By Malou Liwanag-Aguilar/Asianjournal.com
SAN FRANCISCO — Thousands of Filipinos are expected to fill up sections of the AT&T Park on Wednesday, May 14 as the San Francisco Giants take on the Houston Astros.
A game dedicated to Filipinos, the Giants event will feature the first Filipino Heritage Night.
Although the club has hosted other “heritage nights,” this is the first time that it has included an event that is solely Filipino.
The event is also a part of the Asian Heritage Week, an annual celebration of Asian cultures and communities that will culminate from May 12 to 17.
“We (Asians) are an important force in the United States,” said Asian community leader Florence Fang, during a ballpark tour for members of the Asian media last May 1. “We should not be exclusive to own community, but this is to encourage us to join the mainstream.
A milestone for Filipinos
Just as there’s hardly any Filipino ballplayer in any Major League team since Bobby Balcena stint with the Cincinnati Reds in 1956 and outfielder Benny Agbayani of the Mets, the number of Filipinos in the Bay Area has increased rapidly in the past years. Filipinos are now an integral part of the city that it wouldn’t come as a surprise to meet one in every place one goes.
As of last week, more than 2,000 tickets have been sold, a huge turnout considering that they started with a conservative sales forecast of 500. Tickets are at $20 each.
There will be performances by Bay Area-based cultural groups including the Barangay Dance Company of San Francisco, the Hiyas Philippine Folk Dance Company and the LIKHA Pilipino Folk Ensemble.
“This event bodes well for the Filipino community,” said Manilatown Heritage Foundation Executive Director Ron Muriera. “This will expand the awareness and connections to the mainstream groups and help cultivate the community’s relationship with the SF Giants organization.” Manilatown Heritage Foundation is one of the community partners in the event.
Be free of Hep B
Another goal of the Asian Heritage Week is the campaign against Hepatitis B. The San Francisco
Hep B Free Campaign will be present at each game to educate fans about the importance of testing and vaccinating for hepatitis B.
“Our simple goal is to make San Francisco the first city in the US to screen, vaccinate and treat anyone with hepatitis B,” said Dr. Albert Yu, Director of the Community Health Network of San Francisco.
Hepatitis B is a silent illness affecting the API communities. According to Dr. Yu, one out of 10 APIs have the disease, which is a hundred percent more than Caucasians. People who have Hepatitis B are also four times more susceptible to liver cancer, especially if they are chronically infected. Hepatitis A, though seen more likely to cause outbreaks and epidemics, is still a lot different from hepatitis B. Hepatitis A infections are caused by oral and fecal contamination, while hepatitis B is acquired from blood and IV transfusions, sexual contact and mothers.
“People should know that it is not a stigma and that they should seek care,” said Dr. Yu. “Don’t think that you should live silently and in isolation.”
The good news is that there are five, six or several more treatments for the virus activity said Dr. Yu, and all you need are three shots.
He also sees the campaign as a reflection of the true value of the SF Giants—teamwork. “We need the entire community to make this prominent as HIV, breast cancer and other important illnesses,” he said. “This is an opportunity to tell all APIs in San Francisco to get yourself screened, to get vaccinated to protect you and your offsprings.”
The Asian Heritage Week celebration will also feature the Chinese Heritage Night (May 12), Korean Heritage Night (May 13), Japanese Heritage Night (May 16) and the SF Hep B Free Night (May 17). Tickets may be purchased by calling (415) 972–2298 or by logging online at http://www.sfgiants.com/specialevents.