Hidden Hi Fi (2015-Present)


Hidden Hi Fi is an arts, culture, and equitable development project in Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown (Hi Fi) neighborhood. A partnership between the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) and Public Matters, Hidden Hi Fi illuminates neighborhood assets through interactive events, tours, and experiences that inform and delight. These activities offer residents and visitors alike a vibrant dose of Los Angeles Filipino/Filipino-American flavor: history, art, culture, food, and drink, including an unforgettable Jeepney ride.


Hidden Hi Fi has two primary program areas:

  • Classic Hidden Hi Fi Jeepney Tours – an open-air expedition through the sights, sounds, streets, and stories of Historic Filipinotown on the vintage 1944 Sarao Motor Company Jeepney.
  • Halo-Halo Series – events and activities that bring to life the neighborhood’s vibrant identity through food, history, and culture.


As part of Hidden Hi Fi, Urban Futures Lab Fellows are trained to expand, promote, and lead Hi Fi activites and events. Fellows learn communication, marketing, social media, and business development skills. They work with project partners, community leaders, residents, and businesses to brainstorm programs, and design and execute activities for people to experience the Hidden Hi Fi Classic Jeepney Tours and other neighborhood assets.

Our Role

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Public Matters works with PWC to identify, design, and implement project goals

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Builds partnerships with CBOs, residents, and local businesses

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Manages the work of Fellows and supports their learning and execution of project elements


Filipinos are the largest Asian population in the City of Los Angeles, but the community and this historical neighborhood are often overlooked. Despite receiving its designation from the City’s government in 2002, Historic Filipinotown today has few cultural or physical markers to convey the area’s identity. It is better known for its proximity to the 101 Freeway, Downtown Los Angeles, Echo Park and Silver Lake than as a cultural nexus.


Hidden Hi Fi responds to the absence of such markers by developing iconic events and happenings that celebrate local residents, organizations and businesses. It sheds light on the area’s hidden Filipino and immigrant history and culture.

This project builds on PDUB Productions, which Public Matters undertook with PWC and others from 2008 to 2011.



PWC is a 501(c)3 located in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles. PWC believes that all people and communities have the right to a healthy, dignified quality of life.


Although Pilipinos are the largest Asian ethnic group in California and Los Angeles, the struggles of Pilipino immigrants are often invisible. As an anchor institution in Historic Filipinotown, PWC is committed to programs that enhance neighborhood residents’ quality of life, improve access to opportunity, and share the stories of our community.



As an arts, culture, and equitable development project, we work closely with our project partner and other neighborhood stakeholders to build relationships that support increased understanding of the cultural significance of Hi Fi, while building hyper-local community development in Historic Filipinotown.




In 2015 and 2016, Public Matters received awards through the Creative Economic Development Fund from the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles and Center for Cultural Innovation  to train young adult Fellows from the Urban Futures Lab through the hands-on work of Hidden Hi Fi.


With a 2016-2017 California Arts Council Local Impact Grant, Public Matters undertook Love & Loss in Hi Fi, a dynamic, five-part Hidden Hi Fi screening/story-gathering series that engaged residents in a direct response to their rapidly gentrifying community.


In 2019, The Chicharrón Chronicles will take place in Historic Filipinotown. The project is a story-gathering project that looks at the historical, social, and cultural commonalities between Filipinx and Latinx immigrants through the themes of labor, language, and food. Events will take place during summer to share media from the existing archive and to collect new stories and experiences that express the character and history of the neighborhood. The Chicharrón Chronicles is a Hidden Hi Fi project with our dear partner, Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California, that builds on last year’s Love and Loss in Hi Fi and aims to preserve and uplift local narratives and neighborhood treasures.

This project is made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org.


Follow Hidden Hi Fi on Instagram and Facebook to find out about future events.


Sponsorship opportunities for Hidden Hi Fi and Halo Halo Series events and activities are available. Get in touch if you’d like to know more!


  • // public conversations // screenings // story-gathering // The Chicharrón Chronicles is a cross-cultural story- gathering project in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles. Teasing out the bonds that can form over fried pork rinds (chicharrón/chicharon/cracklins) and a shared Spanish colonial history, the project invites community members......

  • Check out this information on property ownership from Love and Loss in Hi Fi, Chapter 2. “How Do You Find Home?” Many thanks to Río (jill contreras), Realtor® for increasing our shared understanding and spreading this information in their presentation. > PRESENTATION: Rio-Owning Land As Resilience?!......