Filipino community celebrates Filipino American History Month

Filipina singing legend Lea Salonga.

September 30, 2013 7:04:23 PM PDT
California is home to the largest concentration of Filipino Americans in the country with nearly half a million people living in the Bay Area. They're celebrating national Filipino American History Month, with a major challenge to entrepreneurs and investors. And it's kicking off with a Tony Award-winning icon.

The New York Times says Filipina singing legend Lea Salonga is a cut above most Broadway divas. She'll make a rare appearance at a San Francisco fundraiser to raise money to improve the education levels of Filipinos here and in the Philippines.

The Philippine Development Foundation is launching a new strategy to connect Silicon Valley with the Philippines to increase development, create jobs and encourage entrepreneurship among Filipinos.

The Philippines is the 36th largest trading partner in goods with the United States, yet nearly one-third of Filipinos live below the poverty line.

"Education, training in research, infrastructure building for the entire public education system in the Philippines; and now, through the help of the U.S. actually, an entrepreneurship program that is unprecedented in the Philippines," said PhilDev's President Catherine Buan.

Many Filipino-Americans have achieved great success, including: Chief Justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye, entrepreneur and engineer Dado Banatao and entrepreneur Sherri Burke, mother of Dancing with the Stars' Cheryl Burke.