Filipino American

Filipino American

Infobox Ethnic group
group = flagicon|Philippines flagicon|US Filipino American


caption = Notable Filipino Americans:
Cristeta Comerford, Maj.Gen. Antonio Taguba, Veronica De La Cruz, and Allan Pineda
poptime = 4,000,000cite web
title= Background Note: Philippines
publisher=U.S. Department of State: Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
quote=There are an estimated four million Americans of Philippine ancestry in the United States, and more than 250,000 American citizens in the Philippines.
1.5% of the US population (2007)

popplace = Alaska, California, Hawaii, Washington, Chicago, Northeast, West Coast, Southern U.S.
langs = American English, Tagalog, Ilocano, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, Bikolano , Visayan languages, others
rels = Predominantly Roman Catholic; minorities of Protestantism, Islam, Atheism, Agnosticism, Buddhism, and other.

Filipino Americans are Americans of Philippine ancestry, which trace back to the Philippines, an archipelagic nation in Southeast Asia. cite web|url=|coauthors=United States Census Bureau|title=US demographic census|accessdate=2006-08-28]

The Filipino American (Fil-Am for short) community is the second largest Asian American subgroup and the largest Southeast Asian American group. Filipino Americans are also the largest subgroup of the Overseas Filipinos.cite press release
title=Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month: May 2007
date=March 1, 2007
publisher=U.S. Census Bureau
(based on census 2000 data)]

In 2007, the Filipino American community was estimated to be at 4 million, or 1.5% of the United States population. More than half of the community are either naturalized or American-born, while the remainder are Filipino nationals or dual citizens of both the Philippines and the United States.cite web|url=;ACS_2006_EST_G00_S0201PR:038;ACS_2006_EST_G00_S0201T:038;ACS_2006_EST_G00_S0201TPR:038&-qr_name=ACS_2006_EST_G00_S0201&-qr_name=ACS_2006_EST_G00_S0201PR&-qr_name=ACS_2006_EST_G00_S0201T&-qr_name=ACS_2006_EST_G00_S0201TPR&-ds_name=ACS_2006_EST_G00_&-tree_id=306&-redoLog=false&-geo_id=01000US&-geo_id=NBSP&-search_results=16000US3651000&-format=&-_lang=en|coauthors=United States Census Bureau|title=US demographic census|accessdate=2008-01-15]



Filipino culture is a combination of indigenous Austronesian civilizations and influences of Chinese, Hispanic and American cultures. Small Islamic contributions are also seen and portrayed.

Culturally, the Philippines is a Westernized country in Asia, a legacy of Spanish and American colonial rule. Today, most Filipinos are distinguishable from other Asians by having a Hispanic-sounding name and/or surname (), by practicing the Catholic religion, and by speaking English.


The first permanent Filipino settlement in North America was established in 1763 in Saint Malo, Louisiana. Other settlements appeared throughout the bayous of Louisiana with the Manila Village in Barataria Bay being the largest.

Mass migration, however, occurred at around the end of the Nineteenth century, when the demand for labor in the plantations of Hawaiokinai and farmlands of California attracted thousands of mostly male laborers. Due to their isolation and enforced segregation, the migrants created the first Little Manilas in urban areas.

Unlike, other Asian Americans, such as the Chinese and the Vietnamese, they, have had a tendency to settle in a more dispersed fashion, living in communities across the country, many of them living in communities with a highly diverse population. The vast majority of them live in the suburbs or in master planned communities.

In areas with sparse Filipino populations, Fil-ams often form loosely-knit social organizations aimed at maintaining a "sense of family", which is a key feature of Filipino culture. Such organizations generally arrange social events, especially of a charitable nature, and keep members up-to-date to local events. While these events are well-attended, the associations are otherwise a small part of the Fil-am life. Fil-ams also have formed close-knit neighborhoods of their own, notably in California and Hawaiokinai. A few townships in these parts of the country have established "Little Manilas", civic and business districts tailored for the Filipino American community. As of 2008, one out of every four Filipino Americans make their home in Southern California, numbering over 1 million [Citation
title=LA Consul General Throws Ceremonial First Pitch at Dodgers-Padres Pre-Game Event
author=Rene Villaroman
publisher=Asian Journal Online
date=July 10, 2007

