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The Gardeners of DC

phpwOysQoFilipino Americans in the area are now busy tilling their gardens, planting flowers, vegetables or herbs.

First and foremost is Jon Melegrito, the Manila Mail columnist who is known in the community both as a community leader and ampalaya (bitter melon) grower.

Don’t be surprised if you see Jon walking along Connecticut Avenue distributing ampalaya fruits or leaves to Filipino Americans as he walk to work or to go to  meetings.

Another FilAm who produces the best vegetables in the area is Maria Cacas of Fort Washington, MD. Maria plants squash, tomato, sweet potato, eggplant, okra, gourd (upo), kang-kong, chayote, Chinese string beans, and many more.

Yes, she’s Ilocano, that’s why she loves to plant vegetables for pinakbet, a very famous Ilocano vegetable dish.

Alma Conty of Annandale has a beautiful flower garden. In fact, if you visit her in her house, you’d see amazing colors. Outdoors, her hydrangeas are so big and vibrant. Indoors, her collection of exotic orchids bloom.

Then there are the backyard barbeques and potluck dinners to celebrate summer, graduations, birthdays, weddings, just to name a few.

The best Filipino barbeque I ever tasted was at the home of Rico and Celia Jiao of Reston. The Jiao’s are from Pampanga so they really know how to cook. The pork barbeque is like the same one we have in the Philippines. A little bit sweet and spicy. Now, for his beef steaks, Rico only uses the best cut in beef like New York cut or porter house.

The best part is that while guests wait for the barbeque to finish – it takes time because he uses real charcoal – guests nibble on his Pampanga style “sisig”.

Now, that’s what i call feasting, Filipino style.


The annual Asian Festival has moved to the George Mason University Mason Campus parking lot. Now in it’s 8th year, the AF will feature 4 Villages, the Philippines, Thailand, India, and China.

There will be three stages, one located at the Philippine Village, at the Indian Village, and the main stage. Live bands such as the FilAm group The Speaks, and Ivy Rose Band will be featured both on the main stage and at the Philippine Village stage.

The Philippine Village is being presented by the Philippine Embassy, the Philippine American Foundation for Charities, and the Filipino American community of the greater Washington, D.C. area.

Richmond based hip-hop group, The Embassy, will also be performing for the first time. It is one of the most popular hip-hop group in the East Coast.

Another young group performing are the FYMD of Virginia Beach, Paper Doll, a rock band from New York, GMA and TFC artists, cultural group such as PACAS.

If you want to participate, please contact Ms. Corina Apostol-Reyes or Elvi Bangit.

Contact: ebangit@comcast.net, corina.apostol@philippineusa.org.

There are only a handful of Filipino restaurants accredited at the Asian Festival. The Philippine Village food committee, chaired by Dulce Guevarra is the only authorized person to approve vendors. No one outside the Philippine Village is allowed to sell Filipino food.

For trade and business, Ms. Eileen Nadal is in-charge.

Eileen is one of the community’s dynamic leader.

Again, this portion is almost full, so hurry and register.

Check with Eileen at eileen_nadal@yahoo.com

The Philippine Village needs volunteers so if you are interested please contact, Presy Guevarra at presyguevara@yahoo.com,adorcarreon@aol.com, mpapoose@aol.com, lynnfrancis119@gmail.com.

If you are a student at GMU, student at any of the colleges, and  universities in the area  or a member of the FIND, please contact Angelica Sandiego at,  angelicasandiego@gmail.com or Honey Vedar at: honeyvedat@gmail.com, Phil Tuazon at phil_tuazon@yahoo.com.

For more information please go to www.asianfestivaldc.com.


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