Red Rice & Fina'denne'

Latte Fest: CHamoru flavors and fashions in San Francisco

April 03, 2024 Jaybyrd Castro Season 1 Episode 9
Latte Fest: CHamoru flavors and fashions in San Francisco
Red Rice & Fina'denne'
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Red Rice & Fina'denne'
Latte Fest: CHamoru flavors and fashions in San Francisco
Apr 03, 2024 Season 1 Episode 9
Jaybyrd Castro

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Stepping onto Treasure Island, we were swept up in the vibrancy of the CHamoru culture at Latte Fest 2024. Adorned with the weight of multiple sinahi nechlace and the comfortable shade of a woven hat, Jaybyrd found himself navigating a sea of tradition, taste, and tales. Among the swirl of colors and sounds, I caught up with Chef Shawn Naputi, whose chagi chicken was nothing short of a culinary masterpiece, and the O'Mallon brothers from Guam Style, who passionately shared their vision of clothing steeped in heritage. It wasn't just about the food and fashion, though; community champions like Lenny Indalecio and Cece Lozoya reminded us that the heart of this festival beats with the rhythm of our collective efforts and pride.

The inaugural Latte Fest was a bridge across generations, with the Guam Community Club of Sacramento,  the Northern California Chamorro Club, and Inafa'maolek.us laying the foundation for our future. Guided by the inspiring leadership of Delfina Palomo, Victor Pangelinan, and Verna Castro, this event was more than a gathering—it was a proud display of the hafa adai spirit. Through interviews and laughs, Jaybyrd connected with attendees and volunteers. 

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Stepping onto Treasure Island, we were swept up in the vibrancy of the CHamoru culture at Latte Fest 2024. Adorned with the weight of multiple sinahi nechlace and the comfortable shade of a woven hat, Jaybyrd found himself navigating a sea of tradition, taste, and tales. Among the swirl of colors and sounds, I caught up with Chef Shawn Naputi, whose chagi chicken was nothing short of a culinary masterpiece, and the O'Mallon brothers from Guam Style, who passionately shared their vision of clothing steeped in heritage. It wasn't just about the food and fashion, though; community champions like Lenny Indalecio and Cece Lozoya reminded us that the heart of this festival beats with the rhythm of our collective efforts and pride.

The inaugural Latte Fest was a bridge across generations, with the Guam Community Club of Sacramento,  the Northern California Chamorro Club, and Inafa'maolek.us laying the foundation for our future. Guided by the inspiring leadership of Delfina Palomo, Victor Pangelinan, and Verna Castro, this event was more than a gathering—it was a proud display of the hafa adai spirit. Through interviews and laughs, Jaybyrd connected with attendees and volunteers. 

Jaybyrd Castro:

Hafa adai todu hamyu, i na'an hu si Jay Castro. Guahu si Jaybyrd. And this is the Red Rice and Fina'denne' podcast. I'm pulling up to the Latte fest 2024 right now. It's a celebration of our vibrant CHamoru/Chamorro culture held outside the YMCA on Treasure Island in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area my backyard and it's hosted in collaboration by the Guamanian Community Club of Sacramento, Northern California Chamorro Club and an organization named Inafa'maolek. It's been raining all week, but the Saina has blessed us with clear blue skies. But I'm just getting here and I'm riding solo and I want to stand out in the crowd, so folks will want to come up and talk to me. You know I got my microphone out. Maybe they want to get up on the podcast. I'm rocking my blue hafa adai, all day t-shirt. I'm also wearing three sinahis around my neck and probably breaking all the rules by doing it. I'm not tripping, because I got one for each of my kids and another one on for my dad. I'm also wearing this dope woven hat that Alana Abbey in Hawaii helped me make last time I was there in North Oahu.

Jaybyrd Castro:

The hat definitely makes me stand out. People are already looking at me. They're right over there. These folks are looking at me. Yeah, yeah, oh, she's laughing at me. She called me a chaud. You're jealous! Don't be jealous. Oh man, I haven't been called a chaud since the last time I hung out with my cousin, Jenni Manibusan. Cruz's Kitchen is out of Sacramento, they're hustling behind their tent pumping out smacking fiesta plates, corn soup, ube flan, the works. Ooh, what's that? Ooh, I'm jealous of that plate that you have, hey.

Jaybyrd Castro:

I didn't know you were out here what you making. Chef Shawn Naputi from Pubechu in San Francisco is here testing out a new casual concept that they call "chagi chicken. He's serving these kebabs of chicken and peppers and onions over a mound of red rice, which is so red that I can smell the achiote just by looking at it. The kebab smells sweet and the rice savory. Oh look, it's Tony from the Hoffa Brown Company. It's cool running into all the folks here because we follow each other on Instagram, we support each other's work and then we finally get to see each other in person at these events.

