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Chronology of Filipinos in America Pre-1898
Filipino American History Bookshelf
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Carlos Bulosan's Los Angeles
Eloisa's List (Early Names Index)
Early Images of Filipinos in America
This Day is Filipino American History
Celebrate Filipino American History Month

Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs
The Filipino American history posted here is for high school and college students and their instructors.
I am a reference librarian providing factual information, with accompanying references.
You may contact me at:    eloisa  -omit-this-spam-guard-
Help me?  Find:  Filipino Youth (Los Angeles 1929-30), Pacific Frontier (1943-1972),

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How many Filipino Americans are there?
  2. When did Filipinos first come to America?
  3. Who are noteworthy Filipino-Americans in history?
  4. Were all early Filipinos to the U.S. farm workers?
  5. How do I do research on my Filipino ancestors?
  6. Are Filipinos Hispanic?
  7. Are there documentary films on Filipinos in America?
  8. Why isn't Antonio Miranda on the Founders Plaque?
  9. Was the Unamuno landing in 1587 in Morro Bay?
  10. Is Pedro Calungsod the first Filipino American saint?
  11. Which is that Chicago library with Filipino materials?
  12. Was the Yo-Yo really a weapon?
  13. Where are the concentrations of Filipinos in the U.S.?
  14. Any oral history examples on Filipino Americans?
  15. Who are the early Filipino American music legends?
  16. Origin of poster: Positively No Filipinos Allowed ?
  17. Info on my Filipino ancestor, a student Pensionado ?
  18. Years of Waves of Filipino immigration to America ?
  19. Can we trust the 1763 arrival date of Manila Men to Louisiana ?
  20. Are there artifacts from the Manila Galleons in museums ?
  21. When and how did Carlos Bulosan first arrive in the United States ?
  22. Who is the Filipino soldier on the cover of American Rifleman ?
 1.  How many Filipino Americans are there?

The U.S. Census Bureau reports the top three ethnic Asian groups in the country (1990):
    Chinese 1,645,472
    Filipino 1,406,770
    Japanese 847,562
--1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics.

American Demographics magazine "forecasts the Filipino population in the United States will rise to 2.1 million by the year 2000".
--Gannett News Service, November 18, 1996, by Honolulu Advertiser.
    "Filipino Population in U.S. rivals Chinese-Americans".

The Sacramento Bee says "Filipino Americans -- at roughly 1 million -- are now the largest Asian ethnic group in California".
--Sacramento Bee, May 19, 1996, p.A1.
    "Out From The Shadows" by Stephen Magagnini.

The Los Angeles Times states that Filipinos are "California's largest Asian community"
--Los Angeles Times, January 26, 1996, p.A1.
    "Filipinos Happy With Life in U.S., But Lack United Voice" by K. Connie Kang.

The 2000 Census reported 2,364,815 Filipinos in the United States.
-- The Asian Population: 2000 (Census 2000 Brief), February 2002. - see page 9
    Check the Census 2000 for many more interesting findings.  For example:
    Long Beach, CA is 48.9% white, and largest Asian/Pacific population is Filipino (4%).

                Please cite as:   "How many Filipino Americans are there?",
                                in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 2.  When did Filipinos first come to America?

It can be said that Filipinos, often referred to as Luzon Indians or Manila Men, were on sailing ships on the world's seas and oceans from the earliest of times -- not limited to Spanish galleons or to the Manila Galleon Trade years of 1565-1815.   Click the Chronology below for more facts like these:

- Indios Luzones landing in Morro Bay, California in 1587
- Filipinos shipwrecked near San Francisco Bay in 1595
- a village of Manila Men on the ourskirts of New Orleans, Louisiana in 1763
- Filipinos with Fr. Junipero Serra at the founding of the mission at Monterey in 1779
- Antonio Miranda Rodriquez among those chosen to settle in Los Angeles in 1781

Chronology of Filipinos in America Pre-1898  briefly lists documented historical facts, all of which occurred prior to the generally accepted "first wave" of Philippine immigration to the U.S. and prior to the 1898 date when the Philippines became a U.S. territory.   Includes links to referenced information available on the Internet.

click here for a printable copy of the FULL chronology, and for clickable links to resources.

                Please cite as:   "When did Filipinos first come to America?",
                                in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 3.  Who are noteworthy Filipino-Americans in history?

(This section is under construction)

Pedro Flores, Father of the Modern American Yo-Yo (1926), in the American Yo-Yo Assn Hall of Fame.   [If the American Yo-Yo Assn website appears to be having some problems -- please try them again another time.]

    "Flores did three very important things" according to Lucky Meisenheimer, chairman of the American Yo-Yo Assn's History and Collecting Committee and author of the Yo-Yo collector bible, Lucky's Collectors Guide to 20th Century Yo-Yos.

  • "First, he named the toy a "yo-yo" and although he had not coined the term himself, as this was the name for the toy from his native country, the Philippines, and it became a very popular term in the United States culture and among the press for describing the toy."

  • "Secondly, the Flores yo-yo had the string looped around the axle in place of being fixed or tied to the axle.  This allowed for the yo-yo to spin at the end of the string." opening up a new arena of yo-yo play."

  • "Finally and most importantly he introduced the yo-yo contest which was essential for the absolute craze that followed."
Here is a biography of Pedro Flores.  Here are more key facts.

The first Flores Yo-Yo Company was located in the historic Granada Building on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara, California.  With the financing from a couple of investors, Flores mass produced Yo-Yos at two Flores Yo-Yo factories in Los Angeles in the late 1920s.  These factories were at 6301 Sunset Blvd (at Cahuenga), and at 1938 Hyperion Ave (near Sunset).

