October 1, 2022

October is Filipino American History Month, a time for celebrating the heritage and achievements of Filipino Americans whose contributions have helped build and change this nation. As the second-largest Asian American population in the U.S. – and the third-largest ethnic group in California – Filipino Americans have played a critical role in the history, culture, and progress of the United States. 

According to the Filipino American National Historical Society, October is a momentous time in the population’s history because it marks the anniversary of when Filipinos first arrived in the continental United States. During the time that Spain ruled the Philippines as a colony, 1565 to 1815, Spanish seafarers would often enlist Filipinos on voyages across the Pacific during the Manila galleon trade era. And on Oct. 18, 1587, the first-recorded Filipinos arrived aboard a Spanish ship in what is now Morro Bay, California, marking the start of Filipinos’ history in America.  

Annual recognition of Filipino American History began in October of 1992 after a proposal by the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) in 1991. California officially recognized the heritage celebration in 2006, when the California Department of Education placed Filipino American History Month on its official calendar. The month became formally recognized by California three years later, when state Senator Leland Yee introduced a resolution to declare October as Filipino American History Month, which was later passed by the California State Assembly. In 2009, the heritage month obtained federal recognition when the Senate of the 111th Congress passed a formal resolution proclaiming October as Filipino American History Month.  

This year’s theme — according to the FANHS official website — is “Celebrating our History and Legacies: 50 Years of Filipino American Studies, 40 Years of FANHS, and 30 years of Filipino American History Month.” The theme honors the anniversary of several important milestones in the grassroots efforts to uplift Filipino American history, including the 50-year anniversary of when Filipino American studies first started being taught in educational institutions, the 40-year anniversary of the founding of FANHS and the 30-year anniversary of when Filipino American History month was first recognized.  

This October, First 5 LA is celebrating Filipino American History Month — and the art, music, leadership and commitment of L.A. County’s Filipino community to uplift history, heritage, traditions and learning – by sharing educational resources and local and virtual events taking place all month long. Join along in the festivities with your family by checking out our resource bank below!  

Learning Resources 

Local and Virtual Events & Activities

LAist: Visit the Historic Filipinotown Eastern Gateway in Los Angeles: The archway was designed by Filipino American artists Eliseo Art Silva and Celestino Geronimo Jr.

Adobers: FAHM Mania 2022: Join the fun and excitement at the biggest Filipino festival in⁠ the San Gabriel Valley that returns for the second year! (In-person, Oct. 15, 2022 | 11 a.m.–5 p.m.)

Filipino Migrant Center: Join us for a family friendly event to pick the best home-cooked adobo in SoCal and celebrate FMC’s 12 years of community organizing! (In-person, Oct. 29, 2022, 2 p.m.–5 p.m.)

Belcanto Books: Liwanag: Come celebrate Filipino American History Month at the first ever Liwanag Lit Fest, shining a light on the vibrant diversity of Filipinx storytelling, organized by the Long Beach Public Library, Bel Canto Books, and our amazing volunteer team of book lovers! (In-person, Oct. 22, 2022, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m)

Deeply Rooted: Alameda Island Filipino American History Month Celebration FREE Community Event: Food, speakers, performers, activities, games! (In-person, Oct. 15, 2022, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.)

Resources for Filipino American Families

Filipino Migrant Center: Community Services: Free services for the Filipino community such as legal assistance for labor and immigration issues, legal & health clinics, “Know Your Rights” trainings, and many others.