STOCKTON -- A prominent member of the Filipino community in Stockton passed away at the age of 46 on Friday.
At the 2018 Barrio Fiesta on Sunday attendees spoke about Dawn Mabalon's impact on the community.
For the past 46 years, the Barrio Fiesta has been nestled inside the Filipino Center Plaza in downtown Stockton the second weekend of August.
“The dancing and the music and then the food is also the best. The Filipino lumpias and the barbeque pork is awesome,” said attendee Robert Maldonado Jr.
As attendees enjoyed all the fiesta had to offer, many in attendance were left reflecting on the life of Mabalon, who died in Hawaii a day before the fiesta began.
Mabalon was born and raised in Stockton and was an Associate Professor of History at San Francisco State University, specializing in Philippine and Filipino American history.
“The sense of arts and culture always was with her as she grew up and she became more actively involved with the Filipino causes,” said Val Acoba.
Acoba had known Malabon since Dawn was around 10 years old and watched as she graduated from Edison High School before becoming the co-founder of the Little Manila Foundation in Stockton. Mabalon also wrote two books about Filipino American history, including “Filipinos in Stockton.”
"She will always be remembered for being positive and spreading the news about Filipino culture and Filipino Americans," Acoba expressed. "I think she touched many, many, many people and these people will carry that spark on."
Members of the Little Manila Foundation honored Malabon on Saturday and as the fiesta continued Sunday, Mabalon’s legacy and what she meant to Stockton’s Filipino community loomed over it.
The fiesta plans to honor Mabalon again when the Little Manila group takes the stage at 7 p.m. Sunday.