By Gustavo Arellano
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By Charles Lam
Corky Nepomuneco doesn't like to talk about herself. She doesn't even care if people forget her last name. Nepomuneco only cares if you know about one thing: Fullerton. The quirky Filipina is the owner of Fullerton Foundry, a website for sharing the food, the culture and her hand-over-heart passion for the city. Although she isn't from there, or even Orange County, you'll never go downtown on a weekend or to an event in the city without seeing her showing support, clad in pigtails and giving warm hugs.
Spending her childhood in Chicago and her young adulthood in the Philippines, Nepomuneco never quite felt at home. She attended an all-girls school, then spent what she describes as "a little too much time partying" in the clubs as she got older. Eventually, she packed up and moved to Los Angeles. Her father had inspired a mild interest in architecture and she worked for a fashion designer, but nothing seemed to stick. In another effort to find something fresh, she moved to Fullerton with her daughter, and there, she finally found home.
"There's people who have been here forever, and then there's the younger generation—but everyone is devoted to this town," she says. "There's an intrinsic dedication. People say, 'Once a Fullertonian, always a Fullertonian.' You can go elsewhere, but your heart's here. Almost like San Francisco."
Yet it wasn't this slowly building enthusiasm that inspired Nepomuneco to become what a friend coined Fullerton's "mini-bureau of tourism."
"I started the website," she admits, "out of spite and venom for a couple of people whom I had written for, but refused to pay me." That was in 2011, and it turned out to be the best time for a pro-Fullerton website. "Because of the horrible incident of Kelly Thomas' murder, Fullerton had been upturned, and suddenly, people all over the world started talking about it—but it was only because of that horrible circumstance! I thought there are so many positive things here that need to be showcased."
Fullerton Foundry isn't all restaurant reviews and event promos, though. Nepomuneco uses it as a fund-raising tool for the community. "The most memorable moment was when Joel Eckman Maus from Studio EMP asked me to raise money for Mike Atta, the guitarist for Middle Class and owner of Out of Vogue," she says with misty eyes. "His cancer had relapsed. We organized a huge cash mob and raffle. Everyone from town came out to support, and Jeremy Popoff from Slidebar [and local band Lit] even donated one of his guitars. When I saw it, I almost broke down."
Nowadays, Nepomuneco spends most of her time plugging Fullerton through social media, but, she says, it's only because she can reach more people that way. The website has never been about touting her writing or making a name for herself, she says. "It's . . . just . . . because . . . Fullerton."