Pinoy Hill, Seward Park, 1954 ‘You really want to hold onto your culture’ Ranesto (Ron) Angeles
By Clay Eals
When you’re only 4, any long car trip feels like a vacation.
So it was for Ranesto (Ron) Angeles in 1954 when his parents packed him and a sister into their Studebaker and drove from their High Point home in West Seattle 11 miles east to an annual festival on July 4, attended by some 150 Filipinos, at an upper Seward Park meadow known as Pinoy (Filipino) Hill.
“It was very exciting,” he says. “You basically had the park to yourself. You could go swimming in the lake. I remember blowing off a few firecrackers over in the woods. We had sack races and egg-throws.”
But he soon learned it also was a cultural celebration, feting the Philippines’ 1946 independence. “We had traditional foods like pancit and adobo,” he says. “Most Filipinos lived in the Central Area or Rainier Valley, so to travel all the way over to Seward Park was an opportunity to see the rest of our community.”
His parents danced with the Philippine War Brides Association. Later, during Seafair’s annual Pista Sa Nayon (town festival), his children did Filipino folk-dancing.
“It’s really important because you don’t learn these things in school,” says Ron, retired after a three-decade career as a city liaison. “These are things that if you’re not learning them at home, you’re just not learning it.
“Many in my generation have assimilated so much into American culture that we don’t speak a dialect. But nowadays, for many Filipinos, you really want to hold onto your culture. It’s important for our generation to pass that along to other generations.”
Here is a video interview of Ranesto (Ron) Angeles, along with 9 photos of the annual Pinoy Hill gatherings from when Ron was a boy.
Also, click here for “An Ode to Pinoy Hill.” And click here for a virtual walking tour of Seward Park that includes Pinoy Hill.