IN THE MIX by Mic Diaz: Sakay Na! raises funds for Jeepney Phaseout

IN THE MIX by Mic Diaz: Sakay Na! raises funds for Jeepney Phaseout

Filipino-Americans in Los Angeles converged at a corner space in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles for Sakay Na!, a pop-up designed to raise funds for transport workers who are negatively affected by the jeepney phaseout in the Philippines.

The jeepney phaseout is the Philippine government’s plan to phase out traditional jeepneys that are 15 years old or older and replace them with imported surplus vehicles from foreign auto manufacturers.

According to Sakay Na! organizer Sian Balauag of Urban Tropicals, there is an imbalance in the implementation of the jeepney phaseout and the support for the jeepney drivers and their families who are unable to acquire the new vehicles that the Philippine government is issuing and selling to the drivers. 

Co-event organizers Kris and Kate Paguinto of Bahala Na Shop affirmed that “there is a need to fundraise, because transport workers are already earning very little money, and this phaseout is threatening their livelihoods.”

Martin Aranas, owner of Bite Club Sliders expressed, “I think the jeepney is the staple of the Philippines. We Filipinos should support each other. There’s power in numbers.”

Josette Canilao and Don Sayarot of Kanto Pastries mentioned that “We’re here to support, because we know that jeepneys are vital to the transportation in the Philippines and we want to do what we can to help.”

Daniel Nicolas aka DJ Nics conveyed, “I want to offer my services to help out my brothers in the Philippines, because growing up I rode the jeepney a lot and that was the only way I could get around. It matters a lot to me that we help out.” 

Donations from this event will go to Tanggol Pasada Network, and will support education and information campaigns through flyers, primers and discussions, transport workers and commuters summits, welfare programs for drivers and operators, and mass actions like protests and strikes.

Several local vendors such as Bahala Na Shop, Adeling Shop, Gara Sun, Heather and Plume, Mayumi Goods, Binamade, Lola’s, Sensitive Antiques, and Nanay’s Bahay were present selling clothing, accessories, stationery, prints, and home decors reminiscent of life in the Philippines.

On why they established Bahala Na Shop, Kris and Kate added, “Our goal for our business is to represent the Filipino community in a modern and authentic way here in the States. We want to show people that Filipinos can show up in so many different industries and we are ready to be seen! With each collection that we drop, we aim to show a different aspect of Filipino culture and what it means to us. We’re excited to keep creating for our community!”

Plant enthusiasts and collectors alike were delighted to see a variety of plants from Urban Tropicals and Plantman, and floral arrangements by Woman in Stems.

Food vendors such as Boondocks Coffee, Steffi Sweets, Kanto Pastries, Bite Club Sliders and HiFi Kitchen offered an array of burgers, rice bowls, Filipino desserts and Philippine-sourced coffee.

Adding to the fun-filled ambience, a photobooth in an enclosed area of the venue was set up by Syd Studios for attendees to have memories of their time at this event.

Filipino-American DJs such as DJ Weejay and DJ Nics dished out some OPM Disco, R&B and Hip Hop tracks catering to a young demographic.

Cynthia San Luis attended the event in support of the jeepney workers stated that “they’re livelihood is about to be taken from them. It’s important for FIl-Ams to attend these kinds of events. My parents worked really hard to come here to the States. I want to connect to family back in the Philippines, meet some people from the diaspora and have some Filipino food.”

Marketing and PR Consultant James Te noted, “It is important to uplift one another and it is important to bring awareness to the world.”

Kris and Kate Paguinto added, “It’s important for Fil-Ams to participate in events like this, because it allows us to get involved in issues happening back home.”

To support our Filipino brothers and sisters who are affected by the jeepney phaseout, contact Bahala Na Shop or Urban Tropicals on Instagram.