Lenny Indalecio from Bay Chiefin Clothing Line:

Yeah, yeah, definitely. Hey, what's going on? Y'allall, my name is Lenny Indalecio, familiar in Kabayu, uh, going by Wix1 SJ on Instagram. You know we're here at 2024 Latte Fest, you know, supporting the culture. You know I'm here as a volunteer, uh, because I want to show my kids what Chenchule really is, coming in helping out. If you can't help out monetary, you help out with your hands, and that's what the culture's about. So we're here to spread that Shout out to Jaybyr d and his family, everybody you know and what they're doing, and we look forward to seeing everybody at the 50th anniversary of San Roque. So again, Lenny Indalecia familian, Kabayu, Wix1 on Instagram. Holla at your boy.

Jaybyrd Castro:

Like the O'Mallon brothers who run Calibus and Guam Style out of their shop in Roseville, California, just outside Sacramento.

Lenny Indalecio from Bay Chiefin Clothing Line:

Push love baby. Yes, sir, how are you doing?

Cece Lozoya from Guamanian Community Club of Sacramento:

Good, how are you?

Jaybyrd Castro:

Doing Good Stuff looks good man.

A.J. O'Mallan from Guam Style:

What's up everybody. This is AJ from Guam Style. We're out here with the Guam Style brand and we aim to just protect, preserve, and unite the culture, make sure everybody's doing their part to keep our culture alive and still living. So glad to be out here, oh, my brother Tomas. He's my partner in everything. So, yeah, we're out here, brothers, nice.

Jaybyrd Castro:

I respected that because I have my brother Jeremy, we always out here hustlin' too

A.J. O'Mallan from Guam Style:

He's Chamorro. Yeah, his name is Ronnie and he hit me up on the email saying that he's coming with his Caltrans tow truck and he wants to get barbecue. So he's just strolling by. He's going to come and get it, that's for sure.

Jaybyrd Castro:

That's cool, and just like a family party or really any other cultural event that you might go to. You can't go 10 feet without seeing someone and saying what's up? They're like look, it's your par, it's your pari, it's a che'lu, it's your cousin, maybe it's even your auntie. Hey, look, there goes the Munoz family behind Metgot Creations. They do dope carvings and I got a few in my house.

Byron from Metgot Creations:

Hafa adai. This is Byron Metgot Creations. This is my wife, Gina, Metgo t Chamorrita. Together we are Metg ot Creations. We came out here to the Latte Fest to hang out and chill. We're not vending. We're out here to say hafa adai to everybody and spread the love. Yeah, so what we do is we do wood carvings. We try to keep the tradition and culture together. What inspires us actually is not the money, it's more of when my kids, family, friends, they go to other people's houses and they see my artwork on their walls.

Gina from Metgot Creations:

That goes the same way with me. I try bring um our culture back to the main land. It's not about the money, it's about the love spreading the our culture and our heritage forward to our young kids not only my kids, but the younger generations moving forward. We want to keep our our island on the map and not be forgotten.

Jaybyrd Castro:

I can relate to that. Oh wait, look there goes someone from the organizing crew. Let me go talk to them real quick.

Cece Lozoya from Guamanian Community Club of Sacramento:

Hi, my name is Cece LaZoya. I'm the secretary of the Guamanian Community Club of Sacramento. I am first generation born stateside. My family is from Agat and Hagaña and today we are celebrating the Latte Fest. We have plenty of Chamorro food, CHamoru dancing, vendors and, yeah, I'm here just to spread the culture such as hafa adai spirit and, you know, teach the younger generation about what it is to be Chamorro.

Jaybyrd Castro:

What it is to be Chamoru/Chamorro. That's deep, the way that I think about it. It's not a matter of how much Chamorro I am, although there have been times when I had to prove my percentage. It's about how much I live by the Chamorro values. It means you learn great respect and how to earn it. It means Latte stones, which signify strength, resiliency and admiration of our women.

Cece Lozoya from Guamanian Community Club of Sacramento:

Give it up for Kutturan Chamorro Foundation. Thank you, Heidi, and thank you Saina Eric Reyes si Yu'us ma'åse. Wow, what a show so far. Are you guys enjoying yourselves?

Jaybyrd Castro:

I really am enjoying myself. I'm really having a good time catching up with folks, but everyone keeps telling me I gotta go talk to two people, Vic Pangilinan and Verna Castro. So I found them and they shared some more backstory on this Latte Fest.

Victor Pangelinan from Northern California Chamorro Club:

So Victor Pangilinan, my parents are Jesus and Lucille Pangilinan. My dad's from Palantet grew up in Maina and my mom's from Hagana Heights.

