Local Filipino American activists organized a flash mob choir, singing Filipino songs outside the Seafood City entrance inside Westfield Southcenter mall

PHOTO ESSAY | Filipino American Activists Commemorate 50th Anniversary of Philippine Martial Law

by Ronnie Estoque


On the evening of Sept. 20, an estimated 100 Filipino American activists and community members from BAYAN USA Seattle, Malaya Movement, International Coalition of Human Rights in the Philippines Seattle, Kabataan Alliance Washington, and the International League of People’s Struggle Seattle-Tacoma gathered for the 50th anniversary of martial law being declared in the Philippines by Ferdinand Marcos.

Several local Filipino American activists traveled to New York City to protest President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s first visit to the U.S. under his term at the United Nations General Assembly. As reported by ABS-CBN, three Filipino American activists were arrested outside Asia Society’s headquarters, where Marcos Jr. had been invited to deliver an address.

The commemoration included a flash choir mob at the Seafood City entrance inside Westfield Southcenter mall, with participants singing “Bayan Ko,” “Babae,” and “Tatsulok” with the accompaniment of a guitar. The performance was followed by clapping and cheering from onlookers, before the crowd made its way to the parking lot.

Candles were lit and used to create stage lines for various speakers, including a couple of martial law survivors from the Marcos era in the Philippines. The event wrapped up with chants and another performance from choir and community members.

Filipino American activists holding signs in the Seafood City parking lot
An estimated 100 Filipino American activists and community members gathered in the Seafood City parking lot. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
Filipino American activists begin lighting candles, which also served as a stage lines for speakers and performances
Filipino American activists begin lighting candles, which also served as a stage lines for speakers and performances. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
A sign from the martial law commemoration event reads "Commemorating Martyrs + Survivors of Martial Law, 50th Anniversary Sept. 21 1972
A sign from the martial law commemoration event. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
Community members gather in the Seafood City parking lot
Community members gather in the Seafood City parking lot to commemorate the 50th anniversary since martial law was first declared in the Philippines by President Ferdinand Marcos. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
Michael Alcantara of ICHRP Seattle, masked and holding a microphone, emcees during the martial law commemoration gathering
Michael Alcantara of ICHRP Seattle emcees during the martial law commemoration gathering. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
Martial law survivor Ka Rene, masked and holding a microphone, shares several stories about being an activist in the Philippines during that time period
Martial law survivor Ka Rene shares several stories about being an activist in the Philippines during that time period. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
Martial law survivor Tita Josie (center), masked and holding a microphone, encourages those in attendance to continue their advocacy for Filipino human rights
Martial law survivor Tita Josie (center) encourages those in attendance to continue their advocacy for Filipino human rights. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
Filipino American activists sing “Bayan Ko” by Freddie Aguilar while raising their fists and holding a flag and signs
Filipino American activists sing “Bayan Ko” by Freddie Aguilar. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)

Ronnie Estoque is a South Seattle-based freelance photographer and videographer. You can keep up with his work by checking out his website.

📸 Featured Image: Local Filipino American activists organized a flash mob choir, singing Filipino songs outside the Seafood City entrance inside Westfield Southcenter mall. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)

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