In 1929, he filed and received a trademark for his Flores Yo-Yo.  [U.S. Patent Office Official Gazette]

In 1930, Donald Duncan Sr. bought the Flores Yo-Yo Manufacturing Corporation, and started the Duncan Yo-Yo Company.  Duncan was a consummate marketer, but Flores stayed on to provide the Yo-Yo expertise.

NOTE:  While the Museum of Yo-Yo History says "Duncan introduced the looped slip-string, which allows the yo-yo to sleep" in its Duncan Company profile, the Museum adds on its Flores Yo-Yo page that "The string was a slip string, an innovation creditted to Donald Duncan, but apparently a part of Flores yo-yos before the company was sold."

Pedro Edralin Flores was born on April 29, 1893 in Vintar, Ilocos Norte, Philippines.  [according to his WW1 & WWII draft registrations]

Victoria Manalo Draves, 1st Woman in Olympic History to Win 2 Gold Medals in Diving (London Olympics, 1948) on the U.S. Olympic Team.   She was inducted into International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1969.   More recently profiled in the San Francisco Chronicle, 3/3/2002.

Vicki Draves was born on December 31, 1924 in San Francisco, one of twin daughters to an English mother, Gertrude Taylor, and a Filipino father, Teofilo Manalo, originally from Orani, Bulacan.

Using public pools to perfect her skills because she was not welcome at better pools in private clubs due to her race, Vicki even had to drop her Filipino last name and use her mother's maiden name, Taylor, to gain access to one pool.

At the 1948 Olympics in London, she won two gold medals in diving, the first for any woman in Olympic history. "A lithe brunette beauty from Pasadena, Calif., Mrs. Victoria Manalo Draves, made Olympic diving history today ... to be come the first woman ever to monopolize Olympic diving honors.", reported The Evening Independent (St. Petersberg, FL) on August 6, 1948.

Vicki was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) in 1969. She continues to be honored at the ISHOF website.

In October 2007, at her hometown of San Francisco, Vicki cut the ribbon to open a new park (location) in the SOMA (South of Market) area where Vicki grew up, the Victoria Manalo Draves Park.

One honor continues to elude Vicki, the BASHOF in her hometown of San Francisco. The Manalo Movement, a student organization at San Francisco State University, has as their main goal to get Vicki into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame (BASHOF), which continues to snub Vicki.  Here is a 5-minute video, The Manalo Movement, which states their case. Let's all help get Vicki this much-deserved award.

Bobby Balcena, Major League Baseball Player -- Cincinnati Reds (Redlegs) in 1956.  
He was a legendary player for the champion Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League.
He was born on August 1, 1925 in San Pedro, California.   He died on January 5, 1990.

            See also:
                        Filipino American Sports Greats
                        Filipino Americans in Hollywood
                        In Search of the Ubiquitous Filipinos

Some communities have documented the lives of their Filipino American heroes, for example:

            Helen Brown - founder of Filipino American Library in Los Angeles
            Doroteo Ines - educator and film maker, A Filipino in America (USC, 1938)
            Royal Morales - "Uncle Roy", community activist

                Please cite as:   "Who are noteworthy Filipino-Americans in history?",
                                in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 4.  Were all early Filipinos to the U.S. farm workers?

(This section still in-progress)

There were large numbers who came to be farm workers starting in 1906, and we owe a lot to their struggle for acceptance in the American society.   However, there were many others who came under different circumstances.

There were quite a few who came to attend universities.   Some of these college students were Pensionados who were getting an education in the U.S. in order to return to government service in the Philippines.   There were also college students who were here on their own funds, seeking a better life.   Unfortunately, after they received their degrees, many of them could not find employers willing to hire them in their chosen careers.

There were also many other different stories surrounding others that came.   Take for example, Isidro Canlas, who came to the U.S. in 1905.   He came with an American soldier who had become his friend who was returning to his hometown of Buffalo, New York.   Canlas then moved to Denver, Colorado working for another former soldier, and then accompanied this employer to Long Beach, California in 1910.   Canlas was a muleskinner.

[Eloisa Gomez Borah has done research on the biography of Isidro Canlas.  Please help Eloisa find Isidro's living daughter, Virginia Kipp.     .
See also the articles in Press-Telegram (24 May 2005), the Asian Journal (21 July 2005) and the e-zine Our Own Voice essay (May 2007) ].

    Please cite as:   "Were all early Filipinos to the U.S. farm workers?",
                                in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 5.  How do I do research on my Filipino ancestors?

There are how-to books specifically on tracing Filipino ancestors, I even wrote a review article on these for Filipinas Magazine:
      "Tracing Your Ancestral Roots: Can You Dig It?", FILIPINAS, June 1996.

You may find these books at your local public library.   A particularly good one is done by the Mormons, called:
      Tracing Your Philippine Ancestors   by Lee W. Vance
            (Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1980. 771 pages)

Among the steps recommended is to track down the name of the ship and point of entry of your early immigrant ancestors.   I believe you may want to consult:
    Immigrant and Passenger Arrivals - National Archives and Records Administration

Among the source documents available are:
    Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1891--1957
        Record Group 85 - These records on microfilm reels are divided by the port of entry.

For pre-1953, for example:
    Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at San Francisco, CA, 1893-- 1953 
        "... indexes to passenger arrival records for the port of San Francisco, May 1, 1893--May 9, 1934.   The first 21 rolls reproduce the general index to passengers.   The second alphabetical index on rolls 22--27, relates to individuals arriving from the Philippines, ... extracted from the San Francisco passenger lists.   Each entry provides the date of arrival and the vessel name. ..."

If you have ancestors dating back to when Spain was a global power, check out:
    Catalogo de pasajeros a Indias durante los siglos XVI, XVII y XVIII
        at the Archivo General de Indias, but parts have been published in book form.

If you tracing ancestors from sources in the Philippines, read this online guide:
    Philippines: Research Outline
        This Philippines: Research Outline is by the Family Search Library.