See also: Citation
title=About the Consulate General
publisher=The Philippine Consulate General of Los Angeles, California
] . Greater Los Angeles is the metropolitan area home to the most Filipino Americans, with the population numbering around 370,000. Los Angeles County alone accounts for over 262,000 Filipinos, the most of any single county in the U.S. The City of Los Angeles designated a section of Westlake as Historic Filipinotown. San Diego County is second place in the nation, with nearly 200,000 Filipinos [Citation
author=Aurora S. Cudal
] . In addition, San Diego is the only metropolitan area in the U.S. where Filipinos constitute the largest Asian American nationality. A portion of California State Route 54 in San Diego is officially named the "Filipino-American Highway", in honor of the Filipino-American Community.

San Francisco also has a large Filipino American community while metropolitan areas such as Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Washington, D.C. and Seattle are also seeing dramatic growth in their Filipino populations. The entire state of Hawaii had a Filipino population of 275,000 (2000 Census).

New York City is home to 215,000 Filipinos. [Citation
title=Filipino Nurses, Healers in Trouble
author=Joseph Berger
publisher=The New York Times
date=January 27, 2008
] . It annually hosts the Philippine Independence Day Parade, which is traditionally held on the first Sunday of June at Madison Avenue. The celebration occupies nearly twenty-seven city blocks which includes a 3.5-hour parade and an all-day long street fair and cultural performances. Devout attendees include Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Senator Charles Schumer.

In June 2002, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and representatives of U.S. President George W. Bush presided over the grand opening and dedication of the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu, Hawaiokinai. It is the largest Filipino American institution in the United States, with the goal of preserving Filipino American history and culture.


There are over 170 languages in the Philippines of which have thousands of Spanish loan words in 170 indigenous Philippine languages; almost all of them belong to the Austronesian language family. Of all of these languages, only 2 are considered official in the country, at least 10 are considered major and at least 8 are considered co-official. Filipinos speak Tagalog, Ilokano, Kapampangan, Visayan languages, Bikolano, and other Philippine languages at home. However, an overwhelming majority of Filipinos are fluent in English since it is one of the official languages in the Philippines and many Filipino American parents urge their children to enhance their English-language skills.

Tagalog is the fifth most-spoken language in the United States, with 1.262 million speakers.cite web|url=|coauthors=United States Census Bureau | title=Statistical Abstract of the United States: page 47: Table 47: Languages Spoken at Home by Language: 2003|accessdate=2006-07-11] The standardized version of this language is officially known as Filipino. Many Filipino American civic organizations and Philippine consulates offer Filipino language courses.

Many of California's public announcements and correspondences are translated into Tagalog due to the large constituency of Filipino Americans in the Golden State. Tagalog is also taught in public schools as a foreign language course, as well as in higher education. Another significant Filipino language is Ilokano, which is taught in school as a foreign language course.

Fluency in Tagalog, Ilokano, Kapampangan, Visayan and in the other languages of the Philippines tend to be lost among second- and third-generation Filipino Americans. This has sometimes created a language barrier between older and younger generations.


Filipino American religious beliefs and values are rooted in their Christian heritage. This is caused by the introduction, and subsequent adoption, of Catholicism and Christian values by Filipinos as a result of nearly 400 years of Spanish colonial rule.

In New York, the first-ever Church for Filipinos, San Lorenzo Ruiz Church, is hosted by the city. It is named after the first saint from the Philippines, San Lorenzo Ruiz. This is officially designated as the Church for Filipinos in July 2005, the first in the United States, and the second in the world, after a church in Rome. [cite web
title=Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz
publishet=Philippine Apostolate / Archdiocese of new York

There are other religious faiths with smaller numbers of Filipino American adherents, including various Protestant denominations, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism. Atheism and Agnosticism also exist, though not popular.


Filipino Americans have some of the highest educational attainment rates in the United States with 47.9% of all Filipino Americans over the age of 25 having a Bachelor's degree, which correlates with rates observed in other Asian American subgroups.Citation
month =February
year =2007
title =The American Community-Asians: 2004
publication-place =
publisher =U.S. Census Bureau
url =
accessdate =2007-09-05
] su|p=fig.11 The recent wave of Filipino professionals filling the education, healthcare, and information technology shortages in the United States also accounts for the high educational attainment rates.


