PUBLISHED: 4:10 PM on Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Filipino Community develops cultural relationships
A brief on business with five questions
In Juneau, Dante Reyes is the elected Filipino Community president for the term 2007-2008. He's served the Filipino Community for seven years in various capacities - as finance manager and also as a director. Their goal is to foster relationships with fellow Filipinos and other cultural groups.

The Community helps in enhancing the integration of Filipinos into mainstream America to be of better service not only to the Filipino-American community, but to the general public as well. The Filipino Community is located at 251 South Franklin Street. For more information visit their Web site at

Courtesy Photo
  Dante Reyes, is president of the Filipino Community in Juneau.
How long has the Filipino Community been a part of Juneau, and what does it represent to people of the Community?

In 1929, a Filipino organization was formed in Juneau. Filipinos participated in the annual Rizal Day celebration to celebrate the martyrdom of Rizal, a Philippine national hero, on December 30th of each year. They were involved in the annual July 4th parade. Then on February 1, 1956 Filipino Community, Inc. was organized, and filed its Articles of Incorporation with the Territory of Alaska.

FCI is the oldest organized Filipino organization in Alaska and in 2006, celebrated its 50th Golden anniversary. It was able to acquire its own building where most Filipinos in Juneau considered it a home away from home. It became the center for social gatherings, birthday celebrations and served as the arena for cultural presentations.

How has it evolved over the years?

The 1956 Articles of Incorporation was signed by seven incorporators: Sam Constantino, Vincent Esmino, Vincent Isturis, Frank Sison, Joe Albayalde, Danny Sarabia, and Bessie Quinto. All were Filipinos but Bessie Quinto who was Tlingit Indian married to a Filipino man, Marcelo Quinto. Filipino Community, Inc. was organized for charitable, social, civic and educational purposes. Today, FCI has close to 250 members.

Members continue their membership by registering and paying dues, senior citizens dues may be waived by the Board of Directors.

The organization is controlled by the Board of Directors, with the President serving as the principal executive officer. Funding is primarily from charitable gaming activities sponsored throughout the year and from public donations.

What type of programs does the Filipino Community offer for young people?

FCI offers its members a scholarship program for education, vocational and sports excellence; martial arts program; basketball league - members need not be full blooded Filipino to qualify.

FCI formed a cultural group in 2004 and did a maiden performance entitled - Alitaptap: A Cultural Serendipity 2004. It was a huge success that it did a repeat performance in 2005. Another major performance was made in June 2006 entitled - Obra Maestra 2007.

It showcases 29 native and folk dances which used authentic costumes from the Philippines. These dances reflect the customs and traditions of Filipino folks. While performing these dances, performers were able to learn to experience their native ancestry.

What is the goal or the vision of the Filipino Community in Juneau?

The goal or vision of the Filipino Community, Inc. is to foster better and harmonious relationships, understanding and brotherhood among themselves and with other ethnic groups; and to keep alive the Filipino heritage, culture, customs and traditions.

What events are coming up in the Filipino Community, and can anyone participate?

Filipino Community Inc. celebrates the following events: Founders Day in February, July 4th, annual picnic in July, Tribute to Seniors Night in August, Thanksgiving Day in November, and Christmas in December. These events are open to public.

Editor's note: Capital City Weekly will each week feature a business or organizational leader to answer five questions. To send suggestions for interviewees, send e-mail to Amanda Gragertat