Talang Gabay: Historic Filipinotown arch is testament to Asian immigrants

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Artist Eliseo Silva’s new 30-foot tall arch in Historic Filipinotown is officially titled “Talang Gabay: Our Guiding World.” Photo courtesy of Eliseo Silva.

A new 30-foot tall arch has landed on Beverly Boulevard in Historic Filipinotown. Officially titled “Talang Gabay: Our Guiding World,” artist Eliseo Silva designed it with a focus on forgotten Filipino history. The architecture is meant to bring attention to LA’s Filipino community and roots.

“The community has been advocating for more visibility, for a marker that really shows our history, our culture, and highlights our contributions to Los Angeles,” says Jessica Caloza, who spearheaded a 20-year-long movement to create the arch. She’s also a former commissioner on the LA Board of Public Works.

Artist Silva brought many elements of shipbuilding and a revised Filipino flag to the design. 

“A lot of our ancestors are seafarers because we are an archipelago of over 7500 islands. So the boats actually have motifs of birds on the mast …  to symbolize … the guiding star,” he explains. 

People can scan QR codes on the arch to learn more history and details of cultural landmarks in the area. 

“We also included a list of some of the Filipino and immigrant-owned businesses,” Caloza says. “Because we also want to make sure that we highlight small businesses in the community, and that people patronize them and support them.”

For Caloza, this arch is meant to reach beyond LA. “The gateway is about embracing and highlighting Filipino and Asian culture. All immigrant communities in LA are a big part of who we are. And that's what this gateway is a testament to.”