* 1573 to 1811, Roughly between 1556 and 1813, Spain engaged in the Galleon Trade between Manila and Acapulco. The galleons were built in the shipyards of Cavite, outside Manila, by Filipino craftsmen. The trade was funded by Chinese traders, manned by Filipino sailors and “supervised” by Spain. In this time frame, Spain recruited Mexicans to serve as soldiers in Manila. Likewise, they drafted Filipinos to serve as soldiers in Mexico. Once drafted, the trip across the ocean usually came with a “one way” ticket.

* 1587, First Filipinos (“Luzonians”) to set foot in North America arrive in Morro Bay, (San Luis Obispo) California on board the Manila-built galleon ship Nuestra Senora de Esperanza under the command of Spanish Captain Pedro de Unamuno.

* 1720, Gaspar Molina, a Filipino from Pampanga province, oversees the construction of El Triunfo dela Cruz, the first ship built in California.

* 1763, First permanent Filipino settlements established in North America near Barataria Bay in southern Louisiana.

* 1781, Antonio Miranda Rodriguez chosen a member of the first group of settlers to establish the City of Los Angeles, California. He and his daughter fell sick with smallpox while enroute, and remained in Baja California for an extended time to recuperate. When they finally arrived in Alta California, it was discovered that Miranda Rodriguez was a skilled gunsmith. He was reassigned in 1782 to the Presidio of Santa Barbara as an armorer. [Citation
title=Original Settlers (Pobladores) of El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, 1781

* 1796, The first American trading ship to reach Manila, the Astrea, was commanded by Captain Henry Prince.

* 1812, During the War of 1812, Filipinos from Manila Village (near New Orleans) were among the "Batarians" who fought against the British under the command of Jean Lafitte in the Battle of New Orleans. [Citation
title=Filipinos made immense contributions in Vallejo
author=Nancy Dingler
date=June 23, 2007

* 1870, Filipinos studying in New Orleans form the first Filipino Association in the United States, the “Sociedad de Beneficencia de los Hispanos Filipinos.”

* 1888, Dr. José Rizal visits the United States and predicts that the Philippines will one day be [a United States] colony in his essay, "The Philippines: A Century Hence". [Citation
title=The Philippines a Century Hence
author=José Rizal
(Translated by Charles E. Derbyshire, first published in La Solidaridad, Madrid, between September 30, 1889, and February 1, 1890)
"... Perhaps the great American Republic, whose interests lie in the Pacific and who has no hand in the spoliation of Africa, may dream some day of foreign possession. This is not impossible, for the example is contagious, covetousness and ambition are among the strongest vices, and Harrison manifested something of this sort in the Samoan question. ..."

* 1898, The Philippines declares its independence (June 12, Kawit, Cavite) only to be ceded to the United States by Spain for $20 million. United States annexes the Philippines.

* 1899, Philippine-American War begins.

* 1902, Cooper Act passed by the U.S. Congress makes it illegal for Filipinos to own property, vote, operate a business, live in an American residential neighborhood, hold public office and become a naturalized American citizen.

* 1903, First "Pensionados", Filipinos invited to attend college in the United States on American government scholarships, arrive.

* 1906, First Filipino laborers migrate to the United States to work on the Hawaiian sugarcane and pineapple plantations, California and Washington asparagus farms, Washington lumber, Alaska salmon canneries. About 200 Filipino “pensionados” are brought to the U.S. to get an American education.

*1916, The US “recruited” Filipinos for service during World War I. Very few survived and returned to the Philippines.Fact|date=August 2007.

* 1920s, Filipino labor leaders organize unions and strategic strikes to improve working and living conditions.

*1924, Filipino Workers’ Union (FLU) shuts down 16 of 25 sugar plantations.

* 1926, California's anti-miscegenation law, Civil Code, section 60, amended to prohibit marriages between white persons and members of the "Malay race" (i.e. Filipinos). (Stats. 1933, p. 561.).

* 1928, Filipino Businessman Pedro Flores opens Flores yo-yos, which is credited with starting the yo-yo craze in the United States. He came up with and copyrighted the word "yo-yo".Citation
title=Pedro Flores
author=Lucky Meisenheimer, MD
] He also applied for and received a trademark for the Flores Yo-yo, which was registered on July 22, 1930. His company went on to be become the foundation of which would latter become the Duncan yo-yo company.