If you have ancestors who are buried in cemeteries in the U.S., especially in towns where many Filipinos lived in the early 1900s, please volunteer to inventory local cemeteries for Filipinos:
    How To Inventory a Cemetery -- Links to Resources.

                Please cite as:   "How do I do research on my Filipino ancestors?",
                            in Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 6.  Are Filipinos Hispanic?

Most Filipinos have Spanish-surnames, albeit most by the Claveria Decree of 1849, and many Filipinos have a Spanish ancestor or two.   It is an undeniable historical fact that the Philippines was a Spanish colony from 1521 to 1898 -- many times longer than the almost 50 years (1898-1946) that it was an American colony.   So for several hundred years, Spain had influence on Philippine language, literature, food, architecture, and other aspects of custom and culture.

    Somos Primos  -- See also their: Historical Mini-Articles
"... identity problem is based on many historical occurrences and political/social factors".
    Filhispanic Circle / El Circulo Flipinohispano - Articles: English and Spanish.
The page of the Spanish culture and language in the Philippines -- with valuable links
"...the Philippines, a nation belonging to the great family of hispanic countries".
    hispanofilipino  -- at Yahoo! Groups
"People interested in the preservation of the hispanofilipino identity and the Spanish language in the Philippines".
    Spanish Made Easy and Practical For Filipinos   -- Grupo Hispano-Filipino
    ¡Hola, Kaibigan!   -- Filipino-Spanish world website
    The Situation of Spanish in the Philippines today, & other Hispano-Filipino articles

                Please cite as:   "Are Filipinos hispanic?",
                                in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 7.  Are there documentary films on Filipinos in America?

There are many!  Here are just a few available ones that you may have seen on PBS:

    Filipino Americans: Discovering Their Past for the Future  - FANHS, 1994
    In No One's Shadow  - Naomi & Antonio De Castro, Visual Communications, 1988
    Manong  - Linda Mabalot, Visual Communications, 1978 (30 min.)
    Bontoc Eulogy  - Marlon Fuentes, 1995
    Dancing the Shrimp - James & Isabel Kenny, Magic Lantern Films, 1988 (60 min.)
    Dollar A Day, 10¢ A Dance  - Geoffrey Dunn and Mark Schwartz, 1985 (30 min.)
    The Fall of the I-Hotel  - Curtis Choy, 1983 (58 min.)
    A Filipino in America   - Doroteo Ines, 1938, Filipino American Heritage Institute
    Green Pastures: Filipinos in the Heartland  - Univ. of Kansas, 1997 (58 min.)
    Little Manila: Filipinos in California's Heartland  - Little Manila Foundation
    Remembering Our Manongs  - FANHS Sonoma County Chapter

                Please cite as:   "Are there documentary films on Filipinos in America?",
                                in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 8.  Why isn't Antonio Miranda on the Founders Plaque?

Antonio Miranda y Rodriguez, along with his daughter, were among those chosen to be the original settlers of the City of Los Angeles in 1781.   He did start the expedition with the other pobladores, but while en route his daughter got sick with small pox causing him to stop and delay to take care of her lingering illness.   Miranda's name appears in the 1781 first census for Los Angeles, and in the 1782 census as well, however, in the census of 1783 his name was dropped and his allotment was re-assigned to someone else.   His daughter eventually died of her illness, and Miranda subsequently arrived in Los Angeles, even though some stories erroneously say that he never arrived.   Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Miranda found that his allotment had already been assigned to another, but that the presidio in Santa Barbara wanted him.  

Miranda's highly valued skill as a gunsmith or armorer was desired for the Presidio of Santa Barbara.   The Presidio in Santa Barbara was in charge of protecting the area missions and settlements, including San Gabriel and Los Angeles, as the closest other presidio was in San Diego.   Miranda settled in Santa Barbara in 1783 and lived there until his death.   He was buried in the chapel of this Presidio in Santa Barbara.  Presidio life is an interetsing study of the soldiers in these garrisons.

When in Southern California, go to the Presidio in downtown Santa Barbara and in the Presidio Chapel see the wall plaque by the chapel's main entrance, which lists him (Antonio Miranda) among those buried in the Presidio Chapel.  Also, do not miss the commemorative tile at the foot of the altar, which was placed there by the Filipino Community of Santa Barbara.

According to the research of William Marvin Mason, former curator of the History Division of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Antonio Miranda Rodriguez was not just a settler but also a soldier, a soldado de cuera, and was literate (unusual for that time), as at least one report has been found that was written by him.

We owe a lot of what we know about Antonio Miranda Rodriguez, beyond Los Angeles, to William Mason, who had been doing this research until his untimely death in late 2000.   Mason, who wrote an article about the Chinese in Mexico, found "chinos" (not Chinese, but Filipinos from the nao de china, or Manila Galleons) mentioned in church records of marriages in Mexico.   His daughter will be donating his papers, hopefully to UCLA.  

In a tribute to Bill Mason, veteran California Historian, I compiled what he shared with me in regard to his research on Antonio Miranda Rodriguez, when I was requested to deliver the lecture for a special event held at the Santa Barbara Presidio on June 13, 2004.   This "Historical Lecture on the Occasion of the Life of Antonio Miranda Rodriguez" was also published in 2004 in La Campana, the quarterly journal of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.

ADDENDA:  Antonio Miranda was not a Spaniard, and he was not Chinese; he was ethnically Filipino according to some leading and very respected academic historians.  As your teachers warn you, question what you find on the Internet and judge them by the sources they cite for their information.  Here are documented sources by men of great reputations as academic historian, provided by a librarian from a major university.

