SAN DIEGO – Major League Baseball has been celebrating Filipino Heritage Nights across the country for quite a few years now, which is the annual celebration of Filipino heritage and culture, as saluted by those playing professional baseball. Last week, one local talented member of the Filipino American community got to live out a dream come true when she was selected to sing at Petco Park, delivering the national anthem on Filipino Heritage Night, June 15.

Temecula’s Arlynn Santos Casanada, who, along with her family, are bigtime Padres fans that relish in their Filipino Heritage, was the perfect match when the Padres reached out to her back in April.

Temecula’s Arlynn Santos Casanada prepares to sing the national anthem prior to the Padres versus Guardians game Thursday, June 15. Valley News/Courtesy photo

“They actually reached out to Pasacat Philippine Dance Company asking if they had anyone to submit for consideration of singing the national anthem for Filipino Heritage Night,” Casanada said. “A friend of mine (since kindergarten), Kathlyn Cancel, is a Pasacat board member and is the one who approached me asking my permission to submit my video to entertainment liaison Dennis Michael Broussard.”

On April 11, Casanada received the awesome news that the Padres picked her to sing before the game, which took place Thursday, June 15, before they took on the Guardians. And, to make it even more special, the Pasacat Philippine Dance Company were selected to perform for the preshow.

The Casanada family has been embedded in the youth baseball scene for a number of years with both their sons playing through the ranks of the Temecula Youth Baseball Pony League, as well as the Great Oak High School program where their youngest currently plays.

Temecula’s Arlynn Casanada is presented on the big screen prior to singing the national anthem for the San Diego Padres Filipino Heritage Night Thursday, June 15, at Petco Park. Valley News/Courtesy photo

As for singing, Arlynn, who is also a local realtor, has been doing that since she was little, “All because of my parents buying the karaoke machine with 8 tracks,” she laughingly admitted. “Did that age me?”

When asked about the experience, she confessed that she loved the VIP status. “Jesi and Justin of the Pad Squad were so hospitable and accomplished,” she said. “I was so excited that I was allowed to have a “plus one” join me throughout the experience, so, of course I picked my awesome hubby to be my wingman.”

Arlynn and her husband Cedric were born and raised in San Diego, so there is no other team she said she would rather cheer on and sing for. With about 200 friends and family there rooting her on, the experience was surreal she said. With a Sun headpiece created by designer Marharlika, and after sewing her very first Filipiniana blouse to wear and represent the Philippine culture, Arlynn nailed the anthem while wearing red, blue and gold to represent The Philippines flag. The Filipiniana is a traditional outfit, usually with puffy oversize sleeves, a blouse (baro or camisa), a long skirt (saya) and a panuelo (a piece of fabric worn as a head covering or as a scarf around the neck) draped over the shoulders.

“That was the biggest platform I’ve ever performed for with the biggest audience,” she said. “When I did my very first sound check, my knees were trembling.” I was anxious, nervous and excited all at the same time. I was very grateful for this opportunity to represent my Filipino heritage and my hometown of San Diego. I’m especially thankful to all my friends and family that came to support me, which included some that were Dodger fans.”

The San Diego Padres Friar gives Temecula’s Arlynn Santos Casanada a hug as she prepares to sing the national anthem for Filipino Heritage Night Thursday, June 15. Valley News/Courtesy photo

As for the game, the Padres fell to Cleveland 8-6, but not without some early fireworks when Manny Machado launched a three-run homer in the first inning. Unfortunately, the Padres were unable to overcome an early 5-0 deficit. San Diego, which had won five of six, was looking for its first three-game sweep this season. Going into this weekend, the Padres (41-46) are 8.5 games back from first place and are home to face the New York Mets.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at

JP Raineri
JP Raineri

JP is an award-winning multimedia journalist, and head of the Sports Department for the Valley News. Over his time in the Temecula Valley, JP, a former Southwestern League head baseball coach, was also an on-air radio personality at Q103.3, KATY 101.3, Hot 103.9, and was a television host for the Outdoor Channel. When not covering local, or national sports, JP also serves as an Associate Baseball Scout with NSR.