Kawitenos of Southern California
The Kawitenos of Southern California is a non-profit, non-denomination organization founded in 1974 by a small group of Filipinos in San Diego, California, who prior to emigration to the United States, were residents of the historic town of Kawit, Cavite, the hometown of the first President of the Philippine Republic Emilio Aguinaldo and where the first Philippine Independence was proclaimed in 1898.
Our activities include the celebration of the traditional Karakol and Kawit town fiesta during the month of July and the Maytinis in December. The Cruise of the Bay of San Diego (Karakol sa Dagat) is also celebrated every other year. These gatherings are excellent opportunities to meet former classmates, old acquaintances and other town mates and help preserve our rich culture and pass it on to generations to come. It is also our goal to help our kababayan through outreach missions here and abroad.
We value every member of our organization, their family members and friends. Our strength is in our unity and our ability to effectively carry out our events, functions and outreach missions is based on the talents, skills, and availability of our members.
To preserve our culture and traditions, strengthen unity, and to make a difference — touching lives, one person at a time.
It was June 9, 1974 when Mr. Gabe Jamanila organized a simple potluck picnic at Admiral Baker’s Field for all the Kawiteños here in San Diego. It was a big success and at the same time he learned from his wife, Priscilla that Mrs. Aning Cruz was going to visit her family in the Philippines, in time for the celebration of our Town Fiesta, July 22, 1974.
Due to unforeseen circumstances that happened with Mrs. Aning Cruz, she had to cancel her trip to the Philippines. She asked Mr. and Mrs. Gabe Jamanila to have another potluck to celebrate our own town fiesta in San Diego. Mr. Gabe Jamanila promised Mrs. Cruz that he will get in touch with their fellow Kawiteños around California and in other cities in the country. In the Philippines, Kawit Town Fiesta is always celebrated on the 22nd of July. In 1974, 22nd of July fell on Monday so they decided to have this celebration on the 21st of July.
From then on it has been a success every year. The attendance has grown by the hundreds. Kawit Town Fiesta became known to every Kawiteños in the United States. It has become a memorable occasion where our young generations can learn our cultures and traditions of their heritage. With this celebration, all the Kawiteños always have a chance to renew old acquaintances, acquire new friends and honor their patron saint, Saint Mary Magdalene. As we all say, although the Kawiteños are away from their native land, Saint Mary Magdalene is never forgotten and always stays in their heart, mind and soul.
The Kawiteños also want their children to know how we celebrate Christmas in Kawit, so they also celebrate their “Maytinis” in San Diego. They dramatize the part where Mary & Joseph were looking for a place to stay and they end in the stable that is well made by the Kawiteños
The Kawiteños started with a few families then; now the Kawiteños is one of the recognized Filipino organizations in San Diego.
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