Mason, William M.  Los Angeles Under the Spanish Flag  (So. California Genealogical Society, 2004. 116p)
      Page 15:  "Antonio Miranda Rodriguez ... was listed as a chino on one of the lists of pobladores. ... But to people in Mexico, chinos were from Asia, irrespective of nationality. ... [Miranda] was from Manila, and was quite likely a Filipino."
________________  "The Founding Forty-Four", Westways, Vol. 68, No. 7, July 1976, pp. 20-23. 
      Page 23:  "Antonio Miranda Rodriguez, chino.  Miranda, as he was usually called ...   On Mexico's west coast chino was the term applied to natives from the Philippines, to distinguish them from Mexican Indians, since both were called indios.  Miranda was a native of Manila, and apparently a Malayan Filipino."

Bancroft, Hubert Howe  History of California, Vol. I. 1542-1800,  Vol.18 The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft
      Page 345:  "Antonio Miranda, chino, 50 years, ... was not a Chinaman, nor even born in China, as has been stated by some writers, but was the offspring probably of an Indian mother by a father of mixed Spanish and negro blood."

(While the term Filipino was used in the 17th century for full-blood Spanish born in the Philippines to differentiate them from the full-blood Spanish Peninsulares (Spanish in the New World who were born in Spain); because Miranda, as described above by academic historians, was not full-blood Spanish, this argument is irrelevant in Miranda's case.)

El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park  - Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation
A Southern California Chronology  - Historical Society of Southern California
Los Angeles Under the Spanish Flag by William M. Mason   (So. California Genealogical Society, 2004). [First Census of Los Angeles (1781) appears on page 66]
The Garrisons of San Diego Presidio: 1770-1794 by Bill Mason  - Journal of San Diego History

    Please cite as:   "Why isn't Antonio Miranda on the Founders Plaque?",
                                in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 9.  Was the Unamuno landing in 1587 in Morro Bay?

Why does one Internet site say the Unamuno landing in 1587 was not in Morro Bay?  Your instructors and librarians both tell you that when you visit Internet sites, it is important to be a critical thinker (see:  Hoax? Scholarly Research? Personal Opinion? You Decide!) because you never know who you are dealing with -- as that classic New Yorker cartoon says, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog".   Anyone can call themselves an historian, but more weight needs to be put on the word of an historian with academic credentials (a professor of history at a university, graduate degrees in history, published on this subject in an academic journal).

There are several facts to consider when looking into the Unamuno landing in California in 1587:

    (A)  Captain Unamuno was inexperienced, but ship's pilot Gomez was experienced.   We are indebted to Pedro de Unamuno because he was explicit in his ship's log when describing the Filipinos among them, the Indios Luzones -- many ship's logs of that time did not.   But although Pedro de Unamuno was an inexperienced captain and a last minute replacement for the untimely death of Francisco Gali, Unamuno's ship's pilot Alonso Gomez -- who put the landing at 35½° latitude, about where Morro Bay is located -- was very experienced.   Gomez had been the pilot on Gali's highly successful voyage as well as several others.   Some point to the workings of an astrolabe, although there is no mention that Gomez used one or relied solely on one.  

    (B)  Determining latitude was scientifically precise 67 years before 1587.   What is important to remember is that by 1587, determining latitude was no longer a problem, it was longitude that continued to baffle navigators.   Latitude was precise 67 years earlier, according to Dr. Patricia Seed, MIT visiting scholar and history professor at Rice University, at her award-winning Internet site, Forum on European Expansion and Global Interactions:
                                "By the 1520s Portuguese experts realized that the
                scientific precision equal to that they had achieved in fixing latitude
                could only be approximated in establishing longitude." [emphasis added]

    (C)  Henry Raup Wagner's research is respected by academic researchers.   Who is Henry R. Wagner, whose research is most referred to regarding the Unamuno voyage?   Long after his death in 1957, his many books and academic journal articles continue to be cited by academic historians.   Wagner's book, Spanish Voyages to the Northwest Coast of America in the Sixteenth Century (San Francisco: California Historical Society, 1929), provides his research findings along with a full-text facsimile of Unamuno's log (this is a primary research document), plus a professional translation from the old Spanish language.   To determine where Unamuno's landing site Puerto de San Lucas was, Wagner "made several trips to the coast in the neighborhood of 35½° ... the result has been to convince him that the Puerto de San Lucas was what is now known as Morro Bay".   Among his many contributions is the Wagner Collection of Mexican Broadsides at his alma mater, Yale University.   A few academic historians may not have pointed to Morro Bay, these discrepancies in the location are identified in the article "Filipinos in Unamuno's California Expedition of 1587" (AMERASIA Journal (UCLA), v.21,#3, Winter 1995-96).

    (D)  Unamuno did not mention the Morro Rock in his log.   Why didn't Unamuno mention the Morro Rock?   We don't know for sure, but we know Unamuno was inexperienced and that this was his first voyage as a captain.   There are also some additional circumstances that may be behind Unamuno's not mentioning the Morro Rock, see (E) below.

    (E)  In 1587, Morro Bay did not look like it does today.   The Morro Bay that Unamuno saw was different than what we now see there, as the configuration of Morro Bay has changed:

        (a) The original entrance to Morro Bay was from the north. The north entrance was closed in 1933 by the WPA construction of the jetty that now connects the Morro Rock to the shore and that changed the configuration of the area.  

        (b) The sand spit to the south had been originally fairly narrow and straight.

        (c) What we now see as the south channel had been dredged during WWII and the breakwater was also just constructed only in the 1940s.  

        (d) Before all of these changes, a sailing ship hugging the coast southward to Acapulco would have used the original northern entrance to enter the bay, and would have been well into the bay and docked near present-day White Point (near the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History), and perhaps missed the Rock due to heavy fog as it entered and left the bay.  

        (e) Most of us visit Morro Bay in the sunny months of summer, and although it is hard to imagine fog so heavy that you couldn't see the Morro Rock, award-winning photographer Robert W. Elayer proves to us how the Morro Rock can "disappear" in his photographic evidence that there are times, such as in October, when California coastal communities witness the familiar periods of almost zero visibility -- this condition can even happen on sunny days, with the marine layer.

