Meet Our Team
Director & Co-Founder
Herna (pronounced “Er-Na”) Cruz-Louie is the 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 became 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.
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. 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.
SEED Coordinator - 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.
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 became ACPA’s Dance Assistant Instructor in 2016.
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.
SEED Coordinator - 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.
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.
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. 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.
Katherine is one of the Dance Instructors for ACPA. She also dances and performs with Kularts, a Filipino tribal and contemporary arts company, based in the SoMa's Filipino Cultural Heritage District. She has a background in classical ballet and regularly practices ballet, contemporary, and modern dance.
Digital Media Coordinator
Matthew Espina Harris is a UC Davis graduate with degrees in Communication and Spanish. He got started in Philippine-inspired dance and music through Pilipino Culture Night, where he fell in love with Rondalla and Kulintang music.
Matt joined ACPA as a musician in 2018 and now serves as an advisor to numerous collegiate Fil-Am organizations in NorCal. He is a student of traditional Kulintang music under House of Gongs, and went on to establish one of the only student-run, traditionally based Kulintang ensembles in the US through Mga Kapatid at UC Davis.
Matt is also an active cultural researcher with Parangal Dance Company as well as the Music Coordinator for Little Manila Kulintang Academy in Stockton.
Co-Founder & Artistic Director
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.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jora Atienza Washington