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Flavor of the Philippines: Local photographer captures culture through food and film

Local photographer shares her Filipino culture through traditional Filipino cuisine.
Local photographer shares her Filipino culture through traditional Filipino cuisine.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville is home to one of the largest Filipino populations in the southeast.

One local photographer is capturing the flavor of her Filipino culture through food and film.

“I could share our stories and that was kind of my drive and motivation,” said Agnes Lopez.

Agnes Lopez loves photographing the faces of The River City with some of her best work featured in the New York Times.

She also highlights her heritage through powerful images of everything from Filipino artists to World War II Veterans.

“I think culturally we are taught to hide and not brag but I think now we’re realizing we should be proud, we should let people know,” said Lopez.

Lopez is now working on a documentary called “Jax Filipino Chefs #MoreThanLumpia.”

“Our food is our heart and if we present it to someone it would devastate us if it was rejected. So, we keep it close to our heart,” said Lopez.

“I have to stay with my roots, stay with my culture, and food is a good way to do that,” said Leni Rose Magsino, chef and owner of The Perfect Pear Catering.

Magsino, says she loves traditional Filipino dishes.

“People say oh I want to be famous; I want to be on Food Network. If I can just make you smile and truly appreciate the dish that I just gave you and you get to experience a little bit of who I am, that just makes me so happy,” said Melanie Cuartelon, Sous Chef at the Sawgrass Marriot.

“Being a part of this project has helped open my eyes more to appreciate and be proud to be Filipino American. So, to be with these other chefs some were born here in the states, some were born in the Philippines and immigrated here to the states, to be able to hear their stories and see the food they cook from their different regions it’s pretty awesome,” said Cuartelon.

Capturing their pride in Filipino culture, through the lens of food.

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Anchors the 4:30 a.m. newscast, provides traffic updates throughout the rest of The Morning Show, then reports on events in the community.