PAGDIRIWANG PHILIPPINE FESTIVAL
Filipino Community of Seattle
83 Years Old and Beyond
THE FILIPINO COMMUNITY OF SEATTLE (FCS), nestled in Martin Luther King Jr. Way So. and So. Juneau Street, has been a fixture in the Rainier Valley Community since the 1960s. It was a former bowling alley that was purchased outright during the administration of Major (Ret.) Urbano Quijance.
Established in 1935 by like-minded individuals from various regional, civic, religious and fraternal organizations established the “Philippine Commonwealth Council of Seattle (PCCS)” with Pio de Cano as president and Rudy Santos as vice president. On July 4, 1946, the PCCS was renamed “Filipino Community of Seattle and Vicinity.” In 1952, the word “Vicinity” was dropped and the new name “Filipino Community of Seattle, Incorporated,” was adopted.
Bong Sto. Domingo, the new president of the FCS talked about how the center evolved from a social club run by volunteers to an organization with paid staff and programs. “Today, the FCS is no longer a social club,” said Sto. Domingo. “It is now a full-fledged non-profit social services organization with programming geared towards Seniors and the youth of Rainier Valley.”
The FCS’ day to day activities are run by a professional staff led by Executive Director Sheila Burrus. “We have a dedicated staff and a cadre of volunteers ensuring that our center meets our goals and promotes our vision,” said Burrus.
Architect's illustration of the Filipino Community Village - a 95-unit affordable senior housing project with an Innovation Learning Center for the youth of Rainier Valley
Kalahi children performing to a live audience
Zumba participants at the Thursday Senior Lunch Program
FCS kitchen staff and volunteers
Kamayan for the Village Project
One of the most popular programs of the FCS is the senior lunch program held during Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays of the week. This program was initially started by long-time FCS president Sylvester and Julita Tangalan. As of last year, 2017, The FCS has served more than 10,000 meals, and has had more than 11,000 Food Bank recipients. The Tangalans have left a legacy that has touched the lives of thousands of people! Also, during those three days of senior lunch, the FCS offers a food bank to anyone. And if you are into Zumba, come to the FCS during Mondays and Thursdays and be ready to sweat!
Another program of the FCS is the Kalahi Dance Co. This program allows both children and parents to learn and perform Philippine cultural dances. Overseeing the Kalahi Dance group is Arlene Perez. “We believe that when parents are involved, the children perform better in school and other activities,” said Perez. “We are proud to showcase our children and their ability to learn and absorb our cultural heritage through dance.”
The FCS is now about to break ground on a project that will ensure our seniors have a place to call home. The FCS is constructing a 95-unit affordable housing for seniors and an innovation learning center for the youth of Rainier Valley. This project began in 2008 when the FCS started purchasing adjacent properties during the renovation of the FCS. In 2012, the FCS officially launched the Filipino Community Village.
The FCS is open Monday-Friday and everyone is welcome.