I walk the streets of San Francisco and yet I feel I’m home in Manila? Find out the story behind the Filipino-named streets of SOMA (South of Market).
It just started from a google map search few months ago. I was looking for my way around the City of San Francisco when I noticed familiar looking street names shown in the map. It was Bonifacio and Tandang Sora Street! I thought I inputted a typo or possibly a glitch in the search bar that made the map switch somewhere in Quezon City. But after a close inspection, it was indeed accurate and more Filipino Street names popped into the picture. Apparently, the entire block is clustered with Street names will surely make you believe that you’re definitely back home!
Back in the 70’s, the influx of Filipino immigrants in the Bay Area has resulted in the explosion of the Filipino-American population in the San Francisco, South of Market District (SOMA). In fact, the Filipino population became the majority of the Population in the nearby Catholic Church and Elementary School. With the support of the local government of San Francisco, a housing facility has been constructed to provide housing to the Filipino senior citizens, new migrants and other San Francisco residents.
Named after Jose Rizal’s pen name, the “Dimas alang” House stands proud as the only Filipino named structure in the SF’s SOMA district and to complete the entire Filipino experience, names of the streets surrounding the Dimas alang House were changed to Rizal, Bonifacio, Lapu-lapu, Mabini and Tandang Sora making SOMA the only district in San Francisco to carry Filipino Names.
Today, Dimas Alang Building’s vicinity is teeming with economic activities. It is just few steps away from major establishments, malls, freeway and the Yerba Buena Park, known as the venue of the largest annual Filipino Festival in the Bay Area called Pistahan Festival.
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