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The theme of the Second Annual Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture, Saturday at Los Angeles City College, is "Filipino Roots."

"We're saying that we have a tremendous diversity in the artistic forms developed in the Philippines and here in America," said Joel Jacinto, the festival chairperson. "We have a very cosmopolitan culture, being a colony of so many different nations."

That colonial past includes 300 years under Spanish rule.

"The basic roots are Malayo-Indonesian," Jacinto said of the islands' heritage. "But upon that core we have layers of Spanish, Chinese, European (in general), and Middle Eastern culture. The Muslims were in the Philippines before the Spanish."

The festival will feature aspects of all of these different influences in food, music, dance, arts and crafts, literary arts.

"The branches are out there in different areas of art," said Jacinto, even in modern expressions that range from "hip-hop contemporary dance to traditional music that's played in the contemporary MTV style."

In the literary arts, there will be readings by poets, including a group of Filipina-American girls from Immaculate Heart High School whose work focuses on how they relate to their own identities as Filipinas.

There will also be demonstrations of indigenous dances and contemporary story-telling.

"We have music groups that range from traditional to world ethnic pop," Jacinto said. "We're tired of all these stereotypes of Filipinos as one dimensional, or the model minority. We have the festival to help expose our culture and our experiences with the rest of Los Angeles. It's educating people as to what our experiences have been and artists produce their work based on their experiences."

Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 855 N. Vermont Ave; free.

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