* 1929, Anti-Filipino riots break out in Watsonville and other California rural communities, in part because of Filipino men having intimate relations with White women which was in violation of the California anti-miscegenation laws inacted during that time. [Citation
title=Remembering the Watsonville Riots

* 1932, The U.S. Congress passes the Tydings-McDuffie Act, known as the Philippine Independence Act. The act limited Filipino immigration to the U.S. to 50 persons a year (not to apply to persons coming or seeking to come to the Territory of Hawaii). [Citation
title=The Philippine Independence Act (Tydings-McDuffie Act)
date=March 24, 1934
publisher=Chanrobles Law Library

* 1936, Philippines becomes self-governing. Commonwealth of the Philippines inaugurated.

* 1939, Washington Supreme Court rules unconstitutional the Anti-Alien Land Law of 1937 which banned Filipino Americans from owning land. [Citation
title= Filipino Americans
publisher=Commision on Asian Pacific American Affairs

* April 1942, First and Second Filipino Regiments formed in the U.S. composed of Filipino agricultural workers. [Citation
title= California's Filipino Infantry
publisher=The California State Military Museum

* May 1942, After the fall of Bataan and Coregidor to the Japanese, the US Congress passes a law which grants US citizenship to Filipinos and other aliens who served under the U.S. Armed Forces.Fact|date=December 2007

* 1946, Philippines becomes independent. Republic of the Philippines inaugurated; America Is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan published.Citation
publisher=United Nations

* 1948, California Supreme Court rules Califorinia's anti-miscegenation law unconstitutional, [Citation
title=Perez vs. Sharp - End to Miscegenation Laws in California
publisher=Los Angeles Almanac
] ending racially based prohibitions of marriage in the state (although it wasn't until Loving v. Virginia in 1967 that interracial marriages were legalized nationwide). Celestino Alfafara wins California Supreme Court decision allowing aliens the right to own real property.Fact|date=December 2007

* 1955, Peter Aduja becomes first Filipino American elected to office, becoming a member of the Hawai'i State House of Representatives.

* 1956, Bobby Balcena becomes first Filipino American to play Major League baseball, playing for the Cincinnati Reds.

* 1965, Congress passes Immigration and Nationality Act which facilitated ease of entry for skilled Filipino laborers.

* 1965, Delano grape strike begins when members of Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, mostly Filipino farm workers in Delano, California walked off the farms of area table grape growers demanding wages on level with the federal minimum wage. Labor leader Philip Vera Cruz subsequently served as second vice president and on the managing board of the United Farm Workers. 1965- Filipino farm workers under the leadership of Larry Itliong go on strike in Delano and win Cesar Chavez joins Itliong to from the United Farm Workers Union. Filipino American Political Association (FAPA) is formed with chapters in 30 California cities. Immigration Act of 1965 raises quota of Eastern Hemisphere countries, including the Philippines, to 20,000 a year.

* 1967, The Philippine American Collegiate Endeavor (PACE) founded by Filipino American students at San Francisco State College. [Citation
title=Philippine American Collegiate Endeavor

* 1974, Benjamin Menor appointed first Filipino American in a state's highest judiciary office as Justice of the Hawaiokinai State Supreme Court.

* 1975, Governor John A. Burns (D-HI) convinces Benjamin J. Cayetano to run and win a seat in the Hawaiokinai State Legislature, despite Cayetano's doubts about winning office in a white and Japanese American dominated district; Kauai's Eduardo E. Malapit elected first Filipino American mayor.

* 1981, Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes are both assassinated June 1, 1981 inside a Seattle downtown union hall. [Citation
title=Filipino labor activists Gene Viernes and Silme Domingo are slain in Seattle on June 1, 1981
] The late Philippine Dictator Ferdinand Marcos hired gunmen to murder both ILWU Local 37 officers to silence the growing movement in the United States opposing the dictatorship in the Philippines.Fact|date=December 2007

* 1987, Benjamin J. Cayetano becomes the first Filipino American and second Asian American elected Lt. Governor of a state of the Union.

* 1990, David Mercado Valderrama becomes first Filipino American elected to a state legislature on the mainland United States serving Prince George's County in Maryland. Immigration reform Act of 1990 is passed by the U.S. Congress granting U.S. citizenship to Filipino WWII veterans resulting in 20,000 Filipino veterans take oath of citizenship.