To commemorate the Unamuno landing in Morro Bay, and the Filipinos in the landing party, an historical landmark was dedicated on October 21, 1995 by the Filipino American National Historical Society.   The ceremonies were attended by local dignitaries and over 600 FANHS members from all over the U.S. -- Thanks largely to the efforts of the FANHS-California Central Coast Chapter, and its former president, Ernie Cabreana.

            Please cite as:  "Was the Unamuno landing in 1587 in Morro Bay?",
                                in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 10.  Is Pedro Calungsod the first Filipino American saint?

(This section is under construction)

I don't have much experience doing research on religious topics, but as I librarian I will do the research to provide you with some information and credible references on Blessed Pedro Calungsod, who was martyred on Guam (now part of the USA) in 1672.

            Please cite as:   "Is Pedro Calungsod the first Filipino American saint?",
                        in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 11.  Which is that Chicago library with Filipino materials?

I believe you mean the Newberry Library in Chicago.  As a professional librarian, I am happy to give you a guide to the resources of the Newberry Library, with focus on Philippine research.  The information you need is at the Newberry Library website itself.

The special collections at the Newberry Library that reflect early American interest in the Philippines are:
        The Ayer manuscript collection
        Edward E. Ayer Collection
        Philippine History Bibliographies (lists of books available in the NL)

Of special note on the last link above, it includes:
        Phelan, John Leddy. "The Philippine Collection in the Newberry Library."
        The Newberry Library Bulletin 3.8 (1955): 229-236.
whose author, Phelan, wrote the much referenced The Hispanization of the Philippines.

Also on this bibliography of bibliographies is an index of their Philippine Photograph Collection:
        Newberry Library. "A Tribal and Subject Index to the Philippine Photograph Collection."
        Unpublished, n.d. call number: Special Collections Reference

Also of interest is the NL collection:
        Spanish-American Manuscripts (also in the Ayer collection)

To search the catalog for particular books or manuscripts, click on "Search the On-Line Catalogue" from the:   Collections & Catalogue page.

NOTE:  You will have to use the onsite Card Catalog, because:
    "The online catalogue: catalogue records added since 1978. Please note that the online catalogue has catalogue records for only 10-15% of the Newberry's holdings. Unless the work was published post-1978, you should consult both Newberry catalogues."

Try a search using the keywords: blair robertson to see just a few manuscripts (added post-1978) from the Ayer Collection that is referenced in the indispensable reference work:
        Blair, Emma Helen and James Alexander Robertson.
          The Philippine Islands 1493-1803.   55 volumes.
          Cleveland, OH: The Arthur H. Clark Co. 1903.

About instructions to visitors at the Newberry Library, see:
        Using the Newberry Library: Frequently Asked Questions

I hope I have provided the help you need.  In case you have questions I have not answered, direct those to the librarians at the Newberry Library itself -- "Feel free to contact the Newberry Library Reference Department ( with questions."  Good luck on your research, and please keep me informed of your progress and the focus of your research.

                Please cite as:   "Which is that Chicago library with Filipino materials?",
                                in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 12.  Was the Yo-Yo really a weapon?   [and other Yo-Yo myths]

The myth of the Yo-Yo being a Filipino weapon was well addressed in Debunking Yo-Yo Myths by Virgilio Pilapil, former president of the Filipino American National Historical Society, a paper presented on June 29, 2000 at the 2000 National FANHS Conference, held at the Virginia Wesleyan College, Virginia.  Based on research which included personal interviews with town elders in the Philippines, the conclusion reached was that the stories about how the Yo-Yo was a Filipino weapon, did NOT originate in the Philippines.

However, since this urban legend persists on the Internet, here again are the documented facts.

In the book, The Klutz Yo-Yo Book by John Cassidy (Klutz Press, 1987), Donald Duncan Jr. is quoted to say that his uncle brought the idea to Duncan Sr. that the yo-yo being an early Filipino weapon would make a good marketing ploy. [Thanks to Daniel Volk, a former Duncan Yo-Yo demonstrator, for providing this citation]

        "Tom Ives, my uncle, was with my father in the early days marketing yo-yos, and
        it could be that he started the idea.  Probably embellished a rumor he'd heard.
                                                                                        -- Donald Duncan, Jr.

Add to this the evidence from physicist Wolfgang Burger, who scientifically challenged the idea of a Yo-Yo being a weapon because, among the points he made, the Yo-Yo is weakest at the point of full extension.

        "The unwinding string acts as a significant brake,
        slowing down the Yo-Yo and softens impact at the bottom.
                                        -- Wolfgang Burger. "The Yo-Yo: A Toy Flywheel"
                                        American Scientist, March-April 1984 (vol.72), p.137-142

Please help set straight this urban myth.  Too many respected Internet sites, who should know better, have relied on sources that are not documented (unlike the above sources), and thereby help promulgate this urban myth.  Please send the link to this section to any website that still repeats this urban myth.  Thanks.

The Museum of Yo-Yo History got this right:
        "Contrary to popular belief, the yo-yo was never a weapon."

* Read about Pedro Flores and how the Modern American Yo-Yo is different than the bandolore and any previous Yo-Yo in Greece and elsewhere.

        Please cite as:   "Was the Yo-Yo really a weapon?",
                                in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 13.  Where are the concentrations of Filipinos in the U.S.?

(This section is under construction)

San Francisco, New York City, and Chicago come to mind, initially.   You can say that Filipinos are everywhere in the U.S., but they are invisible -- a common quote goes, "Filipino Americans?   That's a best kept secret!".

Los Angeles also has a large population of Filipino Americans, and a revitalized Historic Filipinotown in the City of Los Angeles (bounded by 101 Freeway to the north, Beverly Blvd. to the south, Hoover St. to the West, and Glendale Blvd. to the East).  

