Executive Director & Co-Founder - Herna Cruz-Louie
Herna (pronounced "Er-Na") Cruz-Louie is the Executive Director and Co-Founder for American Center of Philippine Arts (ACPA). Herna's exposure to Philippine dance and music started at the age of 5, when she learned cultural dances to perform at local town fiestas. In 1995, she graduated from learning Philippine dance in garages and backyards to becoming a performer with PASACAT Philippine Performing Arts Company of San Diego, CA and eventually became an instructor for music by the age of 18. After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2000, she performed with LIKHA-Pilipino Folk Ensemble as a musician and became Executive Director.
For over 18 years, Herna has performed and collaborated with many dance companies, organizations, schools and individual artists such as KulArts, Barangay Dance Company, Kawayan Folk Arts, Kariktan Dance Company, Parangal Dance Company, Glitter and Razz, Francis Wong, Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor (PACE) of SFSU, Asian Pacific American Youth Promoting Advocacy & Leadership (AYPAL), Mga Kapatid of UC Davis, Kulintronica, Kasamahan of USF, and more.
Herna also has over 13 years working as an administrator for nonprofit organizations such as the YMCA, Coaching Corps (formerly Team-Up for Youth), Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center, Kearny Street Workshop, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. She also worked with Circle of Moms, an online social media website for mothers. Herna is the co-founder of her own events management company called Events by Herna & Marissa, and is currently the Human Resources Representative at Tightrope Interactive, Inc., an online advertising agency based in San Francisco, CA.
Marketing Director - Lydia D. Neff
Lydia “Lady” Neff is proud Philippine native. She began performing at an early stage with a background in traditional, classical and contemporary dance, music and acting. Neff joined the acclaimed Powerdance and acted in a few indie films in the Philippines. After earning her Master’s Degree from The Ateneo De Manila University, she moved to California and joined the Coastal Dance and Music Academy studying lyrical, jazz, ballet and was part of the famous Runway on 46. She also plays the piano, bass guitar and tambourine and has a serviceable singing voice. She performed in Jay Loyola’s Tagabanua at Union Square and Huni ng Tandikan at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Lydia is an accomplished professional with 7+ years of Digital Media Account Management focusing on Marketing, Public Relations, Advertising, Corporate Training and Development. Lydia is also a Lean Six Sigma trained Project Manager with extensive PMP Training. She’s a dependable teammate maintaining strong abilities in establishing and enhancing business relationships in both urban and small town communities while working effectively with staff teams, executives and community leaders.
Prior to moving to the Bay Area from San Luis Obispo, CA, Lydia was a Digital Media Account Manager for an NBC station. In this role she was mainly responsible for Digital Advertising in her company’s online ad campaigns. Most notably, Lydia conceived and brought to fruition the idea for a Groupon-esque ad campaign called My 805 Deals, a program which increased her company’s ad sales considerably and is still in place today. She is currently handling website design, maintenance, and social media marketing for www.DiscussUC.com --a networking outlet for unified communications companies like Cisco, Shoretel and Avaya. Lydia is currently an Integrated Media Consultant for Clear Channel Media + Entertainment.
Music Director - Nick Obando
Nick Obando's path to music came at a very young age when discovering a saxophone in his father's closet. He continued to study multiple genres from symphonic to jazz all the way through college where he majored in Music at Cal State San Marcos. Returning to the Bay Area he became an educator. In addition to teaching privately, Obando is also currently a middle school music teacher at a local private school in Oakland. He develops himself as a musician through the medium of improvisation where he performs around the bay area with an experimental jazz group Mutual Aid Project, a politically conscious band. His involvement in the Philippine arts began by studying bandurria through ACPA. Obando fell in love with the music and dance of the Philippines. He also felt a more complete self in learning about his cultural background by way of the arts.
SEED Site Coordinator - Oakland & Costume Coordinator - Diana Tayag Lerma
Diana Tayag Lerma has been involved in Pilipino dance since she was 19. She was an original member of the Barangay Dance Company in San Francisco, a founding member of the Larawan Philippine Dance Company, and finally a performing member of the Likha Pilipino Folk Ensemble. Her never-ending passion for Philippine culture and dance has led her to become part of American Center of Philippine Arts. She firmly believes in ACPA's mission in nurturing our community and ethnic identity, especially through our youth. The mother of two children - both of whom are part of ACPA's SEED (Students Enriched in Education and Development) Program - Diana hopes that by sharing her passion with the younger generation, they can connect more fully with their cultural history and hopefully, have a better understanding of what it means to be a Pilipino in America. Diana currently serves ACPA as a dance assistant and co-coordinator of costumes as well as the SEED Program coordinator.
SEED Site Coordinator - Brentwood - Mar Honrada
Maria Valentin Honrada began her exploration in Philippine culture during her college years at San Francisco State where she became an active member of the Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor organization. It was there that she discovered her passion for her culture especially in the art of Pilipino dance. In 1992, Maria was a founding member of Likha-Pilipino Folk Ensemble. She took several years off from dancing to raise her family but came back to perform and tour with Likha. As a mother of four children, she stands firmly behind the Mission and Vision of ACPA and believes in learning, sharing, and teaching the many aspects of our culture to our own children and to the communities at large.
Dance Instructor & Musician - Randy Miranda
Randy Miranda has been dancing for 22 years and playing the badurria for 17. At the age of 13, Randy saw the popular dance tinikling, being performed by PASACAT at St. Rita's Church's Filipino community “Simbang Gabi.” He was enamored by the dance and wanted to join. It was then PASACAT started their “junior” dance program.
In 1999, Randy moved up to the Bay Area to get his bachelor's degree in Kinesiology at San Francisco State . He later joined PASACAT's sister company Likha, as a musician. In 2003, Randy was recruited to dance with Likha, but continued as a musician.
Fast forward to 2009, Randy is currently a dance assistant/musician with ACPA.
Props Master - Ron Honrada
Ron Honrada has always had interest in the many aspects of our culture. He was introduced to the world of folk dancing through his wife's involvement with the community and dance companies. His biggest passions are his four children, which three are members of ACPA's Seed Program. As his children's number one supporter, he has also become an asset to ACPA as their Stage, Props, and Audio Lead.
Webmaster and Photographer - Chris Lerma
Chris Lerma was first introduced to Philippine folk dance with Larawan back in 1993 where he met and married his wife Diana. Since then he always had interest in Filipino folk dancing. Chris currently works for Hewlett-Packard since 2000. Prior to H-P he worked for Deliotte & Touche Consulting as Technical SAP lead. He is a Sr. Application Engineer III specializing in SAP. He holds a Master Degree in Information Technology from Golden Gate University. His passion is in web design and photography; this is where he can add value to ACPA. Additionally, he is working on the side expanding his photography business. For samples of his work, visit www.ChrisLerma.com .