MANILA, Philippines - A group of Filipino fishermen who built shelters on stilts atop some oyster reefs at the mouth of Barataria Bay in Southern Louisiana in the United States and named the village after the Philippines’ capital were honored with the unveiling of the historical marker for “The Manila Village.”
The event held last June 16 was attended by around 400 people, including about 50 direct descendants of the original group of Filipinos who established the Manila Village in the late 1800s.
As part of the Independence Day celebration and the Bicentennial of Louisiana, Consul General Leo Herrera-Lim participated in the unveiling of the historical marker in Louisiana.
To date, there are over 10,200 Filipinos in Louisiana, residing mainly in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Lafayette and Lake Charles.
The event was organized by the Philippine-Louisiana Historical Society, led by its president Robert Romero and vice president Carmelo Astilla.
Mayor Tim Kerner of the town of Jean Lafitte, who is married to a Filipina, actively participated in the ceremonies.
William de la Cruz, grandson of the founder of the Manila Village, also participated in the unveiling ceremonies with his family.
In his opening remarks, Lim said: “Today marks a high point in shared histories between the Filipinos and the people of Louisiana. ‘Manila Village’ no longer remains just as memories for the descendants of the first Filipino settlers in Louisiana. We have put a marker for shared aspirations for the future. Indeed, this is such a great tribute to our community and our heritage to see the project finally come to fruition.”