Even Long Beach, also in Southern California, has a Filipino Neighborhood, declared by the Long Beach City Council in 1992, it is located in West Long Beach (centered along Santa Fe Avenue from 20th Street to Spring Street).

Here are some examples of Filipino community histories and Filipino/Manila towns across United States:

Filipino Americans in Chicago by Barbara Posadas
Filipino Americans in Seattle by Cynthia Mejia-Giudici -- also Fred & Dorothy Cordova
The Filipino Community in the greater Los Angeles Area by Paul Dia, Loyola Marymount University
Little Manila (Stockton, CA) by Little Manila Foundation - around Lafayette and El Dorado Streets
Manilatown (San Francisco) by Manilatown Heritage Foundation
The Filipino Community in New York City by Lourdes Marzan, Asian Am, Queens College, NY.
Filipino Catholic Communities in Philadelphia by Vivienne SM. Angeles, La Salle University, Philadelphia, PA.
History of Filipino-Americans in Jersey City (New Jersey) -

            Please cite as:   "Where are the concentrations of Filipinos in the U.S.?",
                        in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 14.  Any oral history examples on Filipino Americans?

Here are a few oral histories available on the Internet.   These include transcript, audio and video examples.   Hope you make yours available online when you school project is done, so others can benefit from it.

Al Baguio farm worker (on cockfights) -- Filipinos in the Fields - Coastridge audio
Frank Barba Filipino Labor Contractor -- Agricultural History, UCSC transcript
Fred and Dorothy Cordova FANHS founders -- Seattle Civil Rights, U Wash. video
Sugar Pie DeSanto singer/songwriter/recording artist -- Fillmore Stories, PBS   video
Apolonia Dangzalan: Businesswoman -- Agricultural History, UCSC transcript
Vicki Draves 2X Gold 1948 Olympics U.S. Diving Team -- LA84 Foundation transcript
Andy Imutan V.P. United Farm Workers -- Filipinos in the Fields - Coastridge audio
Alfonso Ossorio abstract artist -- Archives of American Art, Smithsonian transcript
Bob Santos activist (civil rights movement) -- Seattle Civil Rights, U Wash. video
Jess Tabasa (taxi dancing, Tobera killing) -- Filipinos in the Fields - Coastridge audio

            Please cite as:   "Any oral history examples on Filipino Americans?",
                        in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 15.  Who are the early Filipino American music legends ?

Where do I start?!!   At least from the time the Philippines was an American colony, way before of the Black Eyed Peas, Filipinos were on the American music scene.   There were Filipinos in the U.S. Navy Bands before WW1, in marching bands at World's Fairs before and after 1904, in orchestras on American cruise ships in the 1920s and 1930s, and among musical performers in the Traveling Chautauquas in the early 1900s.   There were LOTS of Filipino musicians in our American past.

Let me list just a few names that would be fairly easy to find more information on, and to write about in your paper.

Danny Barcelona -- drummer, Louis Armstrong's All-Stars band, 1958 until Satchmo died 1971
Joe Bataan -- King of Latin R&B, his discography, "most famous Afro-Filipino in East Harlem"
Billy Hinsche -- of Dino, Desi & Billy, now Ricci, Desi & Billy & Beach Boys - Interview
Joseph "Flip" Nunez (1931-1995) -- jazz pianist-vocalist-composer, born in Stockton, LA-raised
Larry Ramos -- with New Christy Minstrels, then with The Association - audio of Cherish, Windy
Rocky Fellers -- Killer Joe #16 Billboard's Top 100, 1963; on Dinah Shore; on Jack Benny; wrote Great Big World

    Please cite as:  "Who are Filipino American music legends ?",
                        in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 16.  Origin of poster: Positively No Filipinos Allowed ?

The photograph used in this poster, Positively No Filipinos Allowed, is credited to Sprague Talbott, a Look magazine photographer, in the book, One Nation by Wallace Stegner (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1945).   This photo appears on page 43 of this book, as part of its Chapter 2 titled, "Legally-Undesireable Heroes: The Filipino in America".   Further inquiry can be directed to the Look Magazine Photograph Collection at the Library of Congress.

This is just one of several signs seen in California in the late 1920s and 1930s.   Another such sign read, No Dogs or Filipinos Allowed.   And yet another sign threatened towns that did not get rid of Filipinos.   It was a time when Filipino were made to feel unwelcome and were even victims of racial violence.   Anti-Filipino riots broke out in Exeter in the San Joaquin Valley, and in Watsonville, and even spilled over into other communities in California, such as Stockton.  There were anti-Filipino incidents elsewhere in this same time period, such as in Yakima, Washington.

This photograph may be easier to locate and be seen in the book titled, Filipinos, Forgotten Asian Americans by Fred Cordova (Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt, 1983), where it appears on page 114.  

        Please cite as:   "Origin of poster: Positively No Filipinos Allowed ?",
                                in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 17.  Info on my Filipino ancestor, a student Pensionado ?

Glad you found an ancestor among the names in Eloisa's List: Filipinos in America - Early Names Index.  I am not a genealogist, although as a librarian, I did provide a list of sources for tracing Filipino ancestors, and I did write an article identifying research sources for local history on a person in Collecting Family Stories, Saving Filipino American History.

The earliest Pensionados arrived in the United States from the Philippines in 1903.  A list of the Pensionados who came in the first few years are listed in the publication, Directory of Filipino students in the United States, which may be available at a local university or public library in the city where you live.  Bryan Quisquirin, a FANHS member, has provided online Pensionados lists from 1903, 1904, and 1905.

Here are some additional resources on these PensionadosPensionados: Riverside's First Filipinos was an exhibit at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum (Riverside, California) in 2003, which celebrated "100 Years of Filipinos in Riverside", curated by UC-Riverside PhD, Christian Trajano.  The Sutherland-McManus Papers, 1868-1990 is located in the Rio Grande Historical Collections at the New Mexico State University Library.  William Alexander Sutherland was in charge of the Pensionado Program.  Mario Orosa did research on Pensionados while writing the story of his father, Vicente Ylagan Orosa, who was a Pensionado in 1906.

