Herna Cruz-Louie Executive Director & Co-Founder

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 20 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 15 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. Herna is the co-founder of her own events management company called Events by Herna & Marissa, and is currently the Director of Human Resources at the Girl Scouts of Northern California. She was awarded as one of Filipina Womens Network’s 100 Most Influential Filipinas in 2011, and was a featured Asian American Studies Alumna of San Francisco State University in 2014. Herna completed her M.S. in Human Resources Management from Golden Gate University in 2015.

Jennifer Cruz-Reyes Asst. Artistic Director & SEED Program Manager – Oakland

Jennifer Cruz Reyes began her exposure in Philippine folk dance at a young age when she performed at the Pateros Association of San Diego’s annual town fiestas growing up in San Diego, CA. She continued to build a passion for performing arts and Philippine dance and music as a member of the PASACAT Philippine Performing Arts Company in 1993 and became one of the company’s core instructors for the youth program, as well as a musician for the music ensemble. After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2003, Jennifer became a performing member of the LIKHA-Pilipino Folk Ensemble and became a Founding Staff Member when American Center of Philippine Arts was established in 2009. Jennifer continues to pass on her passion, knowledge and teachings to youth through ACPA’s SEED Youth Program while raising her 2 daughters, both who are current members of the youth program.

Maria Honrada SEED Program Manager – Brentwood

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.

Eric Dong Dance Instructor & ACPA Konnect Coordinator

Eric Dong began his interest in Philippine Folk Dance and Music while he was a student at the University of San Francisco (USF) and was an active member of the Kasamahan Filipino student organization on campus. Eric began taking Rondalla classes with Herna Cruz-Louie in 2014, and took on the leadership role as Cultural Coordinator for the USF Kasamahan Barrio Fiesta (Pilipino Cultural Night) Production in 2016. Eric is an active member of ACPA’s Music Ensemble and is a performing artist for the Parangal Dance Company of San Francisco. He continues to build his passion in Philippine folk dance and music and recently became ACPA’s Dance Assistant Instructor in 2016.

Jazlynn Pastor Dance Instructor

Jazlynn G. Eugenio Pastor is a 2018 Graduate from the University of San Francisco (USF), B.A. in Communication Studies and the Yuchengco Philippine Studies Program (YPSP) and Asian Pacific American Studies minors. Growing up in Alhambra, California, the most she knew of her Philippine culture was what her family taught her. Lacking resources that celebrated her Pinayism, she felt disconnected from her roots. She expressed these feelings through poetry and competitive Hip Hop. When she moved to San Francisco in 2014, she was introduced to the Filipino and Filipino American community through Kasamahan at USF. Because of its Dance Troupe, its annual cultural production Barrio Fiesta, and YPSP’s courses, Jazlynn gave into her passion for the performing arts. Throughout her USF career, she has served as Kasamahan’s Cultural Director, a Public Programs Intern at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, a Diversity Education Intern of USF’s Intercultural Center, and President of the Culturally Focused Clubs Council. She continues her work towards cultural representation and the performing arts as a member of Parangal Dance Company and Asian Women United in hopes to one day bring her experiences into higher education and the community.

Jonathan Mercado Dance Instructor

Jonathan is an inter-disciplinarian Filipino-American artist born within the bay area. As a part of the Filipino diaspora within the U.S. he has often looked to discover more about his Filipino heritage and culture through movement. His movement is inspired through his experiences of hip-hop/urban choreography and Filipino folk dancing.

He currently dances with Kularts under director Alleuia Panis and Parangal Dance Company under director Eric Solano. His passion will continue to guide his efforts of discovering his own dance vocabulary that reflects his personal experiences.

Katherine Pantangco Dance Instructor

***Bio Coming Soon***

Kimberly Requesto Dance Instructor

Kim Requesto is a Philippine born, Bay Area raised cultural practitioner based in San Francisco, California. She specializes in 35 mm photography, videography, and dance. Requesto deconstructs Filipino folkloric performance to highlight the multiplicity of cultural perspectives and narratives.

Requesto has been part of the Filipino Folk Dance community in San Francisco since 2005 and continues to perform with Parangal Dance Company as one of their Dance Masters. In 2016, the Alliance of California for Traditional Art awarded Requesto a grant to apprentice under Kalinga Cultural Master Artist Jenny Bawer Young and in 2018, she went to the province of Lubuagan, Kalinga, Philippines to learn from renowned Kalinga cultural bearer, Cirilo “Sapi” Bawer. Through Parangal Dance Company, Requesto has been able to immerse and do research in various indigenous ethnolinguistic communities: Ata Manobo, Panay Bukidnon, Tagakaolo, Ati Tarog, Yakan, Subanen, Ifugao, Kagan, Maguindano, Bugkalot, T’boli, and Kalinga.

Requesto aspires to create more contemporary Philippine diasporic dance work and visual media using her background in Philippine dance to bring awareness and thoughtfulness to the realities of different communities in the Philippines and the diaspora.

Honorable Mentions

Sydney Loyola Co-Founder

Sydney Loyola toured internationally as a principal dancer of the Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company and was considered a protégé of choreographer Lucrecia Reyes-Urtula, Philippine’s National Artist for Folk Dance.

Loyola was the founding artistic director for American Center of Philippine Arts, and has mentored various universities, including UC Berkeley, CSU East Bay, UC Merced, UC Irvine and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Her awards include “Young Alumni Achiever in Arts and Humanities” by Holy Trinity University, and the nomination for an Isadora Duncan Award for her 2008 collaboration with Rudi Soriano, Kadayawan.

She taught Philippine folk dance workshops for Singapore Arts Festival; Kaliningrad International Dance Festival in Russia, Konnichiwa Festival in Japan, Macau Arts Festival in China and the Philippine International Dance Festival and World Folklore Festival under the auspices of Conseil International des Organisations de Festivals de Folklore et d’Arts Traditionnels in France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and the Philippines.

Diana Tayag Lerma Past SEED Program Manager

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 who have been a 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.

Past Board of Directors

  • Em Angeles
  • Cynthia Bonta
  • Angelica Dongallo
  • Lydia Querian
  • Reginald Tuyay
  • Jora Atienza Washington
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