecue since earlier this week, and we passed one as we got off the freeway onto Gaffey. I contemplated making Trinity make a detour and simply forego the food at FPAC, but I felt like….if I’m going to drag him to FPAC, we damn well better get some Filipino food. Yeah, this was it.

The $7 House Special -- two BBQ sticks, pancit and fried rice.

The $7 House Special -- two BBQ sticks, pancit and fried rice, plus a melon drink and lobster balls.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the food was fine. Spectacular? Not at all. Worth an hour’s wait? Let’s not go there.

I am really quite disappointed in this year’s FPAC. I realize it is literally the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture, and believe me, they had plenty of arts and culture on display from vendors (who probably outnumbered the food vendors 4-to-1, possibly 5-to-1). But people — probably half, if not 75% of the draw of any ethnic festival is the food. I mean, damn.

So, if you’re headed out there Sunday, do what I didn’t do — be smart and just go to Ono Hawaiian BBQ or anywhere else and eat before you get to FPAC. You’ll thank me later.

< /rant>

Anyway. I took way more pictures, here’s the Flickr set.


9 thoughts on “Hardly any Filipino food at the Filipino festival

  1. JoeJoe

    the FPAC organizers tried to get more food vendors… the word is that almost a third of them have since gone out of business… so those food lines @ FPAC? blame the economy, the people in Washington and whoever else is responsible for the current state of affairs…

  2. Moonie

    I’m kinda getting tired of the same excuse of “blame the vendors” or “blame the artists”. Last I checked, FPAC organizers are the ones that put the festival together and the long food lines and limited Filipino food options didn’t just happen this year but happened last year as well.

    It is a supreme cop out to go as far as blaming the people in Washington as to why there was a 45 to an hour long wait for a two item combo at a festival.

  3. Ben

    To be a food vendor is particularly difficult…having to meet all health standards outdoors, finding the man power to last the whole festival, sweating it out in a tent, no real plumbing…there’s a lot of factors that go into it. I used to work for a food vendor in the bay area…and it’s not easy work. With that said, people simply do not want to be food vendors. I personally give props to all the food vendors out there because that work IS NOT easy.

    Of course, I may have bias as well since I was a festival intern this year, but it is by far not the fault of the festival. The interns sit in the office for eight hours a day, and to blame the festival when our business intern spent all her time over one week cold calling restaurants and caterers to come in and receiving no positive response is not the festival’s fault.

    I do feel ya about the long lines…but you gotta give it to the food vendors that were there and didn’t turn down the festival. They did a kick ass job.

  4. Kirstie

    I second what Ben said. It is a huge task to recruit vendors as well as to be one at a festival and cook for over 25,000 people. The Business Director and intern called vendors from records as old as 2003 until new contacts from people in the community.

    If you believe that there are a lot of Filipino vendors out there that would be ready and willing to participate in FPAC feel free to let the FilAm Arts/FPAC staff know. Remember FPAC is your festival, without people like you taking the day off and driving to San Pedro, there would be no festival. So be active and maybe become a volunteer or send in an email or letter to FPAC so that you can ensure that you don’t feel this way after next year’s festival if you decide to attend.

  5. lil miss sunshine

    I agree FPAC is your festival and this festival was created by the community for the community. And frankly,if you wanna complain than I hope you have a solution. FilAm arts can not afford to have the community act as complacent bystanders who are quick to point the finger but slow to the volunteer line…. are you catching my drift yet? If you wanna see more food vendors than please send the info to the FilAm Arts office.

    And while yes, Moonie, I understand that the blame the vendors routine is a little old for you but so is the “blame the Festival organizers” routine, becuase the Festival is OUR Festival, so yes I think we can all share in the Blame.

    Yes the lines were long, as of course it would be better if there were more food vendors, but hey, lets look at the bright side of things right, at leats the lines were by the mainstage.

    And to those who were unimpressed by this years FPAC, well I politely disagree with you. What is not impressive about Joe Bataan, Native Guns, Bambu… ?

    And Now I would like to take this time and state the following:
    FPAC is not the MTV music awards or VMA’S … obiviously, so please lets not make that our target line,in turn, lets be real, okay folks!
    I mean where else would you see Joe Bataan perform for 7$.
    Lets just say I was impressed!!!!!
    And lets point out that roughly 25,000 people attended this year, so I guess some people were impressed last year :)

    Rock on FPAC

  6. Moonie

    So I guess it’s my fault that people had to wait 1 hour to buy food because I wasn’t part of the planning committee that was supposed to come up with viable solutions to address this known issues.

    And it’s my fault for not volunteering my time even though I was FPAC’s webmaster for two years and always made myself available to Telly and the Generations Stage staff each year to emcee whenever someone else fucked up and didn’t find emcees for the afternoon.

    The criticism isn’t on the quality of the festival. It goes without saying that FPAC is a great event. But in end, isn’t there supposed some form of ownership by FilAm Arts if certain things don’t go right?

    By all means, take credit for all the praise that FPAC gets but you also have to take the hits when you guys clearly fucked up on certain things instead of looking to blame something or someone else.

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