Filipinos in the Philippines kept coming to the U.S. through the 1920s and 1930s to attend universities throughout the United States, and increasingly they paid their own way.  The Philippines was a U.S. colony, and Filipinos were U.S. nationals who could travel freely into the U.S.

    Please cite as:  "Info on my Filipino ancestor, a student Pensionado ?",
                        in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 18.  When were the Waves of Filipino immigration to America ?

What a great question!  I wish there were a simple answer, but even academics may disagree on a single set of years to correspond to the Waves of Filipino Immigration to America.  Just glance down the column for the 2nd Wave in the following table, and you can't miss the lack of uniformity, even with this limited sample of sources.

What appears to be confusion underscores the fact that so little is known about the history of Filipinos in America.  So much research still remains to be done before the rich, multi-faceted and long history of Filipinos in America can fully unfold for students and everyone to learn.  As new or newly-uncovered information is found, previous conclusions need to be revisited.  Beware of those unwilling to open their minds to new credible research, the truth is not their goal. 

If you would like an interesting example of how new information over time redefines the accepted body of knowledge, consider researching the argument of whether the coconut is indigenous to the Americas.  As a side benefit, if you engage in this exercise, you may learn of the Filipino contributions to the origin and cultivation of coconut in the Colima province of Mexico in the sixteenth century.

To help you with your current paper, perhaps it may help if you focus on one of the arrival groups of Filipino immigrants to America.  Here is a quick list. 

Crew on Sailing Ships of Exploration
Seamen during the Manila Galleon Trade
Servant Women and Concubines on Galleons
Chieftains exiled to New Spain
Merchant Mariners 1830- (for American ships)
Manila Men in Louisiana
Pensionados 1903- (Filipino students)
Sakadas 1906- (contract workers in Hawaii)
Alaskeros (workers in Alaska fisheries)
Steamship Crew (for Cunard Lines and others)
Filipinos in U.S. Civil War, 1861-1865 (by Alex Fabros)
U.S. Navy Musicians
WWII Military Recruits
War Brides (after WWII)
Post 1965 Professionals (doctors, nurses, etc.)
Mail Order Brides
Vietnam Era Military Recruits

        Please cite as:   "When were the Waves of Filipino immigration to America ?",
                                in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 19.  Can we trust the 1763 arrival date of Manila Men to Louisiana?  

You be the judge.  Read on.

The Filipino American National Historical Socierty (FANHS) and its over 25 chapters across the United States encourages research, including on the "Filipinos' permanent settlement as early as 1763".

The source for much of the research on this topic that has already been done is Marina E. Espina, a Fulbright scholar, and until her retirement was a librarian at New Orleans University, where she finished her doctorate degree in history.

At the start of the book written by Marina E. Espina, Filipinos in Louisiana (New Orleans, LA: A.F. Laborde & Sons, 1988), is an excerpt from an article by Larry Bartlett from the July 31, 1977 issue of Dixie.

        "The year was 1763, and the schooner had unloaded its cargo at the Spanish provincial capital
        of New Orleans. Then its crew of Filipino sailors jumped ship and fled into the nearby cypress swamp ... " [bold added]

This very same article cited by Marina Espina is cited by the Consul General of Spain in New Orleans, in his book, The Spanish in New Orleans and Louisiana (Pelican, 2000):

        The Spanish in New Orleans and Louisiana (pages 176-178 on Filipinos)
        In the footnote on page 178 the author states:
            In writing these lines, I took inspiration from an article signed by Larry Bartlett which appeared on July 31, 1977, in the publication, Dixie.

The publication Dixie is a valuable source for U.S. regional history of the South, a simple proof of this is in just one archival collection at the Southeastern Louisiana University, this publication Dixie is trusted by this university and is cited numerous times in this archive:

        Regional History -- New Orleans (Southeastern Louisiana University)

A reminder, question your sources, especially when you visit Internet sites, it is important to be a critical thinker (see:  Hoax? Scholarly Research? Personal Opinion? You Decide! from UCLA) because you never know who you are dealing with on the Web -- as that classic New Yorker cartoon says, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog".   Anyone can call themselves an historian, but more weight needs to be put on the word of an historian with academic credentials (a professor of history at a university, graduate degrees in history, published on this subject in an academic journal).

        Please cite as:   "Can we trust the 1763 arrival date of Manila Men to Louisiana ?",
                                in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 20.  Are there artifacts from the Manila Galleons in museums ?

You are very astute to look for early Filipino sightings in America through artifacts, from the Manila Galleons era, which are currently in museum collections. Here are a few museums and their past exhibits (some portions viewable online) on themes related to the Manila Galleon Trade:

The Manila Galleon Trade (1565-1815) (2003) - The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY)
Nao de China - The Manila Trade 1565 - 1816 (2009) - National Hispanic Cultural Center (NM)
Galleons and Globalization (2010) - Thatcher Gallery, University of San Francisco (CA)
Arts of Latin America, 1492 - 1820 (2006) - Philadelphia Museum of Art (PA)
At the Crossroads: The Arts of Spanish America & Early Global Trade, 1492 - 1850 (2010) - Mayer Center, Denver Art Museum (CO)
The Arts of South America, 1492 - 1850 (2008) - Mayer Center, Denver Art Museum (CO)
Asia & Spanish America: Trans-Paciific Artistic & Cultural Exchange, 1500 - 1850 (2006) - Mayer Center, Denver Art Museum (CO)

It is quickly evident when reviewing these exhibits, that Filipinos and their contributions are not highlighted or even mentioned.  Hopefully this will change.

