1st US park named after Fil-Am community organization inaugurated

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The first recreation park in the United States named after a Filipino-American community organization, Bohol Circle Immigrant Park, has been inaugurated in Alameda, California.

Local government officials and the Filipino-American community gathered in the Bay Area island city last Jan. 21 for the official opening of the Bohol Circle Immigrant Park.

Located at 2901 Fifth Street off Mitchell Avenue, the Bohol Circle Immigrant Park connects Alameda’s San Francisco Bay Trail to Estuary Park and will serve the residents of Alameda Landing.

The waterfront park, which directly faces Jack London Square in the neighboring city of Oakland, features amenities that include a playground, picnic area, walking trails, bicycle paths and restrooms.

Neil Ferrer, the Philippine consul general in San Francisco, joined the opening of the waterfront park at Alameda Landing, which was also attended by California Rep. Barbara Lee, California State Sen. Nancy Skinner, Filipino-American Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Benjamin Reyes II, Alameda City Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft and Filipino-American Alameda City Vice Mayor Tony Daysog.

Ferrer commended the Bohol Circle Inc. (BCI) for leading the efforts in the waterfront park project.

“Today’s unveiling of the Bohol Circle Immigrant Park is a testament to the organization’s commitment to community-driven leadership and service, the perseverance and resilience of its members, and the spirit of pakikipagkapwa and bayanihan,” Ferrer said.

The BCI, a mutual aid organization formed by Boholano immigrants in 1936, is recognized by the Filipino-American National Historical Society as the oldest extant Filipino American organization in the US.

The BCI established its main center in Alameda in 1965, after pooling money to buy land and build a physical space for Filipinos and Filipino-Americans.

“We recognize the unfailing support of Bohol Circle officers and members, past and present, and the Filipino-American community in the Bay Area who, through the years, have provided encouragement and support for the project’s implementation,” Ferrer said.

“Certainly, we would not have come this far without the crucial support of the Alameda City Council and the assistance of the Parks and Commissions Committee,” he added.

FANHS National Board member and City College of San Francisco’s Philippine Studies Department chair Lily Ann Villaraza said the Bohol Circle Immigrant Park in Alameda is the first park in the US that was named after a Filipino-American community organization.

Other parks in the US that were named after a Filipino or Filipino-American are all located in the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest: Jose Rizal Park in Seattle, Washington; Victoria Manalo Draves Park in San Francisco and the recently opened Delano Manongs Park in San Jose.


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