Take a ride on a vintage Pilipino Jeepney to explore LA’s Historic Filipinotown.
Join Cartwheel Art x Atlas Obscura for a guided tour of Historic Filipinotown in a colorful and kitschy jeep shuttle.
Jeepneys originated in the Philippines after WWII, when military jeeps left behind by American troops were converted into colorful jitneys for public transportation, and are now the most popular form of transportation in the Philippines today. These open-air shuttles expose their passengers to car exhaust, dust, heat, and humidity—but what they lack in comfort, they make up for in convenience.
Our tour through the “Hi Fi” district in an authentic 1944 Sarao Motor Company jeepney will be led by Hidden Hi Fi, a cultural and economic development project in Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown (Hi Fi) neighborhood. Led by the Hi Fi-based organization Pilipino Workers Center (PWC), a non-profit that advocates for workers’ rights and services for immigrants, in partnership with LA-based social enterprise Public Matters, Hidden Hi Fi illuminates neighborhood assets through interactive events, tours, and experiences that inform and delight.
As we pass murals, churches, and a number of Filipino-run local small businesses, we’ll learn about the history of this LA ethnic enclave that’s the only one in the world outside of the Philippines officially dedicated to honoring Filipinos.
Filipinos are the largest ethnic Asian population in LA County, but because the Philippine diaspora tends to quickly assimilate with the local population, they aren’t as visible as other Asian communities. However, their roots go back to the 16th century when the Spanish Galleon trade route opened between Mexico and the Philippines. The first Asian in California (then part of Mexico) was a Filipino!
Hidden Hi Fi is funded in part from the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles and Center for Cultural Innovation’s Creative Economic Development Fund grant.