    Please cite as:  "Are there artifacts from the Manila Galleons in museums ?",
                        in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 21.  When and how did Carlos Bulosan first arrive in the United States ?

You are not alone in encountering conflicting dates of Carlos Bulosan's arrival in the United States. Bulosan scholars, Lane Hirabayashi amd Marilyn Alquizola, state in their e-zine article, "Bulosan's Laughter: The Making of Carlos Bulosan", in Our Own Voice of March 2006:  "The year was either 1930, (Susan Evangelista gives the date: July 22, 1930, specifically) or, according to E. San Juan who cites the date given in one of Bulosan's autobiographical statements, a year later, in 1931."

There is documented evidence (see below) that:  Carlos Bulosan arrived in the United States on June 13th, 1930.

According to the Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at Seattle, Washington, 1890-1957 on microfilm (M1383 in Record Group 85) at the National Archives in Washington D.C. (digitized by, Carlos Bulosan is listed among the passengers aboard the S.S. President Taft which had sailed from Manila, P.I. on May 24, 1930, and arrived at the Port of Seattle, Washington on June 13, 1930.

    Please cite as:  "When and how did Carlos Bulosan first arrive in the United States ?",
                        in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah

 22.  Who is the Filipino soldier on the cover of American Rifleman ?

The soldier pictured on the magazine cover of American Rifleman, June 1942 issue, is Gregorio Mante.  The American Rifleman did not provide his name, and had identified him, in error, as a “Bataan rifleman”.  Private Gregorio Mante was a member of the First Filipino Infantry Battalion, which was training near San Luis Obispo, California, when he posed for that photograph.  This same photograph was used in a press release, and was published in numerous city newspapers across the U.S. during April and May of 1942.

Private Mante's full name is Gregorio “George” Abarquez Mante.  He was born on May 8, 1909 in the Philippines.  The date of his arrival in the U.S. is May 13, 1927 at San Francisco.  The 1930 Census found Mante as an asparagus cutter in Yolo County.  He enlisted in the U.S. military on March 12, 1942 at Fort MacArthur, San Pedro, California.  He became a U.S. citizen on March 20, 1943 at Camp Beale, California.  Mante died in his home in Baldwin Park, in Southern California, on August 20, 1993.  Mante is buried at the Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Parlos Verdes, Los Angeles County, California.

    Please cite as:  "Who is the Filipino soldier on the cover of American Rifleman ?",
                        in  Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs  by Eloisa Gomez Borah


Compiled by Eloisa Gomez Borah
©1997-2015  Eloisa Gomez Borah  All Rights Reserved.

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Filipino American Links

Pre-1898 Chronology of Filipinos in America by Eloisa Gomez Borah
    Filipino American National Historical Association
    Index to the FANHS Journal
    "Indios Luzones" landing on Limantour Beach, from the San Augustine in 1595 at CSU Sacramento
    The Filipino American Story at the Smithsonian

    A Short History of the Filipino Community in San Francisco Manilatown Heritage Foundation
    Filipino Americans in Chicago by Barbara Posadas
    Filipino Americans in Seattle by Cynthia Mejia-Giudici
    The Filipino Community in New York City by Lourdes Marzan (1991), Asian American Center, Queens College.
    Community Organizing and Political Empowerment in the Filipino American Community:
              A Personal Investigation into the Filipino American Communities of
              Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington DC   by Mark Emmanuel Pulido

    Fall of the I-Hotel - film by Curtis Choy
    Manilatown Heritage Foundation has a Legacy Wall.
    Heartbreak Hotel; 24 years after I-Hotel evictions, senior housing is going up - San Francisco Chronicle, August 4, 2001.
    A Legacy Reborn: The Fall and Rise of the I-Hotel; Old 'Manilatown' resurrected with city proclamation - Asian Week (SF), August 5-11, 2004.

    Cannery Workers' and Farm Laborers' Union 1933-39 - Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project.
    From the Philippines to the Delta - story and photos from The Stockton Record, June 22, 1997.
    Our Past... A manong stood on Kearny Street and reminisces... [San Francisco] - Manilatown Heritage Foundation.
    Death of a Filipino Hero -- Inspired by America as an Idea [Pete Velasco] - by David Bacon in Jinn Magazine.

    The Filipino-American Veteran Research Project - of the American War Library
    Veterans' History - San Francisco Veterans Equity Center

National Pinoy Archives - Filipino American National Historical Society
    Filipino American Library - Filipino American Heritage Institute
    Filipino American Center - San Francisco Public Library
    Filipino American Resources - compiled by Lemieux Library
    Filipino American History Bookshelf
    Filipino American History Month - FANHS Resolution

Filipino Youth (Los Angeles, 1929-1930) - "The FILIPINO YOUTH is published once a month at 340 I.W. Hellman Bldg., 124 West Fourth Street, Los Angeles California. Phone: MUtual 8586. Amado E. Dino, editor. Pedro Flores, business manager; Federico Cortes, advertising and circulation manager; Manuel S. del Prado, field manager. Subscription $1.00 per year. 10 cents a copy. Advertising rates on application." -- taken from Filipino Youth, Volume II Number 1, January 1930.
    Pacific Frontier (1943-1972) - "Reprints from "Pacific Frontier" magazine (1943-1972) by contributors Carlos Bulosan, Manuel Buaken, ... " -- cited in Filipino Pathfinder of the Pioneer Years (Los Angeles, 1973).

Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs        Chronology of Filipinos in America        
In Search of the Ubiquitous Filipinos           Filipino American Sports Greats        
Guide to Filipino American Collectibles     Filipino Americans in Hollywood
Index to the FANHS Journal                         Filipino American Links
Mama's Filipino Recipes                                Baguio, City of Pines
Barangay Yaptinchay                               
Bibliography of Philippine bibliographies in UCLA libraries
Filipino American History Month Resolution                               

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