Celebrating Filipino American History Month
Each year, the United States recognizes Filipino American History during the month of October. As the second-largest Asian American group in the country and the third-largest ethnic group in California, Filipino Americans have played a critical part in the history and culture of both the United States and California — and Filipino American History Month is a designated time for recognizing and celebrating those contributions.
October is a significant month in Filipino American history because it commemorates the first recorded presence of Filipinos in the United States. According to the Filipino American National Historical Society, Filipinos first arrived in the United States aboard a Spanish ship that landed in what is now Morro Bay, California on October 18, 1597. When the Philippines were formerly ruled by Spain from 1565 to 1815, Spanish seafarers would often enlist Filipinos on sea voyages across the Pacific Ocean during the Manila galleon trade era.
Filipino American History Month was first proposed by the Filipino American National Historical Society in 1991, with the first celebration beginning in October of 1992. In California, the month became formally recognized in 2006 when the California Department of Education placed Filipino American History Month on its official calendar. Three years later, California Senator Leland Yee introduced a resolution to formally recognize the month, which was then passed by the California State Assembly. On the national level, Filipino American History Month became federally acknowledged in 2009 when the Senate of the 111th Congress passed a formal resolution to recognize Filipino American History throughout the month of October.
Check out our resource bank below to learn more about Filipino American History and be sure to attend one or more of the local and virtual celebrations taking place during the month of October!
- Learn more from the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) about the 2021 theme of Filipino American History Month, “50 Years Since the First Young Filipino People’s Far West Convention.” The theme honors the 1971 convention as the beginning of the Filipino American Movement. For additional photos, articles, videos and historical insights from the Filipino American National Historical Society, visit the FANHS Instagram page.
- In his book, “The Latinos of Asia, How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race,” author Anthony Christian Ocampo demonstrates how immigration is changing the way people negotiate race, particularly in cities like Los Angeles where Latinos and Asians now constitute a collective majority.
- Filipino and Black Families – Psychology Today, scroll down to impact of military and mixed-race: On Black and Filipino Solidarity, Why Filipino Americans Should Be In Solidarity With Black Lives Matter: Lessons From American History – FANHS (fanhs-national.org)
- A locally produced podcast, This Filipino American Life Podcast – Exploring the nuanced experiences of Filipinos in the United States, covers an extensive list of topics from history to culture to entertainment and relevance to the Filipino community and/or culture. The podcasters are from different disciplines and deeply rooted in the local Filipino community.
- Seeking helpful facts? The Pew Research Center Fact Sheet on Filipinos in the U.S. offers population, economic and demographic data.
- The Diversity of the Philippine Population, by Yves Bouquet, covers all aspects of Philippine geography as well as discusses major geopolitical issues.
- The Migration Policy Institute’s article, Filipino Immigrants in the United States, offers authoritative research and analysis for learning opportunities.
EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES FOR KIDS AND FAMILIES
- Fi-Am Learners – A Taglish Discover of Our Roots – Educational resources to learn about Filipino American history for kids.
- Pragmatic Mom: Filipino American Children’s books
- LitCelebrasian – Downloadable Children’s Books for Filipino American History
- Dinolingo: Learn Tagalong for Kids!
- Here We Read: Picture Book Reading List for Filipino American History Month
LOCAL EVENTS & CELEBRATIONS
- The 37th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, presented by Visual Communications, takes place this year from September 23rd to October 2nd. Featured among the festival’s six categories is the documentary, “Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust;” and two narratives, “Americanish,” and “The Fabulous Filipino Brothers.”
- Songs from Larry: A New Musical about the life and legacy of Filipino American labor leader Larry Itliong – Saturday, Oct 2nd.
- National History Museum: Filipino History Month Events