Jaybyrd Castro:

This is hella funny, where folks who are from the islands will give you geographic and structural waypoints and features to describe where they're from. Where's Palantin?

Victor Pangelinan from Northern California Chamorro Club:

Right Yona, Ah, the backside. So if you go up the hill and you go, you'd pick Carabao and Yona right?

Jaybyrd Castro:

I have never. You see, you go up the hill and you take the Carabao in Yona. You haven't taken the carabao in Yona yet? Shame. Straight up, mamåhlao.

Victor Pangelinan from Northern California Chamorro Club:

Go past the big carabao and you follow the trail in the back of Palantas, so you start entering that way.

Jaybyrd Castro:

You live here now I take it right?

Victor Pangelinan from Northern California Chamorro Club:

We moved. Dad was in the Navy, so we traveled around and ended up, say, in American Canyon in 1975. And grew up out here, from elementary all the way to high school in the Napa area. My Dad was a machinist submarine.

Jaybyrd Castro:

And so, as we got talking, he started to tell me a bit about the organization that he's from and how the Latte fest came about.

Victor Pangelinan from Northern California Chamorro Club:

So the mission of the Northern California Chamorro Club is bringing our people back home, showing them the culture, having the kids come up and understand the culture, cause you know, right now, as they grow up, no one's really a hundred percent Chamorro right, we're, we're, you know, we're out in, out in the States, so it's a little mix-match. So we bring them the culture. We have our kids event, we have our Easter event and we have our dinner dance for us to provide to the community. So you know, we're all about bringing the community, the Chamorros, all together and enjoy themselves. I love it.

Victor Pangelinan from Northern California Chamorro Club:

Actually, our parents my dad and mom was involved with the Vallejo Chamorro Club and some of our members are from Fairfield, Vacaville Chamorro Club, so as kids we would meet together. So, as you know, the go. We kind of talked because they kind of went away, the clubs went away, the scenes went away. We wanted to bring that back. So everybody from the Fairfield Chamorro Club and the Vallejo Chamorro Club, the kids, we had a meeting. We brought it back In 2016,. We created the Northern California Chamorro Club and we've been going strong as of that, having our community together, showing them the culture, show them the food, show them what it takes, put the roots in the ground of where we come from. I love that props to that.

Jaybyrd Castro:

Yes, my grandparents. They also, when they moved here, started the, well, I don't know if they started, but were main contributors to the Alameda Guam Club. Okay, and so, and so that's how I met the Duenas family. It's how I met all the Tenorio family and how we just started spreading in the east bay, you know, not as far east as y'all. But so that means that, like your parents and all of them, they knew of my grandparents for sure. Yes, and I bet that you and my dad at some point were running around the same hall or the same church at one point in life.

Victor Pangelinan from Northern California Chamorro Club:

Yes, because they would travel.

Victor Pangelinan from Northern California Chamorro Club:

You know, the kids came up, they cleaned up you know, pick up all the trash, the um, two, three clubs that we have. We talked, we got in a meeting and we were like talking about putting in a M tomorrow, you know, for the month of march and uh, 30 days this whole thing got put together and, you know, od is good. We thought it was gonna rain. The sun's been out all day, everybody's having a great time. I've got no complaints or anything like that, you know. So I think it's just showing our roots, our respect to the culture.

Verna Castro from Inafamaolek.us:

Hafa Adai Toto hamchoo. Hello to everybody. This is Verna Castro, the Executive Director of anafamalikus, a Chamorro-based Bay Area organization. My family is Castro, from Chala. It's my father. My mother is Nandes. Jantan agwan, from Agatna. Anafamalik means to restore harmony, to make good for self, for community and for the environment. What a beautiful central concept.

Verna Castro from Inafamaolek.us:

The Latte Fest began with a conversation with Delfina Palomo, the president of the Guam Community Club of Sacramento. We brought in Vic P, North Cal Chamorro Club president, out of Vacaville. Together, we brought in our team. We decided what better way to celebrate Mez Chamorro than to have this in Northern California? Southern California has lots of festivals and clubs, so we wanted to start it in this manner, Also to bring the Monunkuls, our elders, our wise elders and our young people. We're real good with social media and other things like that, so we did that. What a great event. We had four to 500 people attend for our first go around at Treasure Island, the YMCA. Everybody had a good time. It was free vendors, entertainment, et cetera. Some key players are Tina Tomas, AJ, Shana Mary Lane.

Jaybyrd Castro:

Shout out to everyone who was there, to everyone who contributed, to all those people that I got interviews from Latfest 2024. It was dope. I'll see you next year on Treasure Island. No-transcript.

Celebrating culture
Guam Style
Metgot Creations
Cece Lozoya
What it is to be CHamoru
CHamoru chant
Victor Pangelinan
Verna Castro
How Latte Fest started

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