* 1991, Seattle's Gene Canque Liddell becomes first Filipino American woman to be elected mayor serving the suburb of Lacey City.

* 1992, Velma Veloria becomes first Filipino American and first Asian American elected to the Washington State Legislature.

* 1993, Mario R. Ramil appointed Associate Justice to the Hawai'i Supreme Court, the second Filipino American to reach the court.

* 1994, Benjamin J. Cayetano becomes the first Filipino American and second Asian American elected Governor of a state of the Union.

* 1999, US Postal worker Joseph Ileto murdered in a hate crime by Aryan Nations member Buford Furrow.

* 2000, Robert Bunda elected Hawai'i Senate President and Simeon R. Acoba, Jr. appointed Hawai'i State Supreme Court Justice.

* 2003, Philippine Republic Act No. 9225, also known as the Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003 enacted, allowing natural-born Filipinos naturalized in the United States and their unmarried minor children to reclaim Filipino nationality and hold dual citizenship. [cite web
url =
title = Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003
accessdate = 2006-12-19
date = 2003-08-29
publisher = Philippine Government, Bureau of Immigration
cite web
url =
title = Implementing Rules and Regulations for R.A. 9225
accessdate = 2006-12-19
publisher = Philippine Government, Bureau of Immigration

* 2006, Congress passes legislation that commemorates the 100 Years of Filipino Migration to the United States. [cite web
url =
title = 109th Congress, H.CON.RES.218, Recognizing the centennial of sustained immigration from the Philippines to the United States ...
accessdate = 2008-02-25
date = 2005-12-15
publisher = U.S. Library of Congress

* 2006, First monument dedicated to Filipino soldiers who fought for the United States in World War II unveiled in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles, California. [Citation
date=November 13, 2006
publisher=Eric Garcetti, President, los Angeles city council

Notable people

Further reading

*Carl L. Bankston III, "Filipino Americans," in Pyong Gap Min (ed.), "Asian Americans: Contemporary Trends and Issues" ISBN 1-4129-0556-7
*Bautista, Veltisezar. "The Filipino Americans from 1763 to the Present: Their History, Culture, and Traditions" , ISBN 0-931613-17-5
*Crisostomom Isabelo T. "Filipino Achievers in the U.S.A. & Canada: Profiles in Excellence", ISBN 0-931613-11-6
* Isaac, Allan Punzalan. "American Tropics: Articulating Filipino America," (University of Minnesota Press; 205 pages; 2007) Analyzes images of the Philippines in Hollywood cinema, Boy Scout adventure novels, Progressive Era literature, and other realms
*A. Tiongson, E. Gutierrez, R. Gutierrez, eds. "Positively No Filipinos Allowed," ISBN 1-59213-122-0
*Filipino American Lives by Yen Le Espiritu, ISBN 1-56639-317-5
*Filipinos in Chicago (Images of America) by Estrella Ravelo Alamar, Willi Red Buhay ISBN 0-7385-1880-8
* "The Filipinos in America: Macro/Micro Dimensions of Immigration and Integration" by Antonio J. A. Pido ISBN 0913256838News
*"Filipino Population in U.S. rivals Chinese-Americans", Honolulu Advertiser, 18 November 1996, Gannett News Service

ee also

* Asian American
* Balikbayan box
* Filipinos of American descent
* Hyphenated American
* Pinoy


External links

* [ Filipino American Library]
* [ Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs]
* [ Filipino American Centennial Commemoration] from Smithsonian
* [ Famous Kababayans]
* [ The Brown Raise Movement] The Brown Raise Movement - a movement towards the 21st Century Global FilipinoAsian Pacific American Program
* [ Fil Am Arts]
* Cite web
title=City of Los Angeles declares Historic Filipinotown

* [ Did Philippine indios really land in Morro Bay? by Hector Santos]
* [ Manilamen: The Filipino Roots in America]
* [ Filipino Founding Father of Los Angeles]
* [ The Manila Galleon Trade, 1565-1815] see also Manila Galleon trade []
* [ Chronology of Filipinos in America Pre-1898]
* [ Filipino Veterans of War of 1812 and American Civil War]
* [] Most extensive list of Filipino organizations in the US
* [ History of Filipino Americans in Seattle]
* [ History of Filipino Americans in Chicago]
* [] All Filipino News, Views & Videos
* [ Filipino American Organizations Directory in Asians in America Magazine]

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