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Celebrate Filipino American History Month!

Filipino American History Month was first initiated by the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) in 1988 to honor the historic landing of the first Filipinos in the United States over 425 years ago. Since then, its rich cultural traditions are celebrated every October commemorating the history and contributions of Filipino Americans nationwide.

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Origins and History

  • The earliest evidence of Filipinos to arrive in the United States dates back to October 18, 1587. A group of Filipino sailors were sent to California to claim the land for the Spanish king, and landed at what is now Morro Bay, California.
  • For centuries, Filipinos have contributed to the U.S. in agricultural and food service industries – from pioneering the technique of shrimp farming in Louisiana, to the farm workers who helped build California’s agricultural empire.
  • During World War II, between 250,000 to 400,000 Filipinos served in the United States military. In the late 1960s and 70s, Filipino medical professionals immigrated in large numbers to support the developing U.S. healthcare system.
  • In October 2009, the United States Congress officially recognized October as the Filipino American History Month in the United States.

Cultural Traditions

In Filipino American culture, family, food and hospitality all play an integral role in bringing family together. Filipinos take great pride in their hospitality to prepare grand feasts for their family members and friends, regardless of the occasion. Many partake in singing karaoke while enjoying traditional dishes such as adobo (marinated chicken or pork), pancit (noodles), lechón (roasted pig), and kare-kare (oxtail and vegetables cooked in peanut sauce).

Celebrating across America

Filipino American History Month is a time of reflection, remembrance, and an opportunity for all people in the United States to learn more about Filipino Americans and their contributions to the Nation. In San Francisco, we have many celebrations for Filipino Heritage there is a marvelous Pistahan Parade and Festival the first weekend of August for the last 24 years… it centers in Yerba Buena Garden (Downtown SF) and fun baseball events in September for both the Giants and A’s fans.

And there are more Celebrations:• Art displays, film screenings/plays, traditional dances, and cultural presentations hosted by Filipino societies and their local cities.

  • Plays paying tribute to the popular novel “America is in the Heart,” a semi-autobiographical work by Carlos Bulosan depicting his hardships as a Filipino immigrant living in the U.S.
  • Traditional dance performances such as Tinikling, Singkil, and the tribal dance, Bagobo rice cycle.
  • There are many Conferences and educational workshops where Filipino Americans join together to connect and learn more about their culture. Discover more at the San Francisco Filipino Cultural Center (814